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Pride And Prejudice- Part 3
Pride And Prejudice- Part 3
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Chapter Three: Mr Collins Pays a Visit

Elizabeth spent most of the night in her sister's room. In the morning Jane

was better. She sent a note to her mother asking her to visit and decide what

to do. Mrs Bennet and her two youngest daughters arrived at Netherfield

after breakfast.

Although she was satisfied that Jane was in no danger, Mrs Bennet did not

listen to her proposal of going home. The doctor agreed. Miss Bingley then

invited the mother and three daughters to the parlour. Bingley met them with

hopes that Mrs Bennet had not found Jane worse than expected.

'Indeed I did, Sir,' she answered. 'She is much too ill to be moved. We

must depend a little longer on your kindness.'

'You may depend on it, Madam,' said Miss Bingley coldly, 'that Miss

Bennet shall receive every possible attention.'


Soon afterwards Mrs Bennet asked for her carriage, thanking Mr Bingley

again for his kindness. When they had left, Elizabeth went immediately to

Jane, leaving the two ladies to ridicule the behaviour of her relatives.

The day passed much like the day before. Elizabeth spent the evening

downstairs. She could not help noticing how frequently Mr Darcy looked at

her. When Miss Bingley played a lively song on the piano he came to

Elizabeth and said, 'Do you not want to dance when you hear such music?'

She smiled, but did not answer. He repeated the question.

'I heard you before,' She said, 'but I did not immediately know what to

answer'. I know you wanted me to say "Yes," to give you the pleasure of

ridiculing my taste. So I have decided to tell you that I do not want to dance

at all. Now ridicule me if you dare.'

'Indeed I do not dare.'


Elizabeth, expecting him to be angry, was surprised at his gallantry, but

there was a mixture of impertinence and sweetness in her manner which

made it difficult for her to offend anybody. Darcy had never been as

attracted by any woman as he was by her. He thought that only the

inferiority of her connections saved him from the danger of falling in love.

Miss Bingley saw this. Her anxiety that Jane get better soon came from her

wish to see her sister leave. She often tried to make Darcy dislike Elizabeth

by planning his happiness in an imagined marriage with her.

'I hope,' she said as they were walking in the garden the next day, 'you will

teach your mother-in-law the advantage of silence, and if you can tell the

younger girls not to run after the officers... '

At that moment they met Mrs Hurst and Elizabeth.

'I did not know you wanted to walk,' said Miss Bingley, in some

embarrassment, fearing she had been overheard.

'Why did you not tell us you were going to the garden?' asked Mrs Hurst,

leaving Elizabeth and taking Darcy's free arm. The path was big enough

only for three. Mr Darcy felt their rudeness and said, 'Let us move. This path

is not wide enough.'


But Elizabeth answered laughingly, 'No, no. You make such a handsome

picture; another person would spoil it.'

She ran off, happy in the thought of soon going home. Jane was so much

better that she planned to leave her room for a few hours that evening.

After dinner, Elizabeth helped her sister down to the drawing-room. Her

friends welcomed her warmly. Elizabeth had never seen them so agreeable,

but when the gentlemen came in Jane was quickly forgotten. Miss Bingley

immediately went to speak to Darcy. He greeted Jane politely, but it was

Bingley who was happiest to see her. After seeing that she was in no danger

of the cold sat down by her and talked to nobody else.

They decided not to play cards that evening. Darcy and Miss Bingley

began to read; Mr Hurst went to sleep and his wife spoke a little to Jane and

her brother. Hearing her brother speak to Jane about a ball, Miss Bingley

said, 'Charles, are you really thinking of a dance at Netherfield? I am sure

there are some of us to whom a ball is no pleasure.'

'Are you speaking of Darcy cried her brother. 'He can go to bed before it

begins, but the ball is a certain thing.'


Mr Darcy had been speaking to Elizabeth when Caroline Bingley, tired of

listening to this conversation in which she had no part, asked Mrs Hurst to

play some music. After a minute's thought, Darcy was not unhappy for it. He

was beginning to feel the danger of giving Elizabeth too much attention. She

attracted him more than he liked. It was a good thing that the two sisters

were to go home to Longbourn the following day.

