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CHAPTER 6
The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on those of Netherfield.
The visit was soon returned in due form.
Miss Bennet's pleasing manners grew on the goodwill of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley;
and though the mother was found to be intolerable, and the younger sisters not
worth speaking to, a wish of being better
acquainted with them was expressed towards the two eldest.
By Jane, this attention was received with the greatest pleasure, but Elizabeth still
saw superciliousness in their treatment of everybody, hardly excepting even her
sister, and could not like them; though
their kindness to Jane, such as it was, had a value as arising in all probability from
the influence of their brother's admiration.
It was generally evident whenever they met, that he did admire her and to her it was
equally evident that Jane was yielding to the preference which she had begun to
entertain for him from the first, and was
in a way to be very much in love; but she considered with pleasure that it was not
likely to be discovered by the world in general, since Jane united, with great
strength of feeling, a composure of temper
and a uniform cheerfulness of manner which would guard her from the suspicions of the
impertinent. She mentioned this to her friend Miss
Lucas.
"It may perhaps be pleasant," replied Charlotte, "to be able to impose on the
public in such a case; but it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded.
If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may
lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to
believe the world equally in the dark.
There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not
safe to leave any to itself.
We can all begin freely--a slight preference is natural enough; but there are
very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement.
In nine cases out of ten a women had better show more affection than she feels.
Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she
does not help him on."
"But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow.
If I can perceive her regard for him, he must be a simpleton, indeed, not to
discover it too."
"Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's disposition as you do."
"But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must
find it out."
"Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her.
But, though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never for many hours together;
and, as they always see each other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every
moment should be employed in conversing together.
Jane should therefore make the most of every half-hour in which she can command
his attention.
When she is secure of him, there will be more leisure for falling in love as much as
she chooses."
"Your plan is a good one," replied Elizabeth, "where nothing is in question
but the desire of being well married, and if I were determined to get a rich husband,
or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it.
But these are not Jane's feelings; she is not acting by design.
As yet, she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard nor of its
reasonableness. She has known him only a fortnight.
She danced four dances with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house,
and has since dined with him in company four times.
This is not quite enough to make her understand his character."
"Not as you represent it.
Had she merely dined with him, she might only have discovered whether he had a good
appetite; but you must remember that four evenings have also been spent together--and
four evenings may do a great deal."
"Yes; these four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like Vingt-un
better than Commerce; but with respect to any other leading characteristic, I do not
imagine that much has been unfolded."
"Well," said Charlotte, "I wish Jane success with all my heart; and if she were
married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if
she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth.
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.
If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so
similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least.
They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of
vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the
person with whom you are to pass your life."
"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound.
You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."
Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley's attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far
from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the
eyes of his friend.
Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without
admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise.
But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had
a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly
intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes.
To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying.
Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry
in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in
spite of his asserting that her manners
were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness.
Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who made himself
agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.
He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing with her
himself, attended to her conversation with others.
His doing so drew her notice.
It was at Sir William Lucas's, where a large party were assembled.
"What does Mr. Darcy mean," said she to Charlotte, "by listening to my conversation
with Colonel Forster?"
"That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer."
"But if he does it any more I shall certainly let him know that I see what he
is about.
He has a very satirical eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, I
shall soon grow afraid of him."
On his approaching them soon afterwards, though without seeming to have any
intention of speaking, Miss Lucas defied her friend to mention such a subject to
him; which immediately provoking Elizabeth to do it, she turned to him and said:
"Did you not think, Mr. Darcy, that I expressed myself uncommonly well just now,
when I was teasing Colonel Forster to give us a ball at Meryton?"
"With great energy; but it is always a subject which makes a lady energetic."
"You are severe on us." "It will be her turn soon to be teased,"
said Miss Lucas.
"I am going to open the instrument, Eliza, and you know what follows."
"You are a very strange creature by way of a friend!--always wanting me to play and
sing before anybody and everybody!
If my vanity had taken a musical turn, you would have been invaluable; but as it is, I
would really rather not sit down before those who must be in the habit of hearing
the very best performers."
On Miss Lucas's persevering, however, she added, "Very well, if it must be so, it
must."
