小说:《傲慢与偏见》 第46章 (中英对照)

简.奥斯汀
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              第 46 章

伊莉莎白到蓝白屯的时候,因为没有立即接到吉英的来信,感到非常失望;第二天早上又感到同样的失望。可是到了第三天,她就再也不用焦虑了,再也不埋怨她的姐姐了,因为她这一天收到了姐姐两封信,其中一封注明曾经送错了地方。伊莉莎白并不觉得诧异,因为吉英确实把位址写得很潦草。

  那两封信送来的时候,他们刚刚要出去溜达;舅父母管自己走了,让她一个人去静静地读信。误投过的那封信当然要先读,那还是五天前写的。信上先讲了一些小规模的宴会和约会之类的事,又报导了一些乡下的新闻;后一半却报导了重要消息,而且注明是下一天写的,显见得写信人提笔时心绪很乱。后半封内容如下:

  亲爱的丽萃,写了上半封信之后,发生了一件极其出人意料、极其严重的事;可是我又怕吓坏了你。请放心吧,家里人都好,我这里要说的是关于可怜的丽迪雅的事。昨天晚上十二点钟,我们正要睡觉和时候,突然接到弗斯脱上校一封快信,告诉我们说,丽迪雅跟他部下的一个军官到苏格兰去了;老实说,就是跟韦翰私奔了!你想像我们当时多么惊奇。不过吉蒂却以为这件事并非完全出人意料。我真难受。这两个男女就这样冒冒失失地配成了一对!可是我还是愿意从最好的方面去着想,希望别人都是误解了他的人品。我固然认为他为人轻率冒昧,不过他这次的举动未必就是存心不良(让我们但愿如此吧)。至少他选中这个物件不是为了有利可图,因为他一定知道父亲没有一个钱给她。可怜的母亲伤心得要命。父亲总算还支持得住。谢天谢地,好在我们从来没有让他们老人家知道外界对他的议论。我们自己也不必把它放在心上。据大家猜想,他们大概是星期六晚上十二点钟走的,但是一直到昨天早上八点钟,才发现这两个失了踪。于是弗斯脱上校连忙写信告诉我们。亲爱的丽萃,他们所经过的地方离开我们一定不满十英里。弗斯脱上校说,他一定立刻就到我们这里来。丽迪雅留了一封短信给弗斯脱太太,把他们两人的意图告诉了她。我不得不停笔了,因为我不能离开母亲太久。我怕你一定觉得莫明其妙吧,我自己也简直不知道在写些什么。

