Chapter Two: A Violent Cold

Chapter Two: A Violent Cold

Chapter Two: A Violent Cold

Near Longbourn, the Bennets’house, there lived a family they were particularly intimate 关系亲密的 with: Sir William, Lady Lucas and their children, Charlotte and Maria. Charlotte, the eldest, an intelligent young woman of about twenty-seven, was Elizabeth’s friend. The morning after the ball the Lucases visited.

‘You began the evening well, Charlotte,’ said Mrs Bennet. ‘You were Mr Bingley’s first choice.’
‘He liked his second better.’

‘ Oh! You mean Jane, because he danced with her twice?’

‘When he was asked which woman he thought the prettiest he immediately answered – Oh! The eldest Miss Bennet of course.’

‘Well that was very decided, but you never know how things end.’

‘I overheard better things than you, Eliza,’ said Charlotte, ‘Mr Darcy is less gallant 对女士殷勤有礼的 than his friend, Poor Eliza! – to be only tolerable.’

‘He is a disagreeable man. Mrs Long told me last night that he sat near her for half an hour without speaking once,’ said Mrs Bennet. ‘

Miss Bingley told me that he never speaks much unless among friends,’ said Jane. ‘With them he is quite agreeable.’

‘I do not mind his not talking to Mrs Long,’ said Miss Lucas, ‘but I wish he had danced with Eliza.’

‘Another time, Lizzy,’ said her mother, ‘I would not dance with him.’ ‘I think I can promise you never to dance with him.’

‘His pride,’ said Miss Lucas, ‘does not offend me so much, because there is an excuse for it. It is natural that a fine young man with family, fortune, everything in his favour will be proud.’

‘That is very true,’ said Elizabeth, ‘and I could forgive his pride, if he had not mortified 羞辱 mine.’

The ladies of Longbourn and Netherfield soon visited each other. Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley liked Jane’s pleasing manners. They considered her mother insupportable 难以忍受 and the younger sisters uninteresting, but wished to see the two oldest again. Jane was pleased to have this attention, but Elizabeth could not like them. It was evident to all that Mr Bingley admired Jane. To Elizabeth it was also evident that Jane was falling very much in love.
Elizabeth did not suspect that Mr Darcy was interested in her. At the ball he had not admired her. He had criticised her to his friends, but later discovered the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. He saw that her figure was light and pleasing and her manners playful. He began to want to know her better.

One evening, at a party held at his house, Sir William Lucas was speaking to Darcy when he saw Elizabeth. Gallantly he said to her, ‘My dear Miss Eliza, why are you not dancing? – Mr Darcy, you must permit me to present this young lady to you as a partner.’ He took her hand to give to Mr Darcy who looked surprised, but happy to take it, when she said to Sir William,
‘Sir, I have no intention of dancing. Please do not believe that I came here for a partner.’
Mr Darcy asked her to dance in vain 徒劳地. Elizabeth was determined. She left and he was thinking about her when Miss Bingley spoke to him. ‘I can tell the subject of your thoughts.’

‘I imagine not.’

‘You are thinking how insupportable it is to spend evenings in this manner in such a society, and I am of your opinion. The insipidity 枯燥乏味 of all these people!’

‘You are wrong. My mind was more agreeably occupied. I was thinking of the great pleasure a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can give.’

Miss Bingley immediately asked which lady he was speaking about. ‘Miss Elizabeth Bennet.’
‘Miss Elizabeth Bennet!’ repeated Miss Bingley.

‘I am surprised. How long has she been such a favourite? And when can wish you joy?’

‘I knew you would ask that. A lady’s imagination is very rapid. It jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony 婚姻 in a moment. I knew you would wish me joy.’

‘You are so serious, I consider the matter certain. You will have a charming mother-in-law. Of course she will live at Pemberley with you.’

