Pride and Prejudice  傲慢与偏见

After walking two or three times along that part of the lane, she wastempted, by the pleasantness of the morning, to stop at the gates and look into the park. The five weeks which she had now passed in Kent had made a great difference in the country, and every day was adding to the verdure of the early trees. She was on the point of continuing her walk, when she caught a glimpse of a gentleman within the sort of grove which edged the park; he was moving that way; and fearful of its being Mr. Darcy, she was directly retreating. But the person who advanced was now near enough to see her, and stepping forward with eagerness, pronounced her name. She had turned away, but on hearing herself called, though in a voice which proved it to be Mr. Darcy, she moved again towards the gate. He had by that time reached it also, and holding out a letter, which she instinctively took, said with a look of haughty composure, "I have been walking in the grove some time in the hope of meeting you. Will you do me the honour of reading that letter?" -- And then, with a slight bow, turned again into the plantation, and was soon out of sight.


With no expectation of pleasure, but with the strongest curiosity, Elizabeth opened the letter, and, to her still increasing wonder, perceived an envelope containing two sheets of letter paper, written quite through, in a very close hand. -- The envelope itself was likewise full. -- Pursuing her way along the lane, she then began it. It was dated from Rosings, at eight o'clock in the morning, and was as follows: --


"Be not alarmed, Madam, on receiving this letter, by the apprehension of its containing any repetition of those sentiments, or renewal of those offers, which were last night so disgusting to you. I write without any intention of paining you, or humbling myself, by dwelling on wishes, which, for the happiness of both, cannot be too soon forgotten; and the effort which the formation and the perusal of this letter must occasion should have been spared, had not my character required it to be written and read. You must, therefore, pardon the freedom with which I demand your attention; your feelings, I know, will bestow it unwillingly, but I demand it of your justice.


Two offences of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my charge. The first mentioned was, that, regardless of the sentiments of either, I had detached Mr. Bingley from your sister; -- and the other, that I had, in defiance of various claims, in defiance of honour and humanity, ruined the immediate prosperity, and blasted the prospects of Mr. Wickham. -- Wilfully and wantonly to have thrown off the companion of my youth, the acknowledged favourite of my father, a young man who had scarcely any other dependence than on our patronage, and who had been brought up to expect its exertion, would be a depravity to which the separation of two young persons, whose affection could be the growth of only a few weeks, could bear no comparison. -- But from the severity of that blame which was last night so liberally bestowed, respecting each circumstance, I shall hope to be in future secured, when the following account of my actions and their motives has been read. -- If, in the explanation of them which is due to myself, I am under the necessity of relating feelings which may be offensive to your's, I can only say that I am sorry. -- The necessity must be obeyed -- and farther apology would be absurd. --

你昨夜曾把两件性质不同、轻重不等的罪名加在我头上。你第一件指责我折散了彬格莱先生和令姐的好事,完全不顾他们俩之间如何情深意切,你第二件指责我不顾 体面,丧尽人道,蔑视别人的权益,毁坏了韦翰先生那指日可期的富贵,又破来了他美好的前途。我竟无情无义,抛弃了自己小时候的朋友,一致公认的先父生前的 宠幸,一个无依无靠的青年,从小起就指望我们施恩──这方面的确是我的一种遗憾;至于那一对青年男女,他们不过只有几星期的交情,就算我拆散了他们,也不 能同这件罪过相提并论。现在请允许我把我自己的行为和动机一一剖白一下,希望你弄明白了其中的原委以后,将来可以不再象昨天晚上那样对我严词苛责。在解释 这些必要的事情时,如果我迫不得已,要述述我自己的情绪,因而使你情绪不快,我只得向你表示歉意。既是出于迫不得已,那么再道歉未免就嫌可笑了。

I had not been long in Hertfordshire, before I saw, in common with others, that Bingley preferred your eldest sister to any other young woman in the country. -- But it was not till the evening of the dance at Netherfield that I had any apprehension of his feeling a serious attachment. -- I had often seen him in love before. -- At that ball, while I had the honour of dancing with you, I was first made acquainted, by Sir William Lucas's accidental information, that Bingley's attentions to your sister had given rise to a general expectation of their marriage. He spoke of it as a certain event, of which the time alone could be undecided. From that moment I observed my friend's behaviour attentively; and I could then perceive that his partiality for Miss Bennet was beyond what I had ever witnessed in him. Your sister I also watched. -- Her look and manners were open, cheerful, and engaging as ever, but without any symptom of peculiar regard, and I remained convinced from the evening's scrutiny, that though she received his attentions with pleasure, she did not invite them by any participation of sentiment. -- If you have not been mistaken here, I must have been in an error. Your superior knowledge of your sister must make the latter probable. -- If it be so, if I have been misled by such error, to inflict pain on her, your resentment has not been unreasonable. But I shall not scruple to assert that the serenity of your sister's countenance and air was such as might have given the most acute observer a conviction that, however amiable her temper, her heart was not likely to be easily touched. -- That I was desirous of believing her indifferent is certain, -- but I will venture to say that my investigations and decisions are not usually influenced by my hopes or fears. -- I did not believe her to be indifferent because I wished it;