  伊莉莎白读完了这封信以后,几乎说不出自己是怎样的感觉,想也没有想一下,便连忙抓起另一封信,迫不及待一拆开就看。这封信比第一封信迟写一天。

  亲爱的妹妹,你现在大概收到了我那封匆促草成的信了吧。我希望这封信会把问题说得明白些;不过,时间虽然并不是急促,我的头脑却糊里糊涂,因此并不是担保这封信一定会写得有条有理。我的亲丽萃,我简直不知道该写些什么,但是我总得把坏消息报导给你,而且事不宜迟。尽管韦翰先生和我们可怜的丽迪雅的婚姻是多么荒唐,可是我们却巴不得听到他们已经结婚的消息,因为我们非常担心他们并没有到苏格兰去。弗斯脱上校前天寄出那封快信以后,稍隔数小时即由白利屯出发到我们这儿来,已于昨日抵达此间。虽然丽迪雅给弗太太的那封短信里说,他们俩要到格利那草场去,可是根据丹呢透露出来的口风,他相信韦决不打算到那儿去,也根本不打算跟丽迪雅结婚。弗上校一听此话,大为骇异,便连忙从白出发,希望能追到他们。他一路追踪觅迹,追到克拉普汗,这倒还不费什么事,可是再往前追便不容易,因为他们两人到达此地后,便把从艾普桑雇来的马车打发走了,重新雇了出租马车。以后的先踪去迹便颇难打听,只听见有人说,看见他们继续往伦敦那方面去。我不知道应该怎样想法。弗上校在伦敦竭力仔细打听了一番以后,便来到哈福德郡,在沿路的关卡上以及巴纳特和帽场两地所有的旅馆里,统统探寻了一遍,可是不得要领而返。大家都说没有看见这样的人走过。他无限关切地来到了浪搏恩,把他的种种疑虑全都诚心诚意地告诉了我们。我实在替他和弗太太难过;谁也不能怪他们夫妇俩。亲爱的丽萃,我们真是痛苦到极点。父亲和母亲都以为,这事情的下场势必糟透坏极,可是我却不忍心把他看作那么坏。也许为了种种关系,他们觉得在城里私下结婚,比较合适,故未按照原来计划进行;纵使他欺侮丽迪雅年幼无知,没有显亲贵戚,因而对她存心不良,难道丽迪雅自己也会不顾一切吗?这件事绝对不可能!不过,听到弗上校不大相信他们俩会结婚,我又不免伤心。我把我的心愿说给他听,他只是频频摇头,又说韦恐怕是个靠不住的人。可怜的妈真要病倒了,整天不出房门。要是她能勉强克制一下,事情也许要好些,可惜她无法办到。讲到父亲,我一辈子也没见过他这样难受。可怜的吉蒂也很气愤,她怪她自己没有把他们俩的亲密关系预先告诉家里;但是他们俩既然信任她能够保守秘密,我也不便怪她没有早讲。最亲爱的丽萃,我真替你高兴,这些痛苦的场面对你说来,真是眼不见为净。不过,开头一场惊险既已过去,我很希望你回来,你不会觉得我这是不合情理吧?如果你不方便,自然我也不会太自私,非要逼你回来不可。再见吧!刚刚才告诉过你,我不愿意逼你回来,现在我又要拿起笔来逼你了,因为照目前情况看来,我不得不诚恳地请求你们尽可能快些回来。舅父母和我相知颇深,决不会见怪,我因此才大胆提出要求,而且我还有别的事要求舅父帮忙。父亲马上就要跟弗斯脱上校到伦敦去想办法找她。他的具体打算我无从知道,可是看他那么痛苦万状,就知道他办起事来决不会十分稳妥,而弗斯脱上校明天晚上就得回白利屯。情况如此紧急,万万非请舅父前来协助指示不可。我相信他一定会体谅我此刻的心情,我相信他一定肯来帮忙。

  伊莉莎白读完信以后,不禁失声叫道:”舅父上哪儿去啦?”她连忙从椅子上跳起来急急去找寻舅父。时间太宝贵,一分钟也不能错过。她刚走到门口,恰逢佣人把门打开,达西先生走了进来。他看见她脸色苍白,神情仓皇,不由得吃了一惊。他还没有定下心来说一句话,她却因为一心只想到丽迪雅的处境,却连忙叫起来了:”对不起,不能奉陪。我有紧要的事要去找嘉丁纳先生,一分钟也不能耽搁。”

  他抑制不住一时的感情冲动,便也顾不得礼貌。大声嚷道:”老天爷,这究竟是怎么回事?”他让自己定了一下心,然后接下去说:”我不愿意耽搁你一分钟;不过还是让我去替你找嘉丁纳先生夫妇吧,或是让佣人去也好。你身体不好;你不能去。”

  伊莉莎白犹豫不定,但是她已经双膝发抖,也觉得自己没有办法去找他们。她只得叫佣人来,打发他去把主人和主妇立刻找回来。她说话的时候上气不接下气,几乎叫人家听不清楚。

  佣人走出去以后,她便坐下来,达西见她身体已经支持不住,脸色非常难看,简直不放心离开她,便用了一种温柔体贴的声调跟她说:”让我把你的女佣人叫来吧。你能不能吃点东西,叫你自己好过一些?要我给你弄一杯酒吗?你好象有病呢。”

  她竭力保持镇静,回答他道:”不要,谢谢你。我没有什么。我很好;只是刚刚从浪搏恩传来了一个不幸的消息,使我很难受。”