Mr Bennet’s property consisted of little more than his estate. Unfortunately for his daughters, as there was no male heir, a distant relative would get this when their father died. Mr Bennet was a gentleman, but he had married an uneducated woman from a much simpler family. Mrs Bennet’s fortune was not very large either. Her father had been in business in Meryton. She had a sister married to a Mr Philips who now worked in her father’s business, and a brother in London.

Longbourn was only one mile from Meryton. Three or four times a week the young ladies went there to visit their aunt and go shopping. Catherine and Lydia went most frequently. An army Regiment 团 had recently arrived for the winter and the girls were delighted. Mr Philips visited the officers and soon the girls got to know them too. From then on, they could talk of nothing but officers.

One morning they were doing so when a note came for Jane from Miss Bingley, inviting her to Netherfield.

‘Can I have the carriage?’ said Jane.

‘No, my dear. Take your horse. I think it will rain and then you must stay all night,’ her mother said.

Her hopes were answered. Soon after Jane left it began to rain hard. Her mother was delighted. It rained all evening without stopping. Jane certainly could not come back. After breakfast a servant from Netherfield brought a note for Elizabeth. Jane wrote that she was not very well because she had got wet in the rain, but that her friends had called the doctor to visit her.

‘Well, my dear,’ said Mr Bennet when Elizabeth read the note, ‘if your daughter dies, it will be a comfort to know that it is all in pursuit of Mr Bingley and under your orders.’

‘Oh! People do not die of little colds. If she stays there it is all very well.’ Elizabeth was not satisfied and determined to go to her.

“The distance is nothing,’ she said, ‘only three miles. I shall be back by dinner.’

When she arrived at Netherfield everybody but Jane was in the breakfast parlour 厅. They were very surprised to see her and to hear that she had walked in the bad weather alone. Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley clearly disapproved, although they were polite. When Elizabeth heard that Jane was still not well she went to her immediately. Jane was delighted, but could not speak much.

After breakfast the sisters came in. Elizabeth began to like them when she saw how kind they were to Jane.

The doctor visited and said that Jane had caught a violent 严重 cold and must stay in bed.

Elizabeth did not leave her room for a moment, until at three o’clock, she unwillingly said she had to go. Jane was so unhappy to see her sister depart that Miss Bingley had to invite her to stay at Netherfield.

When Elizabeth came to dinner she had to answer Mr Bingley’s questions about Jane unfavourably. The sisters said three or four times how shocking it was to have a bad cold and then thought no more about the matter. Only their brother was clearly anxious about Jane.
When dinner was over Elizabeth returned to Jane. Miss Bingley began abusing 辱骂 her as soon as she left the room. She said that her manners were a mixture of pride and impertinence 无礼 ; she had no conversation, no style, no beauty. Mrs Hurst agreed and added, ‘ I shall never forget her appearance this morning. She looked almost wild.’

‘I thought Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked very well when she came into the room this morning,’ said Bingley.

‘To walk three or four miles in the dirt and alone, quite alone! It shows a country town indifference to propriety.’ 行为得体

‘It shows an affection for her sister that is very pleasing.’

‘I am afraid, Mr Darcy,’ said Miss Bingley very quietly, ‘ that after this you have stopped admiring her fine eyes.’

‘Not at all,’ he answered, ‘they were brilliant with exercise.’

‘I like Miss Jane Bennet very much,’ said Mrs Burst. ‘She is a sweet girl and I wish she were well married. But with such a father and mother, and such low connections 地位低微的亲戚, I think there is no chance of it.’

Miss Bingley agreed with her and the sisters spent some time ridiculing their friend’s vulgar 粗俗的 relations until Bingley said that their relatives did not make the Bennet sisters less agreeable. ‘

But it must very greatly lessen 减少 their chances of marrying men of any importance in the world,’ answered Darcy.

The ladies went to sit with Jane until coffee. She was still not well and Elizabeth would not leave her until she fell asleep. Late in the evening she went down to say that Jane was worse. Although Bingley wanted to call the doctor immediately, they decided to wait until the morning.

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