The women in the Nineteenth Century in the Fight for Equal Rights referat

The women in the Nineteenth Century in the Fight for Equal Rights



Historical background: 'An illustrated History of Britain' (Chapter 19, 20, 21)

'A woman´s place' (Chapter 5)

Literarury books: 'Women at war' by Sally Drewe

'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen

Literature for the historical background from:

'An illustrated History of Britain' (Chapter 19, 20,21)

'A woman´s place?' (Chapter 5)

'Women at War' by Sally Drewe

Women and politics, women´s rights, emancipation.

Women in the 19. century

Women - in the fight for equal rights

For over hundred years women in Britain, as in many other countries, have been fighting for an equal place in society. From the start, they saw the need to change the law.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, woman in Britain had few, if any, legal rights. They belonged to their fathers and husbands almost like farm animals, and could be forced into unhappy marriages for money. They could not vote or sign contracts. If they owned any money or property it became their husband`s on marriage. They had no rights over their own children, or even their own bodies. Husbands could, and did, beat their wives and force them to have sex.

Middle-class women were kept in their homes with little real work to do - they had servants to cook and clean. The wife`s role was to be the 'angel in the house'. She was expected to provide her husband with a comfortable place of escape from the wicked world outside.

Middle-class women had the time and the energy to think about their position in society and to try to change ist. They began to fight for the right to an equal education with their brothers and to a useful life. They were tired of doing their embroidery, painting and playing the piano a little.

Secondary schools and colleges for girls were opened from the 1850s, and a few brave and clever women managed to study at un medical schools. The few women who managed to become academics, secondary-schoolteachers and doctors opened the door for their daughters and granddaughters.

Working-class women, if they weren´t badly-paid servants in middle-class homes, were forced into badly-paid, dirty and dangerous jobs in factories, mills and mines.

Working-class girls, like their brothers, were lucky to receive any education at all befor the 1870 Education Act which gave all children the right to elementary schooling. Elementary education was designed to fit the working classes for lives of hard work and obedience in other people´s houses or the factories of the new, rich businessmen. For many working-class women the right not to go out to work was their main aim. Then, as now, working-class women had two jobs, and the comfortable life of a middle-class wife was the working girl´s dream.

Family life

In spite of the greater emphasis on the individual and the growth of openly shown affection, the end of the eighteenth century also saw a swing back to stricter ideas of family life. In part, the close family resulted from the growth of new attitudes to privacy, perhaps a necessary part of individualism. It was also the result of the removal, over a period beginning in the sixteenth century, of the social and economic support of the wider family and village community, which had made family life so much more public. Except for the very rich, people no longer married for economic reasons, but did so for personal happiness. However, while wives might be companions, they were certainly not equals. As someone wrote in 1800, 'the husband and wife are one, and the husband is that one'. As the idea of the close family under the 'master' of the household became stronger, so the possibility for a wife to find emotional support or practical advice outside the immediate family became more limited. In addition, as the idea of the close family slowly spread down the social order, an increasing number of women found their sole econimc and social usefulness ended when their children grew up, a problem that continued into the twentieth century. They were discouraged from going out of work if not economically necesseary, and also encouraged to make use of the growing number of people available for domestic service.

This return to authority exercised by the head of family was largely the result of three things. These were fear of political revolution spreading from France, of social change caused by industrial revolution in Britain, and the influence of the new religious movements of Methodism and Evangelicalism.

One must wonder how much these things reduced the chance of happy family life. Individualism, strict parental behaviour, the regular beating of children (which was still widespread), and the cruel conditions for those boys at boarding school, all worked against it. One should not be surprised that family life often ended when children grew up. As one foreigner noted in 1828, 'grown up children and their parents soon become almost strangers'. It is impossible to be sure what effect this kind of family life had on children. But no doubt it made young men unfeeling towards their own wives who, with unmarried sisters, were the responsibility of the man of the house. A wife was legally a man´s property, until nearly the end of the century.

In spite of a stricter moral atmosphere in Scotland which resulted from the strong influence of the Kirk, Scottish women seem to have continued a stronger tradition of independent attidutes and plain speaking. In 1830 a Scotswoman called for 'the perfect equality of her sex to that of man'. Another in 1838 wrote, 'It is the right of every woman to have a vote . . . in her county, and more so now that we have got a woman (Queen Victoria) at the head of government.' She had a long time to wait.

In 1847 the first Trades Union Congress stated that a woman´s place was in the home, and a man´s duty was to protect and provide for his wife and children. The aim of the laws between 1831 and 1872 was to protect women in industry. For example: they made it illegal to employ women for long hours or at night.

The effect was to put working-class women into an inferior, dependent position, similar in their class of society to the middle-class wife in hers.