  她说到这里,不禁哭了起来,半天说不出一句话。达西一时摸不着头脑,只得含含糊糊说了些慰问的话,默默无言地望着她,心里很是同情。后来她便向他吐露实情:”我刚刚收到吉英一封信,告诉我一个非常不幸的消息,反正这也瞒不住任何人。告诉你,我那最小的妹妹丢了她所有的亲友……私奔了……落入了韦翰先生的圈套。他们俩是从白利屯逃走的。你深知他的为人,下文也就不必提了。她没钱没势,没有任何地方足以使他要……丽迪雅一生完了。”

  达西给吓呆了。伊莉莎白又用一种更激动的声调接下去说:”我本来是可以阻止这一件事的!我知道他的真面目!我只要把那件事的一部分……我所听到的一部分,早讲给家里人听就好了,要是大家都知道了他的品格,就不会出这一场乱子了,但现在事已太迟。”

  达西叫道:”我真痛心,又痛心又惊吓。但是这消息靠得住吗,完全靠得住吗?”

  ”当然靠得住!他们是星期日晚上从白利屯出奔的,人家追他们一直追到伦敦,可是无法再追下去。他们一定没有去苏格兰。”

  ”那么,有没有想什么办法去找她呢?”

  ”我父亲到伦敦去了,吉英写信来,要舅父立刻回去帮忙,我希望我们在半个钟头之内就能动身。可是事情毫无办法,我认为一定毫无办法。这样的一个人,有什么办法对付得了?又想得出什么办法去找他们?我实在不敢存一线的希望。想来想去真可怕。”

  达西摇摇头,表示默认。

  ”我当初本已看穿了他的人品,只怪我一时缺乏果断,没有大著胆子去办事。我只怕做得太过火,这真是千不该万不该!”

  达西没有回答。他好象完全没有听到她的话,只是在房间里踱来踱去,煞费苦心地在深思默想。他双眉紧蹙,满脸忧愁。伊莉莎白立刻看到了他这副面容,而且随即明白了他的心思。她对他的魔力一步步在消退了;家庭这样不争气,招来了这样的奇耻大辱,自然处处都会惹得人家一天比一天看不起。她丝毫不觉得诧异,也不怪别人。她即使姑且认为他愿意委曲求全,也未必就会感到安慰,未必就会减轻痛苦。这反而足发使她愈加有自知之明。现在千恩万爱都已落空,她倒第一次感觉到真心真意地爱他。

  她虽然难免想到自己,却并不是完全只想到自己。只要一想到丽迪雅给大家带来的耻辱和痛苦,她立刻就打消了一切的个人顾虑。她用一条手绢掩住了脸,便一切都不闻不问了。过了好一会儿,她听到她朋友的声音,这才神志清醒过来。只听得达西说话的声调里满含着同情,也带着一些拘束;”我恐怕你早就希望我走开了吧,我实在没有理由待在这儿,不过我无限地同情你,虽然这种同情无济于事。天哪,我但愿能够说几句什么话,或是尽我一份力量,来安慰安慰你这样深切的痛苦!可是我不愿意说些空洞的漂亮话,让你受罪,这样做倒好象是我故意要讨你的好。我恐怕这桩不幸的事,会使得你们今天不能到彭伯里去看我妹妹了。”

  ”哦!是呀,请你替我们向达西小姐道个歉吧。就说我们有紧要的事,非立刻回家不可。请你把这一桩不幸的事尽可能多隐瞒一些时候。不过我也知道隐瞒不了多久。”

  他立刻答应替她保守秘密,又重新说他非常同情她的苦痛,希望这一件事会得到比较圆满的结局,不至于象现在所想像的这样糟糕,又请她代为问候她家里人,然后郑重地望了她一眼便告辞了。

  他一走出房门,伊莉莎白就不禁想到;这一次居然能和他在德比郡见面,而且好几次见面都蒙他竭诚相待,这简直是出人意料。她又回想了一下他们整个一段交情,真是矛盾百出,千变万化,她以前曾经巴不得断绝这一段交情,如今却又希望能继续下去,想到这种颠三倒四的地方,不由得叹了口气。

