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which her rage for admiration will excite. In this danger Kitty is
also comprehended. She will follow wherever Lydia leads. Vain,
ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled! Oh! my dear father,
can you suppose it possible that they will not be censured and
despised wherever they are known, and that their sisters will not
be often involved in the disgrace?” Mr. Bennet saw that her whole
heart was in the subject, and affectionately taking her hand, said in
reply“Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. Wherever you and
Jane are known you must be respected and valued; and you will
not appear to less advantage for having a couple of-or I may say,
three very silly sisters. We shall have no peace at Longbourn if
Lydia does not go to Brighton. Let her go, then. Colonel Forster is a
sensible man, and will keep her out of any real mischief; and she is
luckily too poor to be an object of prey to anybody. At Brighton she
will be of less impor-
tance even as a common flirt than she has been here. The officers
will find women better worth their notice. Let us hope, therefore,
that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. At any
rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse, without authorizing us
to lock her up for the rest of her life.” With this answer Elizabeth
was forced to be content; but her own opinion continued the same,
and she left him disappointed and sorry. It was not in her nature,
however, to increase her vexations by dwelling on them. She was
confident of having performed her duty, and to fret over
unavoidable evils, or augment them by anxiety, was no part of her

Had Lydia and her mother known the substance of her conference
with her father, their indignation would hardly have found
expression in their united volubility. In Lydia’s imagination, a visit
to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness. She
saw, with the creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing-
place covered with officers. She saw herself the object of attention
to tens and to scores of them at present unknown. She saw all the
glories of the camp-its tents stretched forth in beauteous
uniformity of lines, crowded with the young and the gay, and
dazzling with scarlet; and, to complete the view, she saw herself
seated beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers at

Had she known that her sister sought to tear her from such
prospects and such realities as these, what would have been her
sensations? They could have been understood only by her mother,
who might have felt nearly the same. Lydia’s going
to Brighton was all that consoled her for her melancholy conviction
of her husband’s never intending to go there himself.
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