Chapter Eleven: Triumph over Pride and Prejudice
One morning, about a week later, the family were sitting in the dining
room, when a carriage came up to the door. It was Lady Catherine de
Bourgh. She entered the room with a manner more than usually unfriendly
and sat down. After a moment she turned to Elizabeth and said,
'I hope you are well, Miss Bennet. That lady I expect is your mother.'
Elizabeth answered that it was.
'And that I expect is one of your sisters.'
Mrs Bennet said that it was. 'May 1 ask your ladyship if you left Mr and
Mrs Collins well?' she asked.
'Yes, very well. I saw them last night.'
At that Lady Catherine got up and asked Elizabeth to walk with her in the
garden where she said, 'You must understand, Miss Bennet, the motive for
my journey.' Elizabeth looked surprised and assured her that she was
'Miss Bennet,' answered her Ladyship in an angry tone, 'you must know
that it is in my character always to say what I think. I shall not change now. I
was told a most scandalous story two days ago. That you, that Miss
Elizabeth Bennet, would probably soon marry Mr Darcy. I knew of course
that it was not true, that he would never do such a thing. I decided to come
here immediately to tell you of my feelings on the matter.'
'If you did not believe it true,' said Elizabeth, 'why did you come?'
'I came to hear you say it is not true. Has Mr Darcy made you an offer of
'Your Ladyship has said that is impossible.'
'It should be so. But you may have made him forget how he should
'If I had, I would be the last person to say so.'
'Miss Bennet! Nobody speaks to me like this. You must understand me.
This marriage can never take place. Mr Darcy is to marry my daughter. Now
what have you to say?'
'If that is so, you can have no reason to imagine he will make an offer to
Lady Catherine was silent for a moment and then said, 'From the
beginning they were meant for each other. It was the favourite wish of his
mother and mine. Are they not to be married because of a young woman of
no importance in the world?'
'Is there no other objection to my marrying Mr Darcy, but an agreement
between his mother and you? Has Mr Darcy no choice in the matter? And if
I am that choice, why may I not accept him?'
'I am ashamed of you. Is this your thanks for my attentions to you, you a
young woman without family, connections or fortune.'
'Mr Darcy is a gentleman. I am a gentleman's daughter.'
'You are a gentleman's daughter. But who was your mother? Who are your
uncles and aunts?'
'Whatever my connections may be,' said Elizabeth, 'if Mr Darcy does not
object, they can be nothing to you.'
'Tell me now. Are you to marry him?'
'I am not.'
'And will you promise me never to marry him?'
'I will make no promise of the kind.'
'Miss Bennet. I know the story of your sister's marriage to Mr Wickham. Is
such a girl to be Mr Darcy's sister?'
'You have now said everything possible to offend me. I have nothing more
to say.' Elizabeth got up and they walked back to the house.
For many hours after Lady Catherine's departure, Elizabeth could not think
clearly. She had said she would prevent their marriage. Would she now
speak to Mr Darcy? With his idea of family pride, he might feel his aunt was
not wrong. If in the next few days he wrote to Bingley saying that he could
not return to Netherfield, she would understand. She would then stop
thinking of him.
No letter came from Mr Darcy, but a few days later he came to Longbourn
himself. Bingley, who wanted to be alone with Jane, had the idea of walking
out together. They walked slowly behind while Elizabeth and Mr Darcy
walked ahead. Now was the moment to speak.
'Mr Darcy,' Elizabeth began, 'I must thank you for your great kindness to
my poor sister. Ever since I have known it, I have been anxious to tell you
how grateful I am.'
'I am very sorry that you were informed of it. I did not think Mrs Gardiner
would tell you.'
'It was Lydia who spoke thoughtlessly. Let me thank you again and again
in the name of all my family.'
'If you will thank me,' he answered, 'thank me for yourself. Much as I
respect your family, I thought only of you.'
Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. After a moment he
said, 'You are too generous to play with my feelings. My affections and
wishes are unchanged. If you feel the same as you did last April, tell me so
immediately and I will be silent.'
Elizabeth, feeling all the anxiety of his situation, told him that her feelings
had changed so much that she would now receive his proposal with gratitude
and pleasure. The happiness this caused him was greater than any he had
ever known. He spoke as intelligently and warmly as a man violently in love
can do. Elizabeth could not look at him. She could only listen in delight as
he told of his feelings for her.
They walked on, not knowing where. There was too much to be thought
and felt and said. She soon heard that they could thank his aunt for their
present happiness. She had visited him and told him of her conversation with
'It taught me to hope,' said he, 'as I had never hoped before. I knew your
character well enough to be certain that if you had decided against me, you
would have told Lady Catherine so.'