  如果说,大凡一个人爱上一个人,都是因为先有了感激之心,器重之意,那么,伊莉莎白这次感情的变化当然既合情理,又叫人无可非议。反而言之,世人有所谓一见倾心的场面,也有双方未曾交谈三言两语就相互倾心的场面,如果说,由感激和器重产生的爱情,比起一见倾心的爱情来,就显得不近人情事理,那我们当然就不能够再袒护伊莉莎白,不过还有一点可以替她交待清楚一下;当初韦翰使他动心的时候,她也许多少就采用了另一种比较乏味的恋爱方式。这且不提,却说她看见达西走了,真是十分惆怅;丽迪雅这次的丑行,一开头就造成了这样不良的后果,再想起这件糟糕的事,她心里更加痛苦。自从她读了吉英的第二封信以后,她再也不指望韦翰会存心和丽迪雅结婚了。她想,只有吉英会存这种希望,此外谁都不会。关于这件事的发展趋势,她丝毫不觉得奇怪。当她唯读到第一封信的时候,她的确觉得太奇怪,太惊讶……韦翰怎么会跟这样一个无利可图的姑娘结婚?丽迪雅又怎么会爱上他?实在叫人不可理解。可是现在看来,真是再自然也没有了。象这一类的苟合,丽迪雅的风流妩媚可能也就足够了。

  她虽然并不以为丽迪雅会存心跟人家私奔页不打算结婚,可是丽迪雅无论在品德方面或见识方面,的确都很欠缺,当然经不起人家勾引,这也是她意料中事。

  民兵团驻扎在哈福德郡的时候,她完全没有看出丽迪雅对韦翰有什么倾心的地方,可是她深深认识到丽迪雅只要随便哪个人勾引一下就会上钩。她今天喜欢这个军官,明天又喜欢那个军官,只要你对她献殷勤,她就看得中你。她平常的情感极不专一,可是从来没有缺少过谈情说爱的物件。这只怪一向没有家教,对她任意纵容,结果使这样的一个姑娘落得这般下场。天哪!她现在实在体会得太深刻啦!

  她非回家不可了……要亲自去听听清楚,看看明白,要赶快去给吉英分担一份忧劳。家里给弄得那么糟,父亲不在家,母亲撑不起身,又随时要人侍候,千斤重担都压在吉英一个人身上。关于丽迪雅的事,她虽然认为已经无法可想,可是她又认为舅父的帮助是极其重要的,她等他回来真等得万分焦急。且说嘉丁纳夫妇听了仆人的话还以为是外甥女得了急病,便连忙慌慌张张赶回来。伊莉莎白见到他们,马上说明并非得了急病,他们方才放心,她又连忙讲清楚找他们回来的原因,把那两封信读出来,又气急败坏地念著第二封信后面补写的那一段话。虽然舅父母平常并不喜爱丽迪雅,可是他们却不得不感到深切的忧虑,因为这件事不单是牵涉到丽迪雅,而是对于大家都体面攸关。嘉丁纳先生开头大为骇异,连声慨叹,然后便一口答应竭尽一切力量帮忙到底。伊莉莎白虽然并没有觉得事出意外,可还是感激涕零。于是三个人协力同心,一刹那工夫就样样收拾妥贴,只等上路。他们要走得越快越好。”可是怎样向彭伯里交待呢?”嘉丁纳太太大声地说:”约翰跟我们说,当你在找我们的时候,达西先生正在这儿,这是真的吗?”

  ”是真的;我已经告诉过他,我们不能赴约了。这件事算是交待清楚了。”

  ”这件事算是交待清楚了,”舅母一面重说了一遍,一面跑回房间去准备。”难道他们两人的交情已经好到这步田地,她可以把事实真相都说给他听了吗?哎唷,我真想弄明白这究竟是怎么回事!”

