小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 经典英文小说 » Pride And prejudice傲慢与偏见 » Chapter 11
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 11

WHEN the ladies removed after dinner, Elizabeth ran up to her sister, and, seeing her well guarded from cold, attended her into the drawing-room; where she was welcomed by her two friends with many professions of pleasure; and Elizabeth had never seen them so agreeable as they were during the hour which passed before the gentlemen appeared. Their powers of conversation were considerable. They could describe an entertainment with accuracy, relate an anecdote with humour, and laugh at their acquaintance with spirit.
But when the gentlemen entered, Jane was no longer the first object. Miss Bingley's eyes were instantly turned towards Darcy, and she had something to say to him before he had advanced many steps. He addressed himself directly to Miss Bennet, with a polite congratulation; Mr. Hurst also made her a slight bow, and said he was "very glad;" but diffuseness and warmth remained for Bingley's salutation. He was full of joy and attention. The first half hour was spent in piling up the fire, lest she should suffer from the change of room; and she removed at his desire to the other side of the fireplace, that she might be farther from the door. He then sat down by her, and talked scarcely to any one else. Elizabeth, at work in the opposite corner, saw it all with great delight.

When tea was over, Mr. Hurst reminded his sister-in-law of the card-table -- but in vain. She had obtained private intelligence that Mr. Darcy did not wish for cards; and Mr. Hurst soon found even his open petition rejected. She assured him that no one intended to play, and the silence of the whole party on the subject seemed to justify her. Mr. Hurst had therefore nothing to do but to stretch himself on one of the sophas and go to sleep. Darcy took up a book; Miss Bingley did the same; and Mrs. Hurst, principally occupied in playing with her bracelets and rings, joined now and then in her brother's conversation with Miss Bennet.

Miss Bingley's attention was quite as much engaged in watching Mr. Darcy's progress through his book, as in reading her own; and she was perpetually either making some inquiry, or looking at his page. She could not win him, however, to any conversation; he merely answered her question, and read on. At length, quite exhausted by the attempt to be amused with her own book, which she had only chosen because it was the second volume of his, she gave a great yawn and said, "How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."

No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement; when, hearing her brother mentioning a ball to Miss Bennet, she turned suddenly towards him and said,

"By the bye, Charles, are you really serious in meditating a dance at Netherfield? -- I would advise you, before you determine on it, to consult the wishes of the present party; I am much mistaken if there are not some among us to whom a ball would be rather a punishment than a pleasure."

"If you mean Darcy," cried her brother, "he may go to bed, if he chuses, before it begins -- but as for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough I shall send round my cards."

"I should like balls infinitely better," she replied, "if they were carried on in a different manner; but there is something insufferably tedious in the usual process of such a meeting. It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing made the order of the day."

"Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say, but it would not be near so much like a ball."

Miss Bingley made no answer; and soon afterwards got up and walked about the room. Her figure was elegant, and she walked well; -- but Darcy, at whom it was all aimed, was still inflexibly studious. In the desperation of her feelings she resolved on one effort more; and turning to Elizabeth, said,

"Miss Eliza Bennet, let me persuade you to follow my example, and take a turn about the room. -- I assure you it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude."

Elizabeth was surprised, but agreed to it immediately. Miss Bingley succeeded no less in the real object of her civility; Mr. Darcy looked up. He was as much awake to the novelty of attention in that quarter as Elizabeth herself could be, and unconsciously closed his book. He was directly invited to join their party, but he declined it, observing that he could imagine but two motives for their chusing to walk up and down the room together, with either of which motives his joining them would interfere. "What could he mean? she was dying to know what could be his meaning" -- and asked Elizabeth whether she could at all understand him?

"Not at all," was her answer; "but depend upon it, he means to be severe on us, and our surest way of disappointing him will be to ask nothing about it."

Miss Bingley, however, was incapable of disappointing Mr. Darcy in any thing, and persevered therefore in requiring an explanation of his two motives.

"I have not the smallest objection to explaining them," said he, as soon as she allowed him to speak. "You either chuse this method of passing the evening because you are in each other's confidence, and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; -- if the first, I should be completely in your way; -- and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire."

"Oh! shocking!" cried Miss Bingley. "I never heard any thing so abominable. How shall we punish him for such a speech?"

"Nothing so easy, if you have but the inclination," said Elizabeth. "We can all plague and punish one another. Teaze him -- laugh at him. -- Intimate as you are, you must know how it is to be done."

"But upon my honour I do not. I do assure you that my intimacy has not yet taught me that. Teaze calmness of temper and presence of mind! No, no -- I feel he may defy us there. And as to laughter, we will not expose ourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject. Mr. Darcy may hug himself."

"Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at!" cried Elizabeth. "That is an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope it will continue, for it would be a great loss to me to have many such acquaintance. I dearly love a laugh."

"Miss Bingley," said he, "has given me credit for more than can be. The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke."

"Certainly," replied Elizabeth -- "there are such people, but I hope I am not one of them. I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can. -- But these, I suppose, are precisely what you are without."

"Perhaps that is not possible for any one. But it has been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding to ridicule."

