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


152

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 being
ordained, 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 fatherís 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 dropped. How
he lived I know not. But last summer he was again most painfully
obtruded on my notice.

ďI 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 motherís 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 unhappily deceived;
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 sisterís 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. Wickhamís
chief object was unquestionably my sisterís fortune, which is thirty
thousand pounds; but I cannot help supposing that the hope of
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