  可惜她这个愿望落空了,最多不过在这匆匆忙忙、慌慌乱乱的一个钟头里面,宽慰了一下她自己的心。纵使伊莉莎白能够偷闲摸空跟她谈谈,在这种狼狈不堪的情况下,哪里还会有闲情逸致来谈这种事,何况她也和她舅母一样,有多少事情要料理;别的且不说,蓝白屯所有的朋友们就得由她写信去通知,执行捏造一些借口,说明他们为什么要突然离去。她在一小时以后,样样事情都已经料理妥贴,嘉丁纳先生也和旅馆里算清了账,只等动身。伊莉莎白苦闷了整整一个上午,想不到在极短的时间里,居然坐上马车,向浪搏恩出发了。

Chapter 46

ELIZABETH had been a good deal disappointed in not finding a letter from Jane on their first arrival at Lambton; and this disappointment had been renewed on each of the mornings that had now been spent there; but on the third, her repining was over, and her sister justified, by the receipt of two letters from her at once, on one of which was marked that it had been missent elsewhere. Elizabeth was not surprised at it, as Jane had written the direction remarkably ill.
They had just been preparing to walk as the letters came in; and her uncle and aunt, leaving her to enjoy them in quiet, set off by themselves. The one missent must be first attended to; it had been written five days ago. The beginning contained an account of all their little parties and engagements, with such news as the country afforded; but the latter half, which was dated a day later, and written in evident agitation, gave more important intelligence. It was to this effect:
“Since writing the above, dearest Lizzy, something has occurred of a most unexpected and serious nature; but I am afraid of alarming you — be assured that we are all well. What I have to say relates to poor Lydia. An express came at twelve last night, just as we were all gone to bed, from Colonel Forster, to inform us that she was gone off to Scotland with one of his officers; to own the truth, with Wickham! — Imagine our surprise. To Kitty, however, it does not seem so wholly unexpected. I am very, very sorry. So imprudent a match on both sides! — But I am willing to hope the best, and that his character has been misunderstood. Thoughtless and indiscreet I can easily believe him, but this step (and let us rejoice over it) marks nothing bad at heart. His choice is disinterested at least, for he must know my father can give her nothing. Our poor mother is sadly grieved. My father bears it better. How thankful am I, that we never let them know what has been said against him; we must forget it ourselves. They were off Saturday night about twelve, as is conjectured, but were not missed till yesterday morning at eight. The express was sent off directly. My dear Lizzy, they must have passed within ten miles of us. Colonel Forster gives us reason to expect him here soon. Lydia left a few lines for his wife, informing her of their intention. I must conclude, for I cannot be long from my poor mother. I am afraid you will not be able to make it out, but I hardly know what I have written.”
Without allowing herself time for consideration, and scarcely knowing what she felt, Elizabeth, on finishing this letter, instantly seized the other, and opening it with the utmost impatience, read as follows — it had been written a day later than the conclusion of the first:
“By this time, my dearest sister, you have received my hurried letter; I wish this may be more intelligible, but though not confined for time, my head is so bewildered that I cannot answer for being coherent. Dearest Lizzy, I hardly know what I would write, but I have bad news for you, and it cannot be delayed. Imprudent as a marriage between Mr. Wickham and our poor Lydia would be, we are now anxious to be assured it has taken place, for there is but too much reason to fear they are not gone to Scotland. Colonel Forster came yesterday, having left Brighton the day before, not many hours after the express. Though Lydia’s short letter to Mrs. F. gave them to understand that they were going to Gretna Green, something was dropped by Denny expressing his belief that W. never intended to go there, or to marry Lydia at all, which was repeated to Colonel F., who, instantly taking the alarm, set off from B. intending to trace their route. He did trace them easily to Clapham, but no farther; for on entering that place they removed into a hackney-coach and dismissed the chaise that brought them from Epsom. All that is known after this is that they were seen to continue the London road. I know not what to think. After making every possible enquiry on that side London, Colonel F. came on into Hertfordshire, anxiously renewing them at all the turnpikes, and at the inns in Barnet and Hatfield, but without any success; no such people had been seen to pass through. With the kindest concern he came on to Longbourn, and broke his apprehensions to us in a manner most creditable to his heart. I am sincerely grieved for him and Mrs. F., but no one can throw any blame on them. Our distress, my dear Lizzy, is very great. My father and mother believe the worst, but I cannot think so ill of him. Many circumstances might make it more eligible for them to be married privately in town than to pursue their first plan; and even if he could form such a design against a young woman of Lydia’s connections, which is not likely, can I suppose her so lost to every thing? — Impossible. I grieve to find, however, that Colonel F. is not disposed to depend upon their marriage; he shook his head when I expressed my hopes, and said he feared W. was not a man to be trusted. My poor mother is really ill and keeps her room. Could she exert herself it would be better, but this is not to be expected; and as to my father, I never in my life saw him so affected. Poor Kitty has anger for having concealed their attachment; but as it was a matter of confidence, one cannot wonder. I am truly glad, dearest Lizzy, that you have been spared something of these distressing scenes; but now, as the first shock is over, shall I own that I long for your return? I am not so selfish, however, as to press for it, if inconvenient. Adieu. I take up my pen again to do what I have just told you I would not, but circumstances are such, that I cannot help earnestly begging you all to come here as soon as possible. I know my dear uncle and aunt so well that I am not afraid of requesting it, though I have still something more to ask of the former. My father is going to London with Colonel Forster instantly, to try to discover her. What he means to do, I am sure I know not; but his excessive distress will not allow him to pursue any measure in the best and safest way, and Colonel Forster is obliged to be at Brighton again to-morrow evening. In such an exigence my uncle’s advice and assistance would be every thing in the world; he will immediately comprehend what I must feel, and I rely upon his goodness.”