'I hope, my dear,' said Mr Bennet to his wife the next morning, 'that you

have a good dinner today, because I expect somebody to join us.'

'Who do you mean?'

'The person of whom I speak is a gentleman and a stranger.'

The ladies were surprised and questioned him.

'A month ago I received a letter from my cousin Mr Collins, who will

come to live in this house when I die.'

In some families it was agreed by law that property could only be left to

men. If those families had only daughters, their houses and land would be

left to any male relative after the father's death. Mr Collins was Mr Bennet's

only male relative.


'He writes that his father died some time ago and that he wants us to forget

the disagreement between our families,' Mr Bennet said. 'He is a man of the

Church and has found an important patroness in the Honourable Lady

Catherine de Bourgh. He apologises for the injustice done to our daughters

because of his getting Longbourn and would like to help them. This is the

reason for his visit. We may expect the gentleman at four o'clock.'

Mr Collins was a tall, heavy-looking young man of twenty-five. His

manners were very formal and he soon complimented. Mrs Bennet on

having such fine, beautiful daughters. He was sure, he said, that soon she

would see them all well married.

'You are very kind, sir, I am sure; and I hope it will be so; or indeed they

will be very poor.'


'I know, madam, of my dear cousins' misfortune. I could say much on the

subject. At present I will not say more. But I can assure the young ladies that

I come ready to admire them.'

At dinner, Mr Bennet observed that Mr Collins was very fortunate in his

patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Mr Collins's manner was most serious

as he explained that never in his life had he seen such kindness in a great

lady. She had already asked him twice to dine at Rosings. She made no

objection to his joining in the society of the neighbourhood or to his visiting

his relatives. She had even told him to marry as soon as he could,

providing he chose the right wife, and had once visited him in his humble

house.


'Does she live near you?' asked Mrs Bennet.

'The garden of my humble house is next to Rosings.'

'You said she is a widow, sir. Has she any family?'

'She has only one daughter who, one day, will have Rosings and a great

fortune.'

'All!' cried Mrs Bennet, 'Is she handsome?'

'She is a most charming young lady indeed. I have more than once said to

Lady Catherine that her daughter was born to be a duchess. Such little

attentions please her ladyship.'

'It is happy for you to possess the talent of flattery,' said Mr Bennet. 'May I

ask if you think of these pleasing attentions at the moment, or are they the

result of study?'

'I sometimes amuse myself with thinking of such little elegant

compliments, but I always wish to give them in as natural a manner as

possible.'


Mr Bennet was satisfied. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped.

Having a good house and a sufficient fortune Mr Collins now intended to

marry. His first choice was Jane, but a conversation with Mrs Bennet the

next day informed him of her hopes for Jane's marriage. He had only to

change from her to Elizabeth.

That day Lydia planned to walk to Meryton to ask after a Mr Denny, an

officer she was friendly with. All her sisters, with the exception of Mary,

and Mr Collins decided to go with her. In pompous nothings on his side

and polite answers on that of his cousins, the time passed till they entered

Meryton. From then on the younger sisters were busy looking for officers.

The attention of every lady was soon attracted by a young stranger of most

gentleman-like appearance. He was walking with Mr Denny who introduced

him as a Mr Wickham, an officer in his regiment.


They were talking together when they saw Darcy and Bingley riding down

the street. The two gentlemen came up. Bingley was just going to

Longbourn, he told Jane, to ask after her. Suddenly Elizabeth saw Darcy

look at the stranger in surprise. Both men changed colour. Mr Wickham

touched his hat. In another minute Bingley took leave and rode on with his

friend. Mr Denny and Mr Wickham walked with the young ladies to Mr

Philips's house.

When Jane introduced Mr Collins to her aunt, she received him with her

very best politeness. She could not answer her nieces' questions about Mr

Wickham, but promised to invite him to dinner with some other officers the

next day.

As they walked home, Elizabeth told Jane what she had seen pass between

the two gentlemen. Jane was surprised as well.


classics Jane Austen Darcy

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