我到哈福德郡不久,就和别人一样,看出了彬格莱先生在当地所有的少女中偏偏看中了令姐。但是一直等到在尼日斐花园开跳舞会的那个晚上,我才顾虑到他当真对 令姐有了爱恋之意。说到他的恋爱方面,我以前也看得很多。在那次跳舞会上,当我很荣幸地跟你跳舞时,我才听到威廉·卢卡斯偶然说起彬格莱先生对令姐的殷勤 已经弄得满城风雨,大家都以为他们就要谈到嫁娶问题。听他说起来,好象事情已经千稳万妥,只是迟早问题罢了。从那时起,我就密切注意着我朋友的行为,于是 我看出了他对班纳特小姐的钟情,果然和他往常的恋爱情形大不相同。我也注意着令姐。她的神色和风度依旧象平常那样落落大方,和蔼可亲,并没有钟情于任何人 的迹象。根据我那一晚上仔细观察的情形看来,我确实认为她虽然乐意接受他的殷勤,可是她并没有用深情密意来报答他。要是这件事你没有弄错,那么错处一定在 我;你对于令姐既有透辟的了解,那么当然可能是我错了。倘若事实果真如此,倘若果真是我弄错了,造成令姐的痛苦,那当然难怪你气愤。可是我可以毫不犹豫地 说,令姐当初的风度极其洒脱,即使观察力最敏锐的人,也难免以为她尽管性情柔和,可是她的心不容易打动。我当初确实希望她无动于中,可是我敢说,我虽然主观上有我的希望,有我的顾虑,可是我的观察和我的推断并不会受到主观上的影响。我认为,令姐决不会因为我希望她无动于中,她就当真无动于中;

-- I believed it on impartial conviction, as truly as I wished it in reason. -- My objections to the marriage were not merely those which I last night acknowledged to have required the utmost force of passion to put aside in my own case; the want of connection could not be so great an evil to my friend as to me. -- But there were other causes of repugnance; -- causes which, though still existing, and existing to an equal degree in both instances, I had myself endeavoured to forget, because they were not immediately before me. -- These causes must be stated, though briefly. -- The situation of your mother's family, though objectionable, was nothing in comparison of that total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly, betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father. -- Pardon me. -- It pains me to offend you. But amidst your concern for the defects of your nearest relations, and your displeasure at this representation of them, let it give you consolation to consider that to have conducted yourselves so as to avoid any share of the like censure is praise no less generally bestowed on you and your eldest sister, than it is honourable to the sense and disposition of both. -- I will only say farther that, from what passed that evening, my opinion of all parties was confirmed, and every inducement heightened, which could have led me before to preserve my friend from what I esteemed a most unhappy connection. -- He left Netherfield for London, on the day following, as you, I am certain, remember, with the design of soon returning. --


The part which I acted is now to be explained. -- His sisters' uneasiness had been equally excited with my own; our coincidence of feeling was soon discovered; and, alike sensible that no time was to be lost in detaching their brother, we shortly resolved on joining him directly in London. -- We accordingly went -- and there I readily engaged in the office of pointing out to my friend, the certain evils of such a choice. -- I described, and enforced them earnestly. -- But, however this remonstrance might have staggered or delayed his determination, I do not suppose that it would ultimately have prevented the marriage, had it not been seconded by the assurance, which I hesitated not in giving, of your sister's indifference. He had before believed her to return his affection with sincere, if not with equal, regard. -- But Bingley has great natural modesty, with a stronger dependence on my judgment than on his own. -- To convince him, therefore, that he had deceived himself, was no very difficult point. To persuade him against returning into Hertfordshire, when that conviction had been given, was scarcely the work of a moment. -- I cannot blame myself for having done thus much. There is but one part of my conduct in the whole affair, on which I do not reflect with satisfaction; it is that I condescended to adopt the measures of art so far as to conceal from him your sister's being in town. I knew it myself, as it was known to Miss Bingley, but her brother is even yet ignorant of it. -- That they might have met without ill consequence is, perhaps, probable; -- but his regard did not appear to me enough extinguished for him to see her without some danger. -- Perhaps this concealment, this disguise, was beneath me. -- It is done, however, and it was done for the best. -- On this subject I have nothing more to say, no other apology to offer. If I have wounded your sister's feelings, it was unknowingly done; and though the motives which governed me may to you very naturally appear insufficient, I have not yet learnt to condemn them. --


