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《傲慢與偏見》 06

感謝大耳朵網友 “念。芷惜”提供的聽力原文

傲慢與偏見 Pride and Prejudice 11

CHAPTER SIX

A Young Man Refused

Two days later Mr. Collins asked Elizabeth to be his wife. He was very orderly in his manner. One day, after breakfast, when he found Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth and Kitty together, he addressed the mother. "May I hope, madam, for your approval when I ask to privately speak with your fair daughter, Elizabeth?"

Elizabeth turned red with surprise, but before she could say anything, Mrs. Bennet was already leading Kitty to the door.

"Oh, dear!" said Mrs. Bennet. "I am sure Lizzy will be very happy to speak with you. Come, Kitty, I want you upstairs. "

She was hurrying away with Kitty when Elizabeth called out, "Dear mother, please do not go--I beg you to stay! Anything Mr. Collins has to say can be heard by you; he has no need to speak to me alone. I will leave with Kitty."

"No, no, don't be silly, Lizzy. You stay where you are. I insist that you listen to what Mr. Collins has to say."

After thinking for a moment, Elizabeth thought it would be wisest to get it over as quickly as quietly as possible. She sat down again on the sofa, took up her sewing, and Mr. Collins began.

"Believe me, my dear Miss Elizabeth, your lack of selfishness only adds to your other perfections. You can hardly doubt, I know, the reason why I want to speak to you. It's true my attentions toward you have been too strong to be mistaken. But before I talk about my feelings, perhaps it will be better for me to explain my reasons for wanting to marry you."

The idea that Mr. Collins was weak against his feelings made Elizabeth almost laugh. She was not able to stop him from speaking further.

"First, I think it is a good example for a man of the church to marry; secondly, I am convinced our marriage will add to my happiness; thirdly, a very noble lady whom I'm very grateful toward wishes me to marry."

"Your reasons, sir, are clever and well thought out," said Elizabeth hurriedly, "but I think you would be —"

Mr. Collins held up his hand. "No, no, please do not speak. I have not finished yet. I have another reason. Because I am going to get this property after the death of your father, I have decided to marry one of his daughters. This way, you and your sisters will not lose very much. This is my main reason. "

"Your reason, sir, is very kind and respectable, but--"

"Ah. I am glad that you approve of my ideas. Now I have only to convince you of how strong my feelings for you are. I repeat, dear cousin, the strength of my feelings for you."

It was absolutely necessary for Elizabeth to interrupt him, now.

"You are too quick, sir," she answered. "Though I am able to see the honor and necessity of your offer, I cannot accept it."

"I know, dear cousin," replied Mr. Collins, "it is common for young ladies not to accept a man's wishes. Sometimes their refusal is repeated a second or third time. "

"Upon my word, sir," cried Elizabeth, "I am not speaking in such a way--"

"Please believe me, dear cousin, that your refusal does not discourage me."

"Your hope is quite amazing after what I have just told you," interrupted Elizabeth. "I am perfectly serious in my refusal. You cannot make me happy. I am the last woman in the world who could make you happy. I'm certain that your friend Lady Catherine, if she knew me, would not consider me suitable for the situation."

"I do not think Lady Catherine would disapprove of you," said Mr. Collins very seriously. "She said 'Choose a gentlewoman and let her be both active and useful. Make sure she has been raised not to expect too much so that she can make a small amount of money go a long way. "

"You give me too much praise, sir!"

"When I see Lady Catherine," continued Mr. Collins, "I shall speak about you in the highest terms."

"Really, Mr. Collins," cried Elizabeth with some warmth, "you confuse me! I have said nothing to you that can be taken as an encouragement. I don't know how to express my refusal any more strongly. "

"Come, now, dear cousin, I know that your refusal is merely words. My offer is very worthy and you can only accept it. No, no, you wish to make me love you more by not giving yourself to me too easily. This is common with traditional women of good manners."

Elizabeth was becoming desperate. "Truthfully, I say to you, sir -- I have no future plans to marry you. I thank you for the honor, but my feelings cannot allow me to accept your offer. Can I speak any plainer?"

"Oh, you are so charming!" he cried. "I am sure that when your father has given his approval, the matter may be considered settled."

Elizabeth stood up and moved towards the door. Then she stopped and said, "Really, Mr. Collins, you might do me the honor of believing what I say. Then, indeed, this matter would be settled!"

She closed the door behind her.

Mrs. Bennet was waiting in the -hall for the end of the meeting. She saw Elizabeth walk quickly towards the stairs. Then she went in to Mr. Collins, smiling warmly.

"So it is settled!" she cried. "May I be the first to congratulate you, my dear Mr. Collins?"

