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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


151

My father was not only fond of this young manís 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. 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.
ďMy 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 pretense, and
being now free from all restraint, his life was a life of idleness and
dissipation.

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
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