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· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第十章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第九章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第八章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第七章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第六章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第五章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第四章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第三章
· 傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第二章
傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第三章
作者:  点击次数:1852

NOT all that Mrs. Bennet, however, with the assistance of her five daughters, could ask on the subject was sufficient to draw from her husband any satisfactory description of Mr. Bingley. They attacked him in various ways; with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all; and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour Lady Lucas. Her report was highly favourable. Sir William had been delighted with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained.
"If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield," said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, "and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for."

In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, and sat about ten minutes with him in his library. He had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much; but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertaining, from an upper window, that he wore a blue coat and rode a black horse.

An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards dispatched; and already had Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that were to do credit to her housekeeping, when an answer arrived which deferred it all. Mr. Bingley was obliged to be in town the following day, and consequently unable to accept the honour of their invitation, &c. Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted. She could not imagine what business he could have in town so soon after his arrival in Hertfordshire; and she began to fear that he might be always flying about from one place to another, and never settled at Netherfield as he ought to be. Lady Lucas quieted her fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone to London only to get a large party for the ball; and a report soon followed that Mr. Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such a large number of ladies; but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing that, instead of twelve, he had brought only six with him from London, his five sisters and a cousin. And when the party entered the assembly room, it consisted of only five altogether; Mr. Bingley, his two sisters, the husband of the oldest, and another young man.

Mr. Bingley was good looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his friend! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he would never come there again. Amongst the most violent against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particular resentment by his having slighted one of her daughters.

Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her to overhear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes to press his friend to join it.

"Come, Darcy," said he, "I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."

"I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with."

"I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Bingley, "for a kingdom! Upon my honour I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life, as I have this evening; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly pretty."

"You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room," said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.

"Oh! she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you."

"Which do you mean?" and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me."

Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous.

The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter much admired by the Netherfield party. Mr. Bingley had danced with her twice, and she had been distinguished by his sisters. Jane was as much gratified by this as her mother could be, though in a quieter way. Elizabeth felt Jane's pleasure. Mary had heard herself mentioned to Miss Bingley as the most accomplished girl in the neighbourhood; and Catherine and Lydia had been fortunate enough to be never without partners, which was all that they had yet learnt to care for at a ball. They returned therefore, in good spirits to Longbourn, the village where they lived, and of which they were the principal inhabitants. They found Mr. Bennet still up. With a book, he was regardless of time; and on the present occasion he had a good deal of curiosity as to the event of an evening which had raised such splendid expectations. He had rather hoped that all his wife's views on the stranger would be disappointed; but he soon found that he had a very different story to hear.

"Oh! my dear Mr. Bennet," as she entered the room, "we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. I wish you had been there. Jane was so admired, nothing could be like it. Every body said how well she looked; and Mr. Bingley thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her twice. Only think of that my dear; he actually danced with her twice; and she was the only creature in the room that he asked a second time. First of all, he asked Miss Lucas. I was so vexed to see him stand up with her; but, however, he did not admire her at all: indeed, nobody can, you know; and he seemed quite struck with Jane as she was going down the dance. So, he enquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the two next. Then, the two third he danced with Miss King, and the two fourth with Maria Lucas, and the two fifth with Jane again, and the two sixth with Lizzy, and the Boulanger --"

"If he had had any compassion for me," cried her husband impatiently, "he would not have danced half so much! For God's sake, say no more of his partners. Oh! that he had sprained his ancle in the first dance!"

"Oh! my dear," continued Mrs. Bennet, "I am quite delighted with him. He is so excessively handsome! and his sisters are charming women. I never in my life saw any thing more elegant than their dresses. I dare say the lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown --"

Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested against any description of finery. She was therefore obliged to seek another branch of the subject, and related, with much bitterness of spirit and some exaggeration, the shocking rudeness of Mr. Darcy.

"But I can assure you," she added, "that Lizzy does not lose much by not suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your set downs. I quite detest the man."