"Thank you, dear ma'am," he replied, and gave her a little bow. "I have every reason to be happy with nay dear cousin's refusal."

"Refusal!" cried Mrs. Bennet, shocked.

"Yes, indeed, ma'am," said Mr. Collins happily. "She told me that she would not have me. I'm sure she means to encourage me."

"Mr. Collins, if only this were true! But that is not Lizzy’s manner. She must have meant what she said. "

Mr. Collins looked surprised. "Is it possible that she would refuse me?"

"Please forgive her, Mr. Collins, but she is a very foolish girl and has too strong of a will. She does not know about her own interests. But don't worry--she will be made to be reasonable. She shall be made to--"

"Pardon me for interrupting you, madam," said Mr. Collins, "but if it's true that she is really too willful and foolish, she will not be a suitable wife for me. You must consider my situation. "

"Sir, you misunderstand me," said Mrs. Bennet, worried. "She is as good-natured a girl as ever lived. It's only in these manners that she can be willful. I will speak directly to Mr. Bennet. We shall very soon settle it with her, I am sure. "

Not giving him time to reply, she hurriedly went m her husband, in the library.

"Oh, Mr. Bennet, you must make Lizzy marry Mr. Collins. She says she will not marry him. If you do not hurry, he will not have her. "

"I'm afraid I do not understand what you are talking about," said Mr. Bennet calmly. "Whom are you talking about?"

"Mr. Collins and Lizzy, of course! Lizzy says she will not have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins is now beginning to said that he will not have Lizzy. "

"What do you want me to do? It seems hopeless."

"Tell Lizzy that you command her to marry him."

"Call her in. I'll tell her my opinion."

Mrs. Bennet rang the belt, and Miss Elizabeth was called into the library.

"Come here, child," said her father. "I hear from your mother that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage."

"Yes, Papa."

"And have you refused this offer?"

"I have, sir."

"Well, your mother insists that you accept this offer. Is this not so, Mrs. Bennet?"

"Yes, or I will never see her again."

"You have an unhappy choice, Elizabeth. From this day on, you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will not see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins; and I will not see you again if you do!"

"Mr. Bennet," cried his wife very angrily.

"Oh, thank you, thank you, Papa," cried Elizabeth. Then she gave him a very loving hug and left.

"Why, Mr. Bennet, did you talk in that way? You must insist that she marry him."

"I have two small favors to ask of you, my dear," replied her husband. "First, please allow me to have my own judgment; and, secondly, let me use my room as I please. Right now, I'd be most happy if you let me have the library to myself. "

Mrs. Bennet left the library, but she did not give up on Mr. Collins' offer. She talked to Elizabeth again and again, hoping to make her change her mind.

While the family were in this confusion, Charlotte Lucas came to visit. Immediately Mrs. Bennet asked her m help convince Lizzy to listen to the wishes of her family.

"Please speak to her, dear Charlotte," she added, sadly. "Nobody is on my side, and nobody takes my part."

Just then Kitty and Lydia came into the room.

"Oh, Mama, what is going to happen to us?" cried Lydia.

"What are we to do?" screamed Kitty.

"Good heavens!" cried Mrs. Bennet. "Don't shout like this, girls. My head is ready to blow open!"

"But, Mama!" cried Lydia. "Our officers are leaving! They have been ordered to go next week to Brighton. Oh, Mama, what is to become of us?"

"My heart will break!" screamed Kitty.

Mrs. Bennet put her hands to her head. "This is too much for me!"

Just then the door opened. It wan the maid, carrying a letter.

"A letter, ma'am," the maid told Mrs. Bennet, "for Miss Jane. One of the men from Netherfield has just left it."

"For me?" said Jane, embarrassed. She took the letter and walked towards the window.

"It must be from Bingley," Mrs. Bennet whispered to Charlotte. She watched hungrily while Jane opened the envelope and began to read the letter. Elizabeth saw her sister's face change as she read the letter.

"Well, what does he say?" cried Mrs. Bennet. "Thank heavens, there is still Mr. Bingley for us!"

"The letter, Mama, is from Miss Caroline Bingley," answered Jane, sadly.

"Why, what is it, my love?" said Mrs. Bennet, coming toward her. "You've gone all white."

"I -- I am surprised by this news, Mama. The whole family has left Netherfield. They are on their way to Mr. Darcy's house in town. They will not return this winter. "

"This is Mr. Darcy's doing," said Elizabeth.

"Oh, my poor Jane!" cried Mrs. Bennet. "You have lost him forever!"

Jane quickly hurried from the room.

"And my poor Kitty and Lydia," continued their mother, "you are soon to lose your officers! My poor daughters!"

Mrs. Bennet sat down onto the sofa, her hands raised to her head.
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