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malicious arrangement at the War Office, another regiment should
be quartered in Meryton.
The time fixed for the beginning of their northern tour was now
fast approaching, and a fortnight only was wanting of it, when a
letter arrived from Mrs. Gardiner, which at once delayed its
commencement and curtailed its extent. Mr.
Gardiner would be prevented by business from setting out till a
fortnight later in July, and must be in London again within a
month; and as that left too short a period for them to go so far, and
see so much as they had proposed, or at least to see it with the
leisure and comfort they had built on, they were obliged to give up
the Lakes, and substitute a more contracted tour, and, according to
the present plan, were to go no farther northward than Derbyshire.
In that county there was enough to be seen to occupy the chief of
their three weeks; and to Mrs. Gardiner it had a peculiarly strong
attraction. The town where she had formerly passed some years of
her life, and where they were now to spend a few days, was
probably as great an object of her curiosity as all the celebrated
beauties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, or the Peak.
Elizabeth was excessively disappointed; she had set her heart on
seeing the Lakes, and still thought there might have been time
enough. But it was her busi-
ness to be satisfied-and certainly her temper to be happy; and all
was soon right again.
With the mention of Derbyshire there were many ideas connected.
It was impossible for her to see the word without thinking of
Pemberley and its owner.
“But surely,” said she, “I may enter his county with impunity, and
rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me.” The
period of expectation was now doubled. Four weeks were to pass
away before her uncle and aunt’s arrival. But they did pass away,
and Mr. and Mrs.
Gardiner, with their four children, did at length appear at
Longbourn. The children, two girls of six and eight years old, and
two younger boys, were to be left under the particular care of their
cousin Jane, who was the general favorite, and whose steady sense
and sweetness of temper exactly adapted her for attending to them
in every way-teaching them, playing with them, and loving them.
The Gardiners stayed only one night at Longbourn, and set off the
next morning with Elizabeth in pursuit of novelty and amusement.
One enjoyment was certain-that of suitableness as companions; a
suitableness which comprehended health and temper to bear
inconveniences-cheerfulness to enhance every pleasureand