尽管班纳特太太有了五个女儿帮腔,向她丈夫问起彬格莱先生这样那样,可是丈夫的回答总不能叫她满意。母女们想尽办法对付他--赤裸裸的问句,巧妙的设想,离题很远的猜测,什么办法都用到了;可是他并没有上她们的圈套。最后她们迫不得已,只得听取邻居卢卡斯太太的间接消息。她的报道全是好话。据说威廉爵士很喜欢他。他非常年轻,长得特别漂亮,为人又极其谦和,最重要的一点是,他打算请一大群客人来参加下次的舞会。这真是再好也没有的事;喜欢跳舞是谈情说爱的一个步骤;大家都热烈地希望去获得彬格莱先生的那颗心。

“我只要能看到一个女儿在尼日斐花园幸福地安了家,”班纳特太太对她的丈夫说,“看到其他几个也匹配得这样门当户对,此生就没有别的奢望了。”

不到几天功夫,彬格莱先生上门回拜班纳特先生,在他的书房里跟他盘桓了十分钟左右。他久仰班纳特先生几位小姐的年轻美貌,很希望能够见见她们;但是他只见到了她们的父亲。倒是小姐们比他幸运,他们利用楼上的窗口,看清了他穿的是蓝外套,骑的是一匹黑马。

班府上不久就发请贴请他吃饭;班纳特太太已经计划了好几道菜,每道菜都足以增加她的体面,说明她是个会当家的贤主妇,可是事不凑巧,彬格莱先生第二天非进城不可,他们这一番盛意叫他无法领情,因此回信给他们,说是要迟一迟再说。班纳特太太大为不安。她想,此人刚来到哈福德郡,怎么就要进城有事,于是她开始担心思了;照理他应该在尼日斐花园安安定定住下来,看现在的情形,莫不是他经常都得这样东漂西泊,行踪不定?亏得卢卡斯太太对她说,可能他是到伦敦去邀请那一大群客人来参加舞会,这才使她稍许减除了一些顾虑。外面马上就纷纷传说彬格莱先生并没有带来十二个女宾,仅仅只带来六个,其中五个是他自己的姐妹,一个是表姐妹,这个消息才使小姐们放了心。后来等到这群贵客走进舞场的时候,却一共只有五个人--彬格莱先生,他的两个姐妹,姐夫,还有另外一个青年。

彬格莱先生仪表堂堂,大有绅士风度,而且和颜悦色,没有拘泥做作的气习。他的姐妹也都是些优美的女性,态度落落大方。他的姐夫赫斯脱只不过像个普通绅士,不大引人注目,但是他的朋友达西却立刻引起全场的注意,因为他身材魁伟,眉清目秀,举止高贵,于是他进场不到五分钟,大家都纷纷传说他每年有一万磅的收入。男宾们都称赞他的一表人才,女宾们都说他比彬格莱先生漂亮得多。人们差不多有半个晚上都带着爱慕的目光看着他。最后人们才发现他为人骄傲,看不起人,巴结不上他,因此对他起了厌恶的感觉,他那众望所归的极盛一时的场面才黯然失色。他既然摆起那么一副讨人嫌惹人厌的面貌,那么,不管他在德比郡有多大的财产,也挽救不了他,况且和他的朋友比起来,他更没有什么大不了。

彬格莱先生很快就熟悉了全场所有的主要人物。他生气勃勃,为人又不拘泥,每一场舞都可以少不了要跳。使他气恼的是,舞会怎么散场得这样早。他又谈起他自己要在尼日斐花园开一次舞会。他这些可爱的地方自然会引起人家对他发生好感。他跟他的朋友是多么显著的对照啊!达西先生只跟赫斯脱太太跳了一次舞,跟彬格莱小姐跳了一次舞,此外就在室内踱来踱去,偶而找他自己人谈谈,人家要介绍他跟别的小姐跳舞,他怎么也不肯。大家都断定他是世界上最骄傲,最讨人厌的人,希望他不要再来。其中对他反感最厉害的是班纳特太太,她对他的整个举止都感到讨厌,而且这种讨厌竟变本加厉,形成了一种特殊的气愤,因为他得罪了他的一个女儿。

由于男宾少,伊丽莎白·班纳特有两场舞都不得不空坐。达西先生当时曾一度站在她的身旁,彬格莱先生特地歇了几分钟没有跳舞,走到他这位朋友跟前,硬要他去跳,两个人谈话给她听到了。

“来吧,达西,”彬格莱说,“我一定要你跳。我不愿看到你独个儿这么傻里傻气地站在这儿。还是去跳舞吧。”

“我绝对不跳。你知道我一向多么讨厌跳舞,除非跟特别熟的人跳。在这样的舞会上跳舞,简直叫人受不了。你的姐妹们都在跟别人跳,要是叫舞场里别的女人跟我跳,没有一个不叫我活受罪的。”

