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雅思阅读Pride and Prejudice

雅思阅读校本系列(二)——文学经典阅读

Pride and Prejudice is the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet (minor gentry), their five daughters, and the various romantic adventures at their Hertfordshire residence of Longbourn. The parents' characters are greatly contrasted: Mr Bennet being a wise and witty gentleman; while Mrs Bennet is permanently distracted by the issue of marrying off her daughters at any cost. The reason for Mrs Bennet's obsession is that their estate will pass by law after Mr Bennet's death to his closest blood relative: his cousin, the Reverend William Collins (a fatuous, tactless and pompous man). Austen's tale is spurred on by the arrival of the young and wealthy bachelor Charles Bingley and his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy. It is the story of the various affections, affectations and engagement shenanigans that develop due to Mrs Bennet's relentless matchmaking and the dashing Darcy's tempestuous relationship with Elizabeth Bennet who Jane Austen claimed was favourite amongst her literary offspring. Its 1797 earlier version was turned down for publication and it appeared in this form in 1813.

Chapter 1

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so wellfixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

"Do you not want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"

"Bingley."

"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

"How so? How can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."

"Is that his design in settling here?"

"Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which