“Oh! where, where is my uncle?” cried Elizabeth, darting from her seat as she finished the letter, in eagerness to follow him without losing a moment of the time so precious; but as she reached the door, it was opened by a servant, and Mr. Darcy appeared. Her pale face and impetuous manner made him start, and before he could recover himself enough to speak, she, in whose mind every idea was superseded by Lydia’s situation, hastily exclaimed, “I beg your pardon, but I must leave you. I must find Mr. Gardiner this moment, on business that cannot be delayed; I have not a moment to lose.”
“Good God! what is the matter?” cried he, with more feeling than politeness; then recollecting himself, “I will not detain you a minute, but let me, or let the servant, go after Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. You are not well enough; — you cannot go yourself.”
Elizabeth hesitated, but her knees trembled under her, and she felt how little would be gained by her attempting to pursue them. Calling back the servant, therefore, she commissioned him, though in so breathless an accent as made her almost unintelligible, to fetch his master and mistress home instantly.
On his quitting the room, she sat down, unable to support herself, and looking so miserably ill that it was impossible for Darcy to leave her, or to refrain from saying, in a tone of gentleness and commiseration, “Let me call your maid. Is there nothing you could take, to give you present relief? — A glass of wine; — shall I get you one? — You are very ill.”
“No, I thank you;” she replied, endeavouring to recover herself. “There is nothing the matter with me. I am quite well. I am only distressed by some dreadful news which I have just received from Longbourn.”
She burst into tears as she alluded to it, and for a few minutes could not speak another word. Darcy, in wretched suspense, could only say something indistinctly of his concern, and observe her in compassionate silence. At length, she spoke again. “I have just had a letter from Jane, with such dreadful news. It cannot be concealed from any one. My youngest sister has left all her friends — has eloped; — has thrown herself into the power of — of Mr. Wickham. They are gone off together from Brighton. You know him too well to doubt the rest. She has no money, no connections, nothing that can tempt him to — she is lost for ever.”
Darcy was fixed in astonishment. “When I consider,” she added, in a yet more agitated voice, “that I might have prevented it! — I who knew what he was. Had I but explained some part of it only — some part of what I learnt — to my own family! Had his character been known, this could not have happened. But it is all, all too late now.”
“I am grieved, indeed,” cried Darcy; “grieved — shocked. But is it certain, absolutely certain?”
“Oh yes! — They left Brighton together on Sunday night, and were traced almost to London, but not beyond; they are certainly not gone to Scotland.”
“And what has been done, what has been attempted, to recover her?”
“My father is gone to London, and Jane has written to beg my uncle’s immediate assistance, and we shall be off, I hope, in half an hour. But nothing can be done; I know very well that nothing can be done. How is such a man to be worked on? How are they even to be discovered? I have not the smallest hope. It is every way horrible!”
Darcy shook his head in silent acquiescence.
“When my eyes were opened to his real character. — Oh! had I known what I ought, what I dared, to do! But I knew not — I was afraid of doing too much. Wretched, wretched, mistake!”
Darcy made no answer. He seemed scarcely to hear her, and was walking up and down the room in earnest meditation; his brow contracted, his air gloomy. Elizabeth soon observed and instantly understood it. Her power was sinking; every thing must sink under such a proof of family weakness, such an assurance of the deepest disgrace. She should neither wonder nor condemn, but the belief of his self-conquest brought nothing consolatory to her bosom, afforded no palliation of her distress. It was, on the contrary, exactly calculated to make her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain.
But self, though it would intrude, could not engross her. Lydia — the humiliation, the misery, she was bringing on them all — soon swallowed up every private care; and covering her face with her handkerchief, Elizabeth was soon lost to every thing else; and, after a pause of several minutes, was only recalled to a sense of her situation by the voice of her companion, who, in a manner, which though it spoke compassion, spoke likewise restraint, said, “I am afraid you have been long desiring my absence, nor have I any thing to plead in excuse of my stay, but real, though unavailing, concern. Would to heaven that any thing could be either said or done on my part, that might offer consolation to such distress! — But I will not torment you with vain wishes, which may seem purposely to ask for your thanks. This unfortunate affair will, I fear, prevent my sister’s having the pleasure of seeing you at Pemberley to-day.”