“我可不愿意象你那样挑肥拣瘦,”彬格莱嚷道,“随便怎么我也不愿意;不瞒你说,我生平没有见过今天晚上这么许多可爱的姑娘;你瞧,其中几位真是美貌绝伦。”

“你当然罗,舞场上唯一的一位漂亮姑娘在跟你跳舞!”达西先生说,一面望着班府上年纪最大的一位小姐。

“噢!我从来没有见过这么美丽的一个尤物!可是她的一个妹妹就坐在你后面,她也很漂亮,而且我敢说,她也很讨人爱。让我来请我的舞伴给你们介绍一下吧。”

“你说的是哪一位?”他转过身来,朝着伊丽莎白望了一会儿,等她也看见了他,他才收回自己的目光,冷冷的说:“她还可以,但还没有漂亮到打动我的心,眼前我可没有兴趣去抬举那些受到别人冷眼看待的小姐。你还是回到你的舞伴身边去欣赏她的笑脸吧,犯不着把时间浪费在我的身上。”

彬格莱先生依了达西先生的话走开以后,达西自己也走开了。伊丽莎白依旧坐在那里,对达西先生委实没有甚好感。不过她却满有兴致地把这段偷听到的话去讲给她的朋友听,因为她的个性活泼调皮,遇到任何可笑的事情都会感到兴趣。

班府上全家上这一个晚上大致都过得很高兴。大小姐蒙彬格莱先生邀她跳了两次舞,而且这位贵人的姐妹们都对她另眼相看。班太太看到尼日斐花园的一家人都这么喜爱她的大女儿,觉得非常得意。吉英跟她母亲一样得意,只不过没有象她母亲那样声张。伊丽莎白也为吉英快活。曼丽曾听到人们在彬格莱小姐面前提到她自己,说她是邻近一带最有才干的姑娘;咖苔琳和丽迪雅运气最好,没有那一场舞缺少舞伴,这是她们每逢开舞会时唯一关心的一件事。母女们高高兴兴地回到她们所住的浪搏恩村(她们算是这个村子里的旺族),看见班纳特先生还没有睡觉。且说这位先生平常只要捧上一本书,就忘了时间,可是这次他没有睡觉,却是因为他极想知道大家朝思暮想的这一盛会,经过情形究竟如何。他满以为他太太对那位贵客一定很失望,但是,他立刻就发觉事实并非如此。“噢!我的好老爷,”她一走进房间就这么说,“我们这一个晚上过得太快活了,舞会太好了。你没有去真可惜。吉英那么吃香,简直是无法形容。什么人都说她长得好;彬格莱先生认为她很美,跟她跳了两场舞!你光想想这一点看吧,亲爱的;他确实跟她跳了两场!全场那么多女宾,就只有她一个人蒙受了他两次邀请。他头一场舞是邀请卢卡斯小姐跳的。我看到他站到她身边去,不禁有些气恼!不过,他对她根本没意思,其实,什么人也不会对她有意思;当吉英走下舞池的时候,他可就显得非常着迷了。他立刻打听她的姓名,请人介绍,然后邀她跳下一场舞。他第三场舞是跟金小姐跳的,第四场跟玛丽雅·卢卡斯跳,第五场又跟吉英跳,第六场是跟丽萃跳,还有‘布朗谢’。”

“要是他稍许体谅我一点,”她的丈夫不耐烦地叫起来了,“他就不会跳这么多,一半也不会!天哪,不要提他那些舞伴了吧。噢!但愿他头一场舞就跳得脚踝扭了筋!”

“噢!亲爱的,”班纳特太太接下去说,“我非常喜欢他。他真太漂亮啦!他的姐妹们也都很讨人喜欢。我生平没有看见过任何东西比她们的衣饰更讲究。我敢说,赫斯脱太太衣服上的花边--”说到这里又给岔断了。

班纳特先生不愿意听人谈到衣饰。她因此不得不另找话题,于是就谈到达西先生那不可一世的傲慢无礼的态度,她的措辞辛辣刻薄,而又带几分夸张。

“不过我可以告诉你,”她补充道,“丽萃不中他的意,这对丽萃并没有什么可惜,因为他是个最讨厌、最可恶的人不值得去奉承他。那么高傲,那么自大,叫人不可容忍!他一会儿走到这里,一会儿走到那里,把自己看得那么了不起!还要嫌人家不够漂亮,配不上跟他跳舞呢!要是你在场的话,你就可以好好地教训他一顿。我厌恶透了那个人。”


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