With respect to that other, more weighty accusation, of having injured Mr. Wickham, I can only refute it by laying before you the whole of his connection with my family. Of what he has particularly accused me, I am ignorant; but of the truth of what I shall relate, I can summon more than one witness of undoubted veracity. Mr. Wickham is the son of a very respectable man, who had for many years the management of all the Pemberley estates; and whose good conduct in the discharge of his trust naturally inclined my father to be of service to him; and on George Wickham, who was his god-son, his kindness was therefore liberally bestowed. My father supported him at school, and afterwards at Cambridge; -- most important assistance, as his own father, always poor from the extravagance of his wife, would have been unable to give him a gentleman's education. My father was not only fond of this young man's society, whose manners were always engaging; he had also the highest opinion of him, and hoping the church would be his profession, intended to provide for him in it. As for myself, it is many, many years since I first began to think of him in a very different manner.

现在再谈另一件更重的罪名:毁损了韦翰先生的前途。关于这件事,我唯一的驳斥办法,只有把他和我家的关系全部说给你听,请你评判一下其中的是非曲直。我不 知道他特别指责我的是哪一点;但是我要在这里陈述的事实真相,可以找出不少信誉卓著的人出来做见证。韦翰先生是个值得尊敬的人的儿子。他父亲在彭伯里管了 好几年产业,极其尽职,这自然使得先父愿意帮他的忙;因此先父对他这个教子乔治·韦翰恩宠有加。先父供给他上学,后来还供给他进剑桥大学──这是对他最重 要的一项帮助,因为他自己的父亲被他母亲吃光用穷,无力供给他受高等教育。先父不仅因为这位年轻人风采翩翩而喜欢和他来往,而且非常器重他,希望他从事教 会职业,并且一心要替他安插一个位置。至于说到我自己所以对他印象转坏,那已经是好多好多年的事了。

The vicious propensities -- the want of principle, which he was careful to guard from the knowledge of his best friend, could not escape the observation of a young man of nearly the same age with himself, and who had opportunities of seeing him in unguarded moments, which Mr. Darcy could not have. Here again I shall give you pain -- to what degree you only can tell. But whatever may be the sentiments which Mr. Wickham has created, a suspicion of their nature shall not prevent me from unfolding his real character. It adds even another motive. My excellent father died about five years ago; and his attachment to Mr. Wickham was to the last so steady, that in his will he particularly recommended it to me to promote his advancement in the best manner that his profession might allow, and, if he took orders, desired that a valuable family living might be his as soon as it became vacant. There was also a legacy of one thousand pounds. His own father did not long survive mine, and within half a year from these events Mr. Wickham wrote to inform me that, having finally resolved against taking orders, he hoped I should not think it unreasonable for him to expect some more immediate pecuniary advantage, in lieu of the preferment by which he could not be benefited. He had some intention, he added, of studying the law, and I must be aware that the interest of one thousand pounds would be a very insufficient support therein. I rather wished than believed him to be sincere; but, at any rate, was perfectly ready to accede to his proposal. I knew that Mr. Wickham ought not to be a clergyman. The business was therefore soon settled. He resigned all claim to assistance in the church, were it possible that he could ever be in a situation to receive it, and accepted in return three thousand pounds. All connection between us seemed now dissolved. I thought too ill of him to invite him to Pemberley, or admit his society in town. In town, I believe, he chiefly lived, but his studying the law was a mere pretence, and being now free from all restraint, his life was a life of idleness and dissipation.

他为人放荡不羁,恶习重重,他虽然十分小心地把这些恶习遮掩起来,不让他最好的朋友觉察,可是究竟逃不过一个和他年龄相仿佛的青年人的眼睛,他一个不提防 就给我瞧见了漏洞,机会多的是──当然老达西先生决不会有这种机会。这里我不免又要引起你的痛苦了,痛苦到什么地步,只有你自己知道。不论韦翰先生已经引 起了你何等样的感情,我却要怀疑到这些感情的本质,因而我也就不得不对你说明他真正的品格。这里面甚至还难免别有用心。德高望重的先父大约去世于五年前, 他宠爱韦翰先生始终如一,连遗嘱上也特别向我提到他,要我斟酌他的职业情况,极力提拔他,要是他受了圣职,俸禄优厚的位置一有空缺,就让他替补上去。另外 还给了他一千磅遗产。他自己的父亲不久也去世了;这几桩大事发生以后,不出半年工夫,韦翰先生就写信跟我说,他已最后下定决心,不愿意去受圣职;他既然不 能获得那个职位的俸禄,便希望我给他一些直接的经济利益,不要以为他这个要求不合理。他又说,他倒有意学法律,他叫我应该明白,要他靠一千磅的利息去学法 律,当然非常不够。我与其说,相信他这些话靠得住,不如说,我但愿他这些话靠得住。不过,我无论如何还是愿意答应他的要求。我知道韦翰先生不适宜当牧师。 因此这件事立刻就谈妥条件,获得解决:我们拿出三千磅给他,他不再要求我们帮助他获得圣职,算是自动放弃权利,即使将来他有资格担任圣职,也不再提出请 求。从此我和他之间的一切关系,便好象一刀两断。我非常看不起他,不再请他到彭伯里来玩,在城里也不和他来往。我相信他大半都住在城里,但是他所谓学法 律,只不过是一个借口罢了,现在他既然摆脱了一切羁绊,便整天过着浪荡挥霍的生活。

