Pride and prejudice, p.1
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Pride and Prejudice


  Transcriber's note:

  Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

  A carat character is used to denote superscription. Multiple superscripted characters are enclosed by curly brackets (example: M^{rs}).

  PRIDE AND PREJUDICE:

  A Novel.

  In Three Volumes.

  By the Author of "Sense and Sensibility."

  VOL. I.

  London:Printed for T. Egerton,Military Library, Whitehall.1813.

  Morning Dress.

  _Invented by M^{rs} Bell 26 Charlotte Street Bedford Square._

  _Engraved for No. 72 of La Belle Assemblee 1^{st} July 1815_]

  PRIDE & PREJUDICE.

  CHAPTER I.

  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possessionof a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

  However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on hisfirst entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the mindsof the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightfulproperty of some one or other of their daughters.

  "My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard thatNetherfield Park is let at last?"

  Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

  "But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and shetold me all about it."

  Mr. Bennet made no answer.

  "Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

  "_You_ want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

  This was invitation enough.

  "Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is takenby a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he camedown on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so muchdelighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he isto take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to bein the house by the end of next week."

  "What is his name?"

  "Bingley."

  "Is he married or single?"

  "Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; fouror five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

  "How so? how can it affect them?"

  "My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! Youmust know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."

  "Is that his design in settling here?"

  "Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he_may_ fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him assoon as he comes."

  "I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may sendthem by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you areas handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of theparty."

  "My dear, you flatter me. I certainly _have_ had my share of beauty, butI do not pretend to be any thing extraordinary now. When a woman hasfive grown up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her ownbeauty."

  "In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."

  "But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes intothe neighbourhood."

  "It is more than I engage for, I assure you."

  "But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it wouldbe for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go,merely on that account, for in general you know they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for _us_ to visithim, if you do not."

  "You are over scrupulous surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be veryglad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of myhearty consent to his marrying which ever he chuses of the girls; thoughI must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."

  "I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than theothers; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half sogood humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving _her_ thepreference."

  "They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they areall silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more ofquickness than her sisters."

  "Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You takedelight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."

  "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. Theyare my old friends. I have heard you mention them with considerationthese twenty years at least."

  "Ah! you do not know what I suffer."

  "But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of fourthousand a year come into the neighbourhood."

  "It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come since you will notvisit them."

  "Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit themall."

  Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour,reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years hadbeen insufficient to make his wife understand his character. _Her_ mindwas less difficult to develope. She was a woman of mean understanding,little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented shefancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get herdaughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

 
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