Read & Download Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ebook, txt

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Category: Public Domain Books>>Read & Download Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ebook, txt

Title: Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Chapter 1

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

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighborhood, this truth is so well
fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered
the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you
heard that Netherfield 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
she told me all about it.”

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

“Do you not 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 taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of
England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to
see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed
with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession
before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in 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; four or 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! You must 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 as soon as he comes.”

“I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you
may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still
better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley
may like you the best of the party.”

“My dear, you flatter me. I certainly _have_ had my share of
beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now.
When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give
over thinking of her own beauty.”

“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 into the neighbourhood.”

“It is more than I engage for, I assure you.”

“But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment
it would be 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 visit him if you do not.”

“You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will
be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to
assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he
chooses of the girls; though I 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 the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as
Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always
giving _her_ the preference.”

“They have none of them much to recommend them,” replied he;
“they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy
has something more of quickness than her sisters.”

“Mr. Bennet, how _can_ you abuse your own children in such a
way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion
for my poor nerves.”

“You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your
nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention
them with consideration these last 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 four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood.”

“It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since
you will not visit them.”

“Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will
visit them all.”

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

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