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Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters. With what delighted pride she afterwards visited Mrs. Bingley, and talked of Mrs. Darcy, may be guessed. I wish I could say, for the sake of her family, that the accomplishment of her earnest desire in the establishment of so many of her children produced so happy an effect as to make her a sensible, amiable, well-informed woman for the rest of her life; though perhaps it was lucky for her husband, who might not have relished domestic felicity in so unusual a form, that she still was occasionally nervous and invariably silly.

Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly; his affection for her drew him oftener from home than anything else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley, especially when he was least expected.

Mr. Bingley and Jane remained at Netherfield only a twelvemonth. So near a vicinity to her mother and Meryton relations was not desirable even to his easy temper, or her affectionate heart. The darling wish of his sisters was then gratified; he bought an estate in a neighbouring county to Derbyshire, and Jane and Elizabeth, in addition to every other source of happiness, were within thirty miles of each other.

Kitty, to her very material advantage, spent the chief of her time with her two elder sisters. In society so superior to what she had generally known, her improvement was great. She was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. From the further disadvantage of Lydia's society she was of course carefully kept, and though Mrs. Wickham frequently invited her to come and stay with her, with the promise of balls and young men, her father would never consent to her going.

Mary was the only daughter who remained at home; and she was necessarily drawn from the pursuit of accomplishments by Mrs. Bennet's being quite unable to sit alone. Mary was obliged to mix more with the world, but she could still moralize over every morning visit; and as she was no longer mortified by comparisons between her sisters' beauty and her own, it was suspected by her father that she submitted to the change without much reluctance.

As for Wickham and Lydia, their characters suffered no revolution from the marriage of her sisters. He bore with philosophy the conviction that Elizabeth must now become acquainted with whatever of his ingratitude and falsehood had before been unknown to her; and in spite of every thing, was not wholly without hope that Darcy might yet be prevailed on to make his fortune. The congratulatory letter which Elizabeth received from Lydia on her marriage, explained to her that, by his wife at least, if not by himself, such a hope was cherished. The letter was to this effect:

"MY DEAR LIZZY,

"I wish you joy. If you love Mr. Darcy half as well as I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy. It is a great comfort to have you so rich, and when you have nothing else to do, I hope you will think of us. I am sure Wickham would like a place at court very much, and I do not think we shall have quite money enough to live upon without some help. Any place would do, of about three or four hundred a year; but however, do not speak to Mr. Darcy about it, if you had rather not.

"Yours, etc."

As it happened that Elizabeth had much rather not, she endeavoured in her answer to put an end to every entreaty and expectation of the kind. Such relief, however, as it was in her power to afford, by the practice of what might be called economy in her own private expences, she frequently sent them. It had always been evident to her that such an income as theirs, under the direction of two persons so extravagant in their wants, and heedless of the future, must be very insufficient to their support; and whenever they changed their quarters, either Jane or herself were sure of being applied to for some little assistance towards discharging their bills. Their manner of living, even when the restoration of peace dismissed them to a home, was unsettled in the extreme. They were always moving from place to place in quest of a cheap situation, and always spending more than they ought. His affection for her soon sunk into indifference; hers lasted a little longer; and in spite of her youth and her manners, she retained all the claims to reputation which her marriage had given her.

Though Darcy could never receive him at Pemberley, yet, for Elizabeth's sake, he assisted him further in his profession. Lydia was occasionally a visitor there, when her husband was gone to enjoy himself in London or Bath; and with the Bingleys they both of them frequently staid so long, that even Bingley's good humour was overcome, and he proceeded so far as to talk of giving them a hint to be gone.

Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy's marriage; but as she thought it advisable to retain the right of visiting at Pemberley, she dropt all her resentment; was fonder than ever of Georgiana, almost as attentive to Darcy as heretofore, and paid off every arrear of civility to Elizabeth.

Pemberley was now Georgiana's home; and the attachment of the sisters was exactly what Darcy had hoped to see. They were able to love each other even as well as they intended. Georgiana had the highest opinion in the world of Elizabeth; though at first she often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm at her lively, sportive, manner of talking to her brother. He, who had always inspired in herself a respect which almost overcame her affection, she now saw the object of open pleasantry. Her mind received knowledge which had never before fallen in her way. By Elizabeth's instructions, she began to comprehend that a woman may take liberties with her husband which a brother will not always allow in a sister more than ten years younger than himself.

Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the marriage of her nephew; and as she gave way to all the genuine frankness of her character in her reply to the letter which announced its arrangement, she sent him language so very abusive, especially of Elizabeth, that for some time all intercourse was at an end. But at length, by Elizabeth's persuasion, he was prevailed on to overlook the offence, and seek a reconciliation; and, after a little further resistance on the part of his aunt, her resentment gave way, either to her affection for him, or her curiosity to see how his wife conducted herself; and she condescended to wait on them at Pemberley, in spite of that pollution which its woods had received, not merely from the presence of such a mistress, but the visits of her uncle and aunt from the city.

With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.

