The ladies of Longbourn soon visited those of Netherfield. The visit was soon returned as customary. Miss Jane Bennet's kindness and good ways grew on Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley's good side. Though the Bennet mother was found to be intolerable, and the younger sisters not worth speaking to, a wish of being better acquainted with them was expressed to the two eldest sisters. By Jane, this attention was received with the greatest pleasure; but Elizabeth still saw their feeling of superiority in their treatment of everybody, even her sister, and she could not like them.
The kindness expressed to Jane had such value because it was probably due to the influence of the bother's admiration of her. It was generally evident that whenever they met that he did admire her, and to Elizabeth, it was equally evident that she was falling deeper into the feelings that she had had from the beginning, but Lizzie considered it with pleasure that it was unlikely to be obvious enough for anyone to figure out. Jane united very strong feelings, the composure of calmness, and a uniform cheerfulness of manner which would guard her from the suspicions of any inappropriateness. She mentioned this to her friend Miss Lucas.
"It may perhaps be fortunate," replied Charlotte "to give the public such an impression, but it can sometimes be disadvantageous to be so guarded if a woman hides her affection from the one she is affectionate towards as well, she may lose the opportunity of getting him, then it wouldn't be much consolation that the world is unknowing of her feelings. There is so much gratitude or vanity in almost any relationship, that it's not safe just to leave it on its own, it all starts well, a slight preference is natural enough, but there are very few of us who have to heart to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a woman ought to show more affection than she feels. Bingley undoubtedly likes your sister, but he may never do more than like her if she doesn't help him on."
"But she does help him on, as much as her personality lets her. If I can sense her regard for him, and he can't, he must be a great simpleton indeed not to see it."
"Remember Eliza, he does not know her or her mannerisms as well as you do."
"But if a woman likes a man, and doesn't try to hide it, he must find out."
"Perhaps he will, if he sees enough of her. But, though he and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never for very long; and, as they only ever see each other in large parties, it is impossible for every moment to be spent conversing with each other. Jane should, therefore, make the most of every half an hour that she has his attention. Once she's got him, there will be time for falling in love as much as she likes."
"Your plan is a good one," replied Elizabeth, "When the only goal is getting a profitable marriage, if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband at that, I'm sure I'd use this plan. But these are not Jane's feelings. She isn't acting on a plan, right now she can't even tell how much she likes him or how reasonable her attachment is. She has known him only two weeks, she danced four dances with him at Meryton; she visited him one morning at his house, and she has dined with him in groups four times. This is not enough time to make her understand his character."
"Not when you say it like that, had she only dined with him all she would have discovered is his appetite, but you must remember that they've spent four evenings together, and four evenings might do a great deal.
"Yes, these four evenings have enabled them to find that they both prefer one card game over the other, but regarding any other major characteristics, I don't think much as been discovered."
"Well," said Charlotte, "I wish Jane success with all my heart, and if she married him tomorrow, I think she would have as much a chance of happiness as if she spent a year getting to know him. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the manners of both are very well known to the other or very similar beforehand, it doesn't advance their happiness in the least. They always continue to grow enough unlike afterwards to aggravate both. It is best to know as little as possible about the faults of the person whom you are to marry."
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A Simplified Pride and PrejudiceHistorical Fiction
This is for those who wish to read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but find the old English it is written in to be too confusing and difficult to understand. This book contains the same story as a regular Pride and Prejudice book, but is 'transla...