And gravely glancing at Mr. Darcy, "There is a fine old saying, which everybody here
is of course familiar with: 'Keep your breath to cool your porridge'; and I shall
keep mine to swell my song."
Her performance was pleasing, though by no means capital.
After a song or two, and before she could reply to the entreaties of several that she
would sing again, she was eagerly succeeded at the instrument by her sister Mary, who
having, in consequence of being the only
plain one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, was always
impatient for display.
Mary had neither genius nor taste; and though vanity had given her application, it
had given her likewise a pedantic air and conceited manner, which would have injured
a higher degree of excellence than she had reached.
Elizabeth, easy and unaffected, had been listened to with much more pleasure, though
not playing half so well; and Mary, at the end of a long concerto, was glad to
purchase praise and gratitude by Scotch and
Irish airs, at the request of her younger sisters, who, with some of the Lucases, and
two or three officers, joined eagerly in dancing at one end of the room.
Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at such a mode of passing the
evening, to the exclusion of all conversation, and was too much engrossed by
his thoughts to perceive that Sir William
Lucas was his neighbour, till Sir William thus began:
"What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy!
There is nothing like dancing after all.
I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished society."
"Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less
polished societies of the world.
Every savage can dance." Sir William only smiled.
"Your friend performs delightfully," he continued after a pause, on seeing Bingley
join the group; "and I doubt not that you are an adept in the science yourself, Mr.
Darcy."
"You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir."
"Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure from the sight.
Do you often dance at St. James's?"
"Never, sir." "Do you not think it would be a proper
compliment to the place?" "It is a compliment which I never pay to
any place if I can avoid it."
"You have a house in town, I conclude?" Mr. Darcy bowed.
"I had once had some thought of fixing in town myself--for I am fond of superior
society; but I did not feel quite certain that the air of London would agree with
Lady Lucas."
He paused in hopes of an answer; but his companion was not disposed to make any; and
Elizabeth at that instant moving towards them, he was struck with the action of
doing a very gallant thing, and called out to her:
"My dear Miss Eliza, why are you not dancing?
Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable
partner. You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure when
so much beauty is before you."
And, taking her hand, he would have given it to Mr. Darcy who, though extremely
surprised, was not unwilling to receive it, when she instantly drew back, and said with
some discomposure to Sir William:
"Indeed, sir, I have not the least intention of dancing.
I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner."
Mr. Darcy, with grave propriety, requested to be allowed the honour of her hand, but
in vain.
Elizabeth was determined; nor did Sir William at all shake her purpose by his
attempt at persuasion.
"You excel so much in the dance, Miss Eliza, that it is cruel to deny me the
happiness of seeing you; and though this gentleman dislikes the amusement in
general, he can have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one half-hour."
"Mr. Darcy is all politeness," said Elizabeth, smiling.
"He is, indeed; but, considering the inducement, my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot
wonder at his complaisance--for who would object to such a partner?"
Elizabeth looked archly, and turned away.
Her resistance had not injured her with the gentleman, and he was thinking of her with
some complacency, when thus accosted by Miss Bingley:
"I can guess the subject of your reverie."
"I should imagine not." "You are considering how insupportable it
would be to pass many evenings in this manner--in such society; and indeed I am
quite of your opinion.
I was never more annoyed! The insipidity, and yet the noise--the
nothingness, and yet the self-importance of all those people!
What would I give to hear your strictures on them!"
"Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you.
My mind was more agreeably engaged.
I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the
face of a pretty woman can bestow."
Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, and desired he would tell her
what lady had the credit of inspiring such reflections.
Mr. Darcy replied with great intrepidity:
"Miss Elizabeth Bennet." "Miss Elizabeth Bennet!" repeated Miss
Bingley. "I am all astonishment.
How long has she been such a favourite?-- and pray, when am I to wish you joy?"
"That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask.
A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to
matrimony, in a moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy."
"Nay, if you are serious about it, I shall consider the matter is absolutely settled.
You will be having a charming mother-in- law, indeed; and, of course, she will
always be at Pemberley with you."
He listened to her with perfect indifference while she chose to entertain
herself in this manner; and as his composure convinced her that all was safe,
her wit flowed long.
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高慢と偏見ー第6章 (Chapter 06 - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

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羅致 2014 年 6 月 3 日 に公開
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