“Oh, yes. Be so kind as to apologize for us to Miss Darcy. Say that urgent business calls us home immediately. Conceal the unhappy truth as long as it is possible. — I know it cannot be long.”
He readily assured her of his secrecy — again expressed his sorrow for her distress, wished it a happier conclusion than there was at present reason to hope, and, leaving his compliments for her relations, with only one serious, parting, look, went away.
As he quitted the room, Elizabeth felt how improbable it was that they should ever see each other again on such terms of cordiality as had marked their several meetings in Derbyshire; and as she threw a retrospective glance over the whole of their acquaintance, so full of contradictions and varieties, sighed at the perverseness of those feelings which would now have promoted its continuance, and would formerly have rejoiced in its termination.
If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection, Elizabeth’s change of sentiment will be neither improbable nor faulty. But if otherwise, if the regard springing from such sources is unreasonable or unnatural, in comparison of what is so often described as arising on a first interview with its object, and even before two words have been exchanged, nothing can be said in her defence, except that she had given somewhat of a trial to the latter method in her partiality for Wickham, and that its ill-success might perhaps authorise her to seek the other less interesting mode of attachment. Be that as it may, she saw him go with regret; and in this early example of what Lydia’s infamy must produce, found additional anguish as she reflected on that wretched business. Never, since reading Jane’s second letter, had she entertained a hope of Wickham’s meaning to marry her. No one but Jane, she thought, could flatter herself with such an expectation. Surprise was the least of her feelings on this developement. While the contents of the first letter remained on her mind, she was all surprise — all astonishment that Wickham should marry a girl whom it was impossible he could marry for money; and how Lydia could ever have attached him had appeared incomprehensible. But now it was all too natural. For such an attachment as this, she might have sufficient charms; and though she did not suppose Lydia to be deliberately engaging in an elopement, without the intention of marriage, she had no difficulty in believing that neither her virtue nor her understanding would preserve her from falling an easy prey.
She had never perceived, while the regiment was in Hertfordshire, that Lydia had any partiality for him, but she was convinced that Lydia had wanted only encouragement to attach herself to any body. Sometimes one officer, sometimes another had been her favourite, as their attentions raised them in her opinion. Her affections had been continually fluctuating, but never without an object. The mischief of neglect and mistaken indulgence towards such a girl. — Oh! how acutely did she now feel it.
She was wild to be at home — to hear, to see, to be upon the spot, to share with Jane in the cares that must now fall wholly upon her, in a family so deranged; a father absent, a mother incapable of exertion and requiring constant attendance; and though almost persuaded that nothing could be done for Lydia, her uncle’s interference seemed of the utmost importance, and till he entered the room, the misery of her impatience was severe. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner had hurried back in alarm, supposing, by the servant’s account, that their niece was taken suddenly ill; — but satisfying them instantly on that head, she eagerly communicated the cause of their summons, reading the two letters aloud, and dwelling on the postscript of the last with trembling energy. — Though Lydia had never been a favourite with them, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner could not but be deeply affected. Not Lydia only, but all were concerned in it; and after the first exclamations of surprise and horror, Mr. Gardiner readily promised every assistance in his power. — Elizabeth, though expecting no less, thanked him with tears of gratitude; and all three being actuated by one spirit, every thing relating to their journey was speedily settled. They were to be off as soon as possible. “But what is to be done about Pemberley?” cried Mrs. Gardiner. “John told us Mr. Darcy was here when you sent for us; — was it so?”
“Yes; and I told him we should not be able to keep our engagement. That is all settled.”
“That is all settled!” repeated the other, as she ran into her room to prepare. “And are they upon such terms as for her to disclose the real truth! Oh, that I knew how it was!”
But wishes were vain; or at best could serve only to amuse her in the hurry and confusion of the following hour. Had Elizabeth been at leisure to be idle, she would have remained certain that all employment was impossible to one so wretched as herself; but she had her share of business as well as her aunt, and amongst the rest there were notes to be written to all their friends in Lambton, with false excuses for their sudden departure. An hour, however, saw the whole completed; and Mr. Gardiner meanwhile having settled his account at the inn, nothing remained to be done but to go; and Elizabeth, after all the misery of the morning, found herself, in a shorter space of time than she could have supposed, seated in the carriage, and on the road to Longbourn.