"Such as vanity and pride."

"Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride -- where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation."

Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile.

"Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume," said Miss Bingley; -- "and pray what is the result?"

"I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect. He owns it himself without disguise."

"No" -- said Darcy, "I have made no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. -- It is I believe too little yielding -- certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offences against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. -- My good opinion once lost is lost for ever."

"That is a failing indeed!" -- cried Elizabeth. "Implacable resentment is a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. -- I really cannot laugh at it; you are safe from me."

"There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome."

"And your defect is a propensity to hate every body."

"And yours," he replied with a smile, "is wilfully to misunderstand them."

"Do let us have a little music," -- cried Miss Bingley, tired of a conversation in which she had no share. -- "Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst."

Her sister made not the smallest objection, and the piano-forte was opened, and Darcy, after a few moments recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.
 

娘儿们吃过晚饭以后,伊丽莎白就上楼到她姐姐那儿去,看她穿戴得妥妥贴贴,不会着凉,便陪着她上客厅去。她的女朋友们见到她,都表示欢迎,一个个都说非常高兴。在男客们没有来的那一个钟头里,她们是那么和蔼可亲,伊丽莎白从来不曾看到过。她们的健谈本领真是吓人,描述起宴会来纤毫入微,说起故事来风趣横溢,讥笑起一个朋友来也是有声有色。

可是男客们一走进来,吉英就不怎么引人注目了。达西一进门,彬格莱小姐的眼睛就立刻转到他身上去,要跟他说话。达西首先向班纳特小姐问好,客客气气地祝贺她病休复元;赫斯脱先生也对她微微一鞠躬,说是见到她“非常高兴”;但是说到词气周到,情意恳切,可就比不上彬格莱先生那几声问候。彬格莱先生才算得上情深意切,满怀欢欣。开头半小时完全消磨在添煤上面,生怕屋子里冷起来会叫病人受不了。吉英依照彬格莱的话,移坐到火炉的另一边去,那样她就离开门口远一些,免得受凉。接着他自己在她身旁坐下,一心跟她说话,简直不理睬别人。伊丽莎白正在对面角落里做活计,把这全部情景都看在眼里,感到无限高兴。

喝过茶以后,赫斯脱先生提醒她的小姨子把牌桌摆好,可是没有用。她早就看出达西先生不想打牌,因此赫斯脱先生后来公开提出要打牌也被她拒绝了。她跟他说,谁也不想玩牌,只见全场对这件事都不作声,看来她的确没有说错。因此,赫斯脱先生无事可做,只得躺在沙发上打瞌睡。达西拿起一本书来。彬格莱小姐也拿起一本书来。赫斯脱太太聚精会神地在玩弄自己的手镯和指环,偶而也在她弟弟跟班纳特小姐的对话中插几句嘴。

彬格莱小姐一面看达西读书,一面自己读书,两件事同时并做,都是半心半意。她老是向他问句什么的,或者是看他读到哪一页。不过,她总是没有办法逗她说话;她问一句他就答一句,答过以后便继续读他的书。彬格莱小姐所以要挑选那一本书读,只不过因为那是达西所读的第二卷,她满想读个津津有味,不料这会儿倒读得精疲力尽了。她打了个呵欠,说道:“这样度过一个晚上,真是多么愉快啊!我说呀,什么娱乐也抵不上读书的乐趣。无论干什么事,都是一上手就要厌倦,读书却不会这样!将来有一天我自己有了家,要是没有个很好的书房,那会多遗憾哟。”

谁也没有理睬她。于是她又打了个呵欠,抛开书本,把整个房间里望了一转,要想找点儿什么东西消遗消遗,这时忽听得她哥哥跟班纳特小姐说要开一次跳舞会,她就猛可地掉过头来对他说:

“这样说,查尔斯,你真打算在尼日斐花园开一次跳舞会吗?我劝你最好还是先征求一下在场朋友们的意见再作决定吧。这里面就会有人觉得跳舞是受罪,而不是娱乐,要是没有这种人,你怪我好了。”

“如果你指的是达西,”她的哥哥大声说,“那么,他可以在跳舞开始以前就上床去睡觉,随他的便好啦。舞会已经决定了非开不可,只等尼可尔斯把一切都准备好了,我就下请贴。”

彬格莱小姐说:“要是开舞会能换些花样,那我就更高兴了,通常舞会上的那老一套,实在讨厌透顶。你如果能把那一天的日程改一改,用谈话来代替跳舞,那一定有意思得多。”

“也许有意思得多,珈罗琳,可是那还象什么舞会呢。”

彬格莱小姐没有回答。不大一会儿工夫,她就站起身来,在房间里踱来踱去,故意在达西面前卖弄她优美的体态和矫健的步伐,只可惜达西只顾在那里一心一意地看书,因此她只落得枉费心机。她绝望之余,决定再作一次努力,于是转过身来对伊丽莎白说:

“伊丽莎·班纳特小姐,我劝你还是学学我的样子,在房间里瞎走动走动吧。告诉你,坐了那么久,走动一下可以提提精神。”