班纳特太太两个最值得疼爱的女儿出嫁的那一天,正是她做母亲的生平最高兴的一天。她以后去拜访彬格莱太太,在人家面前谈起达西太太,是多么得意,多么骄傲,这是可想而知的。看她家庭面上,我想在这里作一个说明,她所有的女儿后来都得到了归宿,她生平最殷切的愿望终于如愿以偿;说来可喜,她后半辈子竟因此变成了一个头脑清楚、和蔼可亲、颇有见识的女人;不过她有时候还是神经衰弱,经常都是痴头怪脑,这也许倒是她丈夫的幸运,否则他就无从享受这种稀奇古怪的家庭幸福了。

班纳特先生非常舍不得第二个女儿;他因为疼爱她,便常常去看她,他生平从来不肯这样经常出外作客。他喜欢到彭伯里去,而且去起来大都是别人完全意料不到的时候。

彬格莱先生和吉英在尼日斐花园只住了一年。虽说他的脾气非常随和,她的性情亦极其温柔,可是夫妇俩都不大愿意和她母亲以及麦里屯的亲友们住得太近。后来他在德比郡邻近的一个郡里买了一幢房子,于是他姐妹们的衷心愿望总算如愿以偿;而吉英和伊丽莎白俩在万重幸福上又添了一重幸福,那就是说,姐妹俩从此不过相隔三十英里了。

吉蒂最受实惠,大部分时间都消磨在两位姐姐那儿。从此她所交的人物都比往常高尚,她本身当然也就大有长进。她本来不象丽迪雅那样放纵,现在既没有丽迪雅来影响她,又有人对她加以妥善的注意和照管,她便不象以前那样轻狂无知和麻木不仁了。当然家里少不了要小心地管教她,不让她和丽迪雅来往,免得再受到她的坏影响;韦翰太太常常要接她去住,说是有多少跳舞会,有多少美少年,她父亲总是不让她去。

后来只剩下曼丽还没有出嫁;班纳特太太因为不甘寂寞,自然弄得她这个女儿无从探求学问。曼丽不得不多多和外界应酬,可是她仍然能够用道德的眼光去看待每一次的出外作客。她现在再也不用为了和姐妹们争妍比美而操心了,因此她父亲不禁怀疑到,她这种改变是否出于心甘情愿。

说到韦翰和丽迪雅,他们俩的性格并没有因为她两位姐姐结婚而有所变化。韦翰想起自己对达西种种忘恩负义、虚伪欺诈的事情,伊丽莎白虽然从前不知道,现在可完全明白了,不过他依旧处之泰然,他多少还指望达西给他一些钱。伊丽莎白结婚的时候,接到丽迪雅的一封祝贺信。她看得很明白,即使韦翰本人没有存那种指望,至少他太太也有那种意思。那封信是这样写的:亲爱的丽萃:

祝你愉快。要是你爱达西先生抵得上我爱韦翰的一半,那你一定会非常幸福了。你能这样富有,真叫人十分快慰;当你闲来无事的时候,希望你会想到我们。我相信韦翰极其希望在宫廷里找份差事做做。要是再没有别人帮帮忙,我们便很难维持生计了。随便什么差使都行,只要每年有三四百镑的收入。不过,要是你不愿意跟达西讲,那就不必提起。(下略)

伊丽莎白果然不愿意讲,因此在回信中尽力打消她这种希望,断了她这一类的念头。--不过伊丽莎白还是尽量把自己平日的用途节省一些,积下钱来去接济妹妹。她一向看得很明白,他们的收入那么少,两口子又挥霍无度,只顾眼前,不顾今后,这当然不够维持生活;每逢他们搬家,伊丽莎白或是吉英总是接到他们的信,要求接济他们一些钱去偿付账款。即使天下太平了,他们退伍回家,他们的生活终究难望安定。他们老是东迁西涉,寻找便宜房子住,结果总是多花了不少钱。韦翰对丽迪雅不久便情淡爱弛,丽迪雅对他比较持久一些,尽管她年轻荒唐,还是顾全了婚后应有的名誉。

虽然达西再三不肯让韦翰到彭伯里来,但是看在伊丽莎白面上,他依旧帮助他找职业。丽迪雅每当丈夫到伦敦去或是到巴思去寻欢作乐的时候,也不时到他们那儿去作客;到于彬格莱家里,他们夫妇老是一住下来就不想走,弄得连彬格莱那样性格温和的人,也觉得不高兴,甚至说,要暗示他们走。

达西结婚的时候,彬格莱小姐万分伤心,可是她又要在彭伯里保持作客的权利,因此便把多少怨气都打消了;她比从前更喜爱乔治安娜,对达西好象依旧一往情深,又把以前对伊丽莎白失礼的地方加以弥补。

乔治安娜现在长住在彭伯里了;姑嫂之间正如达西先生所料到的那么情投意合,互尊互爱,甚至融洽得完全合乎她们自己的理想。乔治安娜非常推崇伊丽莎白,不过,开头看到嫂嫂跟哥哥谈起话来,那么活泼调皮,她不禁大为惊讶,几乎有些担心,因为她一向尊敬哥哥,几乎尊敬得超过了手足的情份,想不到现在他竟成为公开打趣的对象。她以前无论如何也弄不懂的事,现在才恍然大悟了。经过伊丽莎白的陶治,她开始懂得,妻子可以对丈夫放纵,做哥哥的却不能允许一个比自己小十岁的妹妹调皮。

咖苔琳夫人对她姨侄这门婚姻极其气愤。姨侄写信给她报喜,她竟毫不留情,直言无讳,写了封回信把他大骂一顿,对伊丽莎白尤其骂得厉害,于是双方有一个短时期断绝过往来。后来伊丽莎白说服了达西,达西才不再计较这次无礼的事,上门去求和;姨母稍许拒绝了一下便不计旧怨了,这可能是因为疼爱姨侄,也可能是因为她有好奇心,要看看侄媳妇怎样做人。尽管彭伯里因为添了这样一位主妇,而且主妇在城里的那两位舅父母都到这儿来过,因此使门户受到了玷污,但她老人家还是屈尊到彭伯里来拜访。

新夫妇跟嘉丁纳夫妇一直保持着极其深厚的交情。达西和伊丽莎白都衷心喜爱他们,又一直感激他们,原来多亏他们把伊丽莎白带到德比郡来,才成全了新夫妇这一段姻缘。