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  •     第 45 章

    伊莉莎白现在认为,彬格莱小姐所以一向厌恶她,原因不外乎和她吃醋。她既然有了这种想法,便不禁觉得这次到彭伯里去,彬格莱小姐一定不会欢迎她;尽管如此,她倒想看看这一次旧雨重逢,那位小姐是否会多少顾全一些大体。

  • 第 44 章

    伊莉莎白料定达西先生的妹妹一到彭伯里,达西先生隔天就会带着她来拜访她,因此决定那天整个上午都不离开旅馆,至多在附近走走。

  • 第 43 章 (下)

    他们只相隔二十码路光景,他这样突然出现,叫人家简直来不及躲避。顷刻之间,四只眼睛碰在一起,两个人脸上都涨得血红。只见主人吃惊非凡,竟楞在那儿一动不动,但是他立刻定了一定心,走到他们面前来,跟伊莉莎白说话,语气之间即使不能算是十分镇静,至少十分有礼貌。

  • 第 43 章 (上)

    他们坐着车子一直向前去。彭伯里的树林一出现在眼前,伊莉莎白就有些心慌;等到走进了庄园,她更加心神不定。

  •   第 42 章

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  •    第 41 章

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  • 第 40 章

    伊莉莎白非把那桩事告诉吉英不可了,再也忍耐不住了。于是她决定把牵涉到姐姐的地方,都一概不提,第二天上午就把达西先生跟她求婚的那一幕,拣主要情节说了出来,她料定吉英听了以后,一定会感到诧异。

  •  第 39 章

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  • 【大纪元3月6日报导】(中央社记者颜伶如旧金山五日专电)奥斯卡最佳电影配乐今晚由“断背山”赢得,击败了“傲慢与偏见”、“艺伎回忆录”等片。“断背山”这次入围奥斯卡八个奖项。
  •   第 38 章

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