For about three years I heard little of him; but on the decease of the incumbent of the living which had been designed for him, he applied to me again by letter for the presentation. His circumstances, he assured me, and I had no difficulty in believing it, were exceedingly bad. He had found the law a most unprofitable study, and was now absolutely resolved on beingordained, if I would present him to the living in question -- of which he trusted there could be little doubt, as he was well assured that I had no other person to provide for, and I could not have forgotten my revered father's intentions. You will hardly blame me for refusing to comply with this entreaty, or for resisting every repetition of it. His resentment was in proportion to the distress of his circumstances -- and he was doubtless as violent in his abuse of me to others, as in his reproaches to myself. After this period, every appearance of acquaintance was dropt. How he lived I know not. But last summer he was again most painfully obtruded on my notice.

我大约接连三年简直听不到他的消息,可是后来有个牧师逝世了,这份俸禄本来是可以由他接替的,于是他又写信给我,要我荐举他。他说他境遇窘得不能再窘,这 一点我当然不难相信。他又说研究法律毫无出息,现在已下决心当牧师,只要我肯荐举他去接替这个位置就行了。他自以为我一定会推荐他,因为他看准我没有别人 可以补缺,况且我也不能疏忽先父生前应承他的一片好意。我没有答应他的要求,他再三请求,我依然拒绝,这你总不见得会责备我吧。他的境遇愈困苦,怨愤就愈 深。毫无问题,他无论在我背后骂我,当面骂我,都是一样狠毒。从这个时期以后,连一点点面子账的交情都完结了。我不知道他是怎样生活的,可是说来痛心之 至,去年夏天他又引起了我的注意。

I must now mention a circumstance which I would wish to forget myself, and which no obligation less than the present should induce me to unfold to any human being. Having said thus much, I feel no doubt of your secrecy. My sister, who is more than ten years my junior, was left to the guardianship of my mother's nephew, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and myself. About a year ago, she was taken from school, and an establishment formed for her in London; and last summer she went with the lady who presided over it, to Ramsgate; and thither also went Mr. Wickham, undoubtedly by design; for there proved to have been a prior acquaintance between him and Mrs. Younge, in whose character we were most unhappilydeceived; and by her connivance and aid he so far recommended himself to Georgiana, whose affectionate heart retained a strong impression of his kindness to her as a child, that she was persuaded to believe herself in love, and to consent to an elopement. She was then but fifteen, which must be her excuse; and after stating her imprudence, I am happy to add that I owed the knowledge of it to herself. I joined them unexpectedly a day or two before the intended elopement; and then Georgiana, unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, acknowledged the whole to me. You may imagine what I felt and how I acted. Regard for my sister's credit and feelings prevented any public exposure, but I wrote to Mr. Wickham, who left the place immediately, and Mrs. Younge was of course removed from her charge. Mr. Wickham's chief object was unquestionably my sister's fortune, which is thirty thousand pounds; but I cannot help supposing that the hope of revenging himself on me was a strong inducement. His revenge would have been complete indeed.


This, madam, is a faithful narrative of every event in which we have been concerned together; and if you do not absolutely reject it as false, you will, I hope, acquit me henceforth of cruelty towards Mr. Wickham. I know not in what manner, under what form of falsehood, he has imposed on you; but his success is not, perhaps, to be wondered at. Ignorant as you previously were of every thing concerning either, detection could not be in your power, and suspicion certainly not in your inclination. You may possibly wonder why all this was not told you last night. But I was not then master enough of myself to know what could or ought to be revealed. For the truth of every thing here related, I can appeal more particularly to the testimony of Colonel Fitzwilliam, who from our near relationship and constant intimacy, and still more as one of the executors of my father's will, has been unavoidably acquainted with every particular of these transactions. If your abhorrence of me should make my assertions valueless, you cannot be prevented by the same cause from confiding in my cousin; and that there may be the possibility of consulting him, I shall endeavour to find some opportunity of putting this letter in your hands in the course of the morning. I will only add, God bless you.