伊丽莎白觉得很诧异,可是立刻依了她的意思。于是彬格莱小姐献殷勤的真正目的达到了──达西先生果然抬起头来,原来达西也和伊丽莎白一样,看出了她在耍花招引人注目,便不知不觉地放下了书本。两位小姐立刻请他来一块儿踱步,可是他谢绝了,说是她们俩所以要在屋子里踱来踱去,据他的想象,无非有两个动机,如果他参加她们一起散步,对于她们的任何一个动机都会有妨碍。他这话是什么意思?彬格莱小姐极想知道他讲这话用意何在,便问伊丽莎白懂不懂。

伊丽莎白回答道:“根本不懂,他一定是存心刁难我们,不过你最好不要理睬他,让他失望一下。”

可惜彬格莱小姐遇到任何事情都不忍心叫达西先生失望,于是再三要求他非把他的所谓两个动机解释一下不可。

达西等她一住口,便马上说:“我非常愿意解释一下,事情不外乎是这样的,你们是心腹之交,所以选择了这个办法来消磨黄昏,还要谈谈私事,否则就是你们自以为散起步来体态显得特别好看,所以要散散步。倘若是出于第一个动机,我夹在你们一起就会妨碍你们;假若是出于第二个动机,那么我坐在火炉旁边可以更好地欣赏你们。”

“噢,吓坏人!”彬格莱小姐叫起来了。“我从来没听到过这么毒辣的话。──亏他说得出,该怎么罚他呀?”

“要是你存心罚他,那是再容易不过的事,”伊丽莎白说。“彼此都可以罚来罚去,折磨来折磨去。作弄他一番吧──讥笑他一番吧。你们既然这么相熟,你该懂得怎么对付他呀。”

“天地良心,我不懂得。不瞒你说,我们虽然相熟,可是要懂得怎样来对付他,不差得远呢。想要对付这种性格冷静和头脑机灵的人,可不容易!不行,不行,我想我们是搞不过他的。至于讥笑他,说句你不生气的话,我们可不能凭空笑人家,弄得反而惹人笑话。让达西先生去自鸣得意吧。”

“原来达西先生是不能让人笑话的!”伊丽莎白嚷道。“这种优越的条件倒真少有,我希望一直不要多,这样的朋友多了,我的损失可大啦。我特别喜欢笑话。“

“彬格莱小姐过奖我啦。”他说。“要是一个人把开玩笑当作人生最重要的事,那么,最聪明最优秀的人───不,最聪明最优秀的行为───也就会变得可笑了。”

“那当然罗,”伊丽莎白回答道,“这样的人的确有,可是我希望我自己不在其内。我希望我怎么样也不会讥笑聪明的行为或者是良好的行为。愚蠢和无聊,荒唐和矛盾,这的确叫我觉得好笑,我自己也承认,我只要能够加以讥笑,总是加以讥笑。不过我觉得这些弱点正是你身上所没有的。”

“或许谁都还会有这些弱点,否则可真糟了,绝顶的聪慧也要招人嘲笑了。我一生都在研究该怎么样避免这些弱点。”

“例如虚荣和傲慢就是属于这一类弱点。”

“不错,虚荣的确是个弱点。可是傲慢──只要你果真聪明过人──你就会傲慢得比较有分寸。”

伊丽莎白掉过头去,免得人家看见她发笑。

“你考问达西先生考问好了吧,我想,”彬格莱小姐说。“请问结论如何?”

“我完全承认达西先生没有一些缺点。他自己也承认了这一点,并没有掩饰。”

“不,”达西说,“我并没有说过这种装场面的话。我有够多的毛病,不过这些毛病与头脑并没有关系。至于我的性格,我可不敢自夸。我认为我的性格太不能委曲求全,这当然是说我在处世方面太不能委曲求全地随和别人。别人的愚蠢和过错我本应该赶快忘掉,却偏偏忘不掉;人家得罪了我,我也忘不掉。说到我的一些情绪,也并不是我一打算把它们去除掉,它们就会烟消云散。我的脾气可以说是够叫人厌恶的。我对于某个人一旦没有了好感,就永远没有好感。”

“这倒的的确确是个大缺点!”伊丽莎白大声说道。“跟人家怨恨不解,的确是性格上的一个阴影可是你对于自己的缺点,已经挑剔得很严格。我的确不能再讥笑你了。你放心好啦。”

“我,相信一个人不管是怎样的脾气,都免不了有某种短处,这是一种天生的缺陷,即使受教育受得再好,也还是克服不了。”

“你有一种倾向,──对什么人都感到厌恶,这就是你的缺陷。”

“而你的缺陷呢,”达西笑着回答。“就是故意去误解别人。”

彬格莱小姐眼见这场谈话没有她的份,不禁有些厌倦,便大声说道:“让我们来听听音乐吧,露薏莎,你不怕我吵醒赫斯脱先生吗?”

她的姐姐毫不反对,于是钢琴便打开了。达西想了一下,觉得这样也不错。他开始感觉到对伊丽莎白似乎已经过分亲近了一些。



欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533

鲁ICP备05031204号