Jane Austen's classic dissection of early 19th century manners, "Pride and Prejudice," introduces us to Elizabeth Bennett, a heroine even modern readers will sympathize with and root for (etext found
He then handed her in, Maria followed, and the door was on the point of being closed, when he suddenly reminded them, with some
consternation, that they had hitherto forgotten to leave any message for the ladies at Rosings.
To this Mary very gravely replied, "Far be it from me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures. They would doubtless be
congenial with the generality of female minds. But I confess they would have no charms for me--I should infinitely prefer a book."
open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead
Elizabeth saw directly that her father had not the smallest intention of yielding; but his answers were at the same time so vague and
equivocal, that her mother, though often disheartened, had never yet despaired of succeeding at last.
determined by chance or impulse or whim rather than by necessity or reason
"But perhaps he may be a little
whimsical in his civilities," replied her uncle. "Your great men often are; and therefore I shall not take him at his word about fishing, as he might change his mind another day, and warn me off his grounds."
the act of vindicating or defending against criticism or censure etc.
Elizabeth here felt herself called on to say something in
vindication of his behaviour to Wickham; and therefore gave them to understand, in as guarded a manner as she could, that by what she had heard from his relations in Kent, his actions were capable of a very different construction; and that his character was by no means so faulty, nor Wickham's so amiable, as they had been considered in Hertfordshire.
In confirmation of this she related the particulars of all the
pecuniary transactions in which they had been connected, without actually naming her authority, but stating it to be such as might be relied on.
On this point she was soon satisfied; and two or three little circumstances occurred ere they parted, which, in her anxious interpretation, denoted a recollection of Jane not untinctured by tenderness, and a wish of saying more that might lead to the mention of her, had he dared.
a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others
It was not often that she could turn her eyes on Mr. Darcy himself; but, whenever she did catch a glimpse, she saw an expression of general
complaisance, and in all that he said she heard an accent so far removed from hauteur or disdain of his companions, as convinced her that the improvement of manners which she had yesterday witnessed, however temporary its existence might prove, had at least outlived one day.
It was gratitude--gratitude, not merely for having once loved her, but for loving her still well enough to forgive all the petulance and
acrimony of her manner in rejecting him, and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejection.
Her pale face and impetuous manner made him start, and before he could recover himself enough to speak, she, in whose mind every idea was
superseded by Lydia's situation, hastily exclaimed, "I beg your pardon, but I must leave you.
easing the severity of a pain or a disease without removing the cause
She could neither wonder nor condemn, but the belief of his self-conquest brought nothing consolatory to her bosom, afforded no
palliation of her distress. It was, on the contrary, exactly calculated to make her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain.
They travelled as
expeditiously as possible, and, sleeping one night on the road, reached Longbourn by dinner-time the next day. It was a comfort to Elizabeth to consider that Jane could not have been wearied by long expectations.
abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will
Mrs. Bennet, to whose apartment they all repaired, after a few minutes conversation together, received them exactly as might be expected: with tears and lamentations of regret,
invectives against the villainous conduct of Wickham, and complaints of her own sufferings and ill-usage; blaming everybody but the person to whose ill-judging indulgence the errors of her daughter must be principally owing.
Though her brother and sister were persuaded that there was no real occasion for such a seclusion from the family, they did not attempt to oppose it, for they knew that she had not prudence enough to hold her tongue before the servants while they waited at table, and judged it better that one only of the household, and the one whom they could most trust, should comprehend all her fears and
solicitude on the subject.
The whole party were in hopes of a letter from Mr. Bennet the next morning, but the post came in without bringing a single line from him. His family knew him to be, on all common occasions, a most negligent and
dilatory correspondent; but at such a time they had hoped for exertion.
the quality of exceeding the appropriate limits of decorum or probability or truth
Their other aunt also visited them frequently, and always, as she said, with the design of cheering and heartening them up--though, as she never came without reporting some fresh instance of Wickham's
extravagance or irregularity, she seldom went away without leaving them more dispirited than she found them.
It was possible, however, that some of his companions in the shire might be able to give more information; and, though she was not very
sanguine in expecting it, the application was something to look forward to.