Elizabeth blushed and laughed. 'Yes. After saying the worst things to your
face, I could say them to your relatives too.'
'What did you say that was untrue? My behaviour to you was despicable.'
'We shall not disagree on who was more at fault,' said Elizabeth. r'Since
then I hope we are both changed for the better.'
'I cannot so easily forget the things I said ... my manners to you ... your
words when you said to me," ... had you behaved in a more gentleman-like
manner ... " You do not know how those words have made me suffer.'
'I had no idea you would feel them like that.'
'I can believe it. You thought me without any proper feeling, I am sure you
did. I shall never forget your face when you said that I could not propose to
you in any way that would make you accept me.'
'Oh! do not repeat what I said then. I have long been so ashamed of it.'
Darcy mentioned his letter. 'Did it,' said he, 'soon make you think better of
She explained how she had felt and how, slowly, all her prejudices had
They spoke about their meeting at Pemberley.
'I only wanted to show you that I was not angry about the past,' Darcy said.
'I hoped for your forgiveness. How soon I felt other wishes I cannot say,
but I believe about half an hour after I had seen you.'
After walking a long way they found at last that it was time to be at home.
Where could Bingley and Jane be? Darcy expressed his delight at the news
his friend had given him. In picturing Bingley's happiness, which would
only be less than his own, he continued the conversation till they got home.
That night Elizabeth opened her heart to her sister who could not believe
'You are not serious, Lizzy. This cannot be, to marry Mr Darcy! I know it
is not true.'
'This is a bad beginning indeed! I am sure nobody else will believe me if
you do not. But I am. speaking the truth. He still loves me and we are to be
'Oh Lizzy! It cannot be. I know how much you dislike him'
'You know nothing of the matter. Perhaps I did not always love him as
well as I do now. But that must all be forgotten.'
'I must believe you,' cried Jane. 'My dear, dear Lizzy, forgive the question,
but are you quite sure that you can be happy with him?'
'Quite. It is settled between us already that we shall be the happiest people
in the world.'
'And do you really love him well enough? Oh Lizzy, do anything, but do
not marry without affection. Are you quite sure that you feel what you
When Jane was satisfied about the strength of Elizabeth's affection for
Darcy she said, 'Now I am quite happy, for you will be as happy as myself.'
'Oh no!' cried Mrs Bennet the next morning. 'That disagreeable Mr Darcy
is here again with our dear Bingley. What shall we do with him? Lizzy, you
must walk out with him again.'
That evening when Mr Bennet left the drawing-room, Darcy got up and
followed him. When he appeared again he smiled at Elizabeth and sent her
to her father.
When Elizabeth came into the room, her father was walking around
'Lizzy,' said he, 'what are you doing? Have you not always hated this
How she wished then that she had not expressed her former opinions so
strongly! She tried to assure her father of her affection for Darcy.
'Lizzy,' said he, 'I know that you could never be happy unless you truly
loved and respected your husband.'
Elizabeth explained the slow change of her feelings. She assured her father
that Darcy had loved her for many months and that he was not the proud,
disagreeable man she had thought. At last she told him what he had done for
'Well, my dear,' he said, 'if this is true, then he is indeed the man for you.'
Later that night Elizabeth told her mother. On hearing the news, Mrs
Bennet could not say a word. It was many, many minutes before she could
understand. Finally she said,
'Dear me! Mr Darcy! Who would have thought it! And is it really true? Oh!
My sweetest Lizzy! How rich and great you will be! Jane is nothing to it. I
am so happy - such a charming man! So handsome! So tall! Oh my dear
Lizzy, please apologise for my having disliked him so much before. I hope
he will forget it. Dear, dear Lizzy. Three daughters married!'
Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs Bennet
saw her two oldest daughters married. How she delighted in visiting Mrs
Bingley and talking of Mrs Darcy.
Mr Bennet missed his second daughter greatly. His affection for her often
brought him to Pemberley.
Mr Bingley and Jane stayed at Netherfield only a year. To the satisfaction
of the two sisters Mr Bingley then bought an estate only thirty miles from
Pemberley was Georgiana's home now and the attachment of the two
sisters was just what Darcy had hoped. They learned to love each other very
Lady Catherine sent Darcy such an angry letter on hearing about the
marriage that, for a time, all contact stopped.
With the Gardiners they were intimate. Darcy as well as Elizabeth really
loved them and they were always grateful to the people who, by bringing her
into Derbyshire, had united them.