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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)第二章
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MR. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley. He had always intended to visit him, though to the last always assuring his wife that he should not go; and till the evening after the visit was paid, she had no knowledge of it. It was then disclosed in the following manner. Observing his second daughter employed in trimming a hat, he suddenly addressed her with,
"I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy."

"We are not in a way to know what Mr. Bingley likes," said her mother resentfully, "since we are not to visit."

"But you forget, mama," said Elizabeth, "that we shall meet him at the assemblies, and that Mrs. Long has promised to introduce him."

"I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. She has two nieces of her own. She is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion of her."

"No more have I," said Mr. Bennet; "and I am glad to find that you do not depend on her serving you."

Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply; but unable to contain herself, began scolding one of her daughters.

"Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for heaven's sake! Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces."

"Kitty has no discretion in her coughs," said her father; "she times them ill."

"I do not cough for my own amusement," replied Kitty fretfully.

"When is your next ball to be, Lizzy?"

"To-morrow fortnight."

"Aye, so it is," cried her mother, "and Mrs. Long does not come back till the day before; so it will be impossible for her to introduce him, for she will not know him herself."

"Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your friend, and introduce Mr. Bingley to her."

"Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not acquainted with him myself; how can you be so teazing?"

"I honour your circumspection. A fortnight's acquaintance is certainly very little. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a fortnight. But if we do not venture, somebody else will; and after all, Mrs. Long and her nieces must stand their chance; and therefore, as she will think it an act of kindness, if you decline the office, I will take it on myself."

The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, "Nonsense, nonsense!"

"What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?" cried he. "Do you consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you there. What say you, Mary? for you are a young lady of deep reflection I know, and read great books, and make extracts."

Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.

"While Mary is adjusting her ideas," he continued, "let us return to Mr. Bingley."

"I am sick of Mr. Bingley," cried his wife.

"I am sorry to hear that; but why did not you tell me so before? If I had known as much this morning, I certainly would not have called on him. It is very unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now."

The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished; that of Mrs. Bennet perhaps surpassing the rest; though when the first tumult of joy was over, she began to declare that it was what she had expected all the while.

"How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I should persuade you at last. I was sure you loved our girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. Well, how pleased I am! and it is such a good joke, too, that you should have gone this morning, and never said a word about it till now."

"Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you chuse," said Mr. Bennet; and, as he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with the raptures of his wife.

"What an excellent father you have, girls," said she, when the door was shut. "I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness; or me either, for that matter. At our time of life, it is not so pleasant I can tell you, to be making new acquaintance every day; but for your sakes, we would do any thing. Lydia, my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball."

"Oh!" said Lydia stoutly, "I am not afraid; for though I am the youngest, I'm the tallest."

The rest of the evening was spent in conjecturing how soon he would return Mr. Bennet's visit, and determining when they should ask him to dinner.

班纳特先生尽管在自己太太面前自始至终都说是不想去拜访彬格莱先生,事实上一直都打算去拜访他,而且还是跟第一批人一起去拜访他的。等到他去拜访过以后,当天晚上太太才知道实情。这消息透露出来的经过是这样的--他看到第二个女儿在装饰帽子,就突然对她说:

“我希望彬格莱先生会喜欢你这顶帽子,丽萃。”

她母亲气愤愤地说:“我们既然不预备去看彬格莱先生,当然就无从知道他喜欢什么。”

“可是你忘啦,妈妈,”伊丽莎白说,“我们将来可以在跳舞会上碰到他的,郎格太太不是答应过把他介绍给我们吗?”

“我不相信郎格太太肯这么做。她自己有两个亲侄女。她是个自私自利、假仁假义的女人,我睢不起她。”

“我也瞧不起她,”班纳特先生说;“你倒不指望她来替你效劳,这叫我听到高兴。”

班纳特太太没有理睬他,可是忍不住气,便骂起女儿来。

“别那么咳个不停,吉蒂,看老天爷份上吧!稍许体谅一下我的神经吧。你简直叫我的神经要胀裂啦。”

“吉蒂真不知趣,”她的父亲说;“咳嗽也不知道拣个时候。”

“我又不是故意咳着玩儿。”吉蒂气恼地回答道。

“你们的跳舞会定在那一天开,丽萃?”

“从明天算起,还得再过两个星期。”

“唔,原来如此,”她的母亲嚷道,“郎格太太可要挨到开跳舞会的前一天才能赶回来;那么,她可来不及把他介绍给你们啦,她自己也还不认识他呢。”

“那么,好太太,你正可以占你朋友的上风,反过来替她介绍这位贵人啦。”

“办不到,我的好老爷,办不到,我自己还不认识他呢;你怎么可以这样嘲笑人?”

“我真佩服你想得这般周到。两个星期的认识当然谈不上什么。跟一个人相处了两个星期,不可能就此了解他究竟是怎样一个人。不过,要是我们不去尝试尝试,别人可少不了要尝试的。话说到底,郎格太太和她的侄女一定不肯错过这个良机。因此,要是你不愿意办这件事,我自己来办好了,反正她会觉得这是我们对她的一片好意。”

女儿们都对父亲瞪着眼。班纳特太太只随口说了声:“毫无意思!”

“你怎么这样大惊小怪!”他嚷道。“你以为替人家效点儿劳介绍是毫无意思的事吗?你这样的说法我可不大同意。你说呢,曼丽?我知道你是个有独到见解的少女,读的书都是皇皇巨著,而且还要做札记。”

曼丽想说几句有见识的话可又不知道怎么说才好。

于是班纳特先生接下去说:“让曼丽仔细想一想再发表意见吧,我们还是重新来谈谈彬格莱先生。”

“我就讨厌谈彬格莱先生,”他的太太嚷起来了。

“遗憾得很,你竟会跟我说这种话;你怎么不早说呢?要是今天上午听到你这样说,那我当然不会去拜访他啦。这真叫不凑巧。现在既然拜访也拜访过了,我们今后就少不了要结交这个朋友。“

果然不出他所料,娘儿们一听此说,一个个都大这惊异,尤其是班纳特太太,比谁都惊异得厉害;不过,这样欢天喜地地喧嚷了一阵以后,她便当众宣布,说这件事她早就料到的。

“你真是个好心肠的人,我的好老爷!我早就知道你终究会给我说服的。你既然疼爱自己的女儿,当然就不会把这样一个朋友不放在心上。我真太高兴了!你这个玩笑开得真太有意思,谁想到你竟会今天上午去拜访他,而且到现在一字不提。”

“吉蒂,现在你可以放心大胆地咳嗽啦,”班纳特先生一面说,一面走出房间,原来他看到太太那样得意忘形,不免觉得有些厌恶。门一关上,班纳特太太便对她的几个女儿说“孩子们,你们的爸爸真太好了,我不知道你们怎样才能报答他的恩典;再说,你们还应该好好报答我一番呢。老实跟你们说吧,我们老夫妻活到这么一把年纪了,哪儿有兴致天天去交朋结友;可是为了你们,我们随便什么事都乐意去做。丽迪雅,乖宝贝,虽然你年纪最小,开起跳舞会来,彬格莱先生或许就偏偏要跟你跳呢。”

“噢!”丽迪雅满不在乎地说。

“我才不当它一回事。年纪虽然是我最小,个儿算我顶高。”

于是她们一方面猜测那位贵人什么时候会来回拜班纳特先生,一方面盘算着什么时候请他来吃饭,就这样把一个晚上的工夫在闲谈中度过去了。


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