The different classes of women had different problems and different needs, but all women either had to accept, or fight against, their status as second-class citizens. In 1882 married women won the right to own property and in 1888 the trade unions began to talk about the right to equal pay. The main issue, however, for women at the turn of the century was the right to vote, and in that fight women from all classes came to be united.

The fight for women´s suffrage - the vote - began peacefully. In 1867 the first woman´s suffrage group was founded. The aim of the early suffragists was to persuade men to change the law and allow women to vote. Why class women with children, criminals and madmen and deny them the vote? A few men, such as the famous philosopher, John Stuart Mill, supported women in their struggle for the vote, but most men were against women´s suffrage. The suffragists had enemies in Parliament, in the trade unions, in the universities, in the Church, and in their own homes and families. They even had enemies among their own sex. Queen Victoria, the most powerful woman in the world at that time, said:

'The Queen is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking the mad, wicked folly of woman´s rights with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety. God created men and women different - then let them remain each in their own position.'

Other ladies remarked, with sweet smiles, that a true woman could always persuade her husband to vote the way she wanted so why demand the vote for herself ? But many women did join the fight for the right to elect MPs themselves.

Women like Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Sylvia and Christabel, from a comfortable middle-class family in Manchester, Annie Kenney, a working-class girl from the Northern cotton mills, and Lady Constance Lytton from the upper classes, joined hands in the fight for the vote. They founded societies, held public meetings and published newspapers and magazines.

It was a long and hard struggle. When sensible argument and ladylike behaviour failed to have any effect, some of the suffragists stopped behaving like ladies. They became violent, and society became violent towards them in turn. The suffragettes - the most militant suffragists - were against violence to ordinary people, but never feared violence against themselves.

One of the most famous suffragettes was Emily Davison. On Derby Day, 1913, she threw herself in front of the king´s racehorse and was killed. It is a terrible price to pay for attracting royal and public attention to the cause of women´s suffrage. She was the first martyr for the cause. Later, it is said, the king asked, 'Is the horse all right?'

1914-1918: World War I

In 1914, however, the attention of the public and the suffragettes turned to a more immediate problem - the war. Women turned their energies to enlisting men and women fight the enemies of their country. But during World War I, British women did not forget the war for equality inside their country. In november 1914 Mrs Pankhurst said in a public speech:

'After this war many things an never again be as they were before war

broke out. Some of the changes perhaps, may be for the worse: the

majority will, we trust, be for the better. Is it too much to hope that the

altered position and prospects of the women´s movement will be among

the national gains?'

The position of women certainly changed during the 1914-18 war. Men were forced into the army, and women had to take over their jobs at home. They worked as farmers, an mechanics, as policemen. They drove buses and trams, made guns and bombs, and joined the new Women´s Army and Airforce. In their more traditional role as nurses, many of them showed great bravery close to the enemy lines in France. The men noticed.

The vote and after

Victory for Britain in the Great War was followed by victory for British women in the battle for the vote. Women of 30 or over and all men over 21 won the vote in 1918. Ten years later all women over 21 got the vote. They had won political equality at last. With the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in 1919 the way to professional equality became clear in law. Women were allowed to become members of the legal profession, to enter the higher levels of the Civil Service and to serve on juries. This period certainly saw an increase in the number of single career women. Widows and yuong women who had lost their future husbands in the war had to earn their own living, and some were very successful.

During the post-war period, however, it often seemed that women had won the battle for the vote, but lost the fight for equality. By 1920 two third of the women workers at the end of the war had gone back to their traditional place - the home. The reason for this was simple and obvious. When the soldiers returned to Britain after the war they needed their old jobs back, and both men and women wanted the peace and comfort of family life again.

Among the working classes the situation was rather different. It was sometimes easier for a woman to get a job than for a husband. Women were paid less than men, so it was cheaper to employ them.

In two important ways the position of women was slowly improving. One was the education of girls. More girls were getting longer and better schooling, but standards remained below those of boys` education. Just as a family is more concerned about the education of its sons than its daughters, so the state spends more time and money on the education of boys. Girls did not have equality of educational opportunity, but, compared with girls in the nineteenth century or in many other countries, they had a good, basic education than a Vistorian girl ever dreamed of.

The other major advance in the position of women at this time was the discovery and spread of better methods of birth control. A woman no longer had to accept the arrival of a new baby every year or two. If her husband, (male) doctor and religion would let her, she could plan her family. For the first time in history women could have the number of children they wanted, when they wanted. Family size dropped, and the number of wives with time and energy for work outside the home increased. Married women, who had trained as nurses and teachers, could nor go back to paid jobs, but many of them did unpaid social work. They were able to use their education for the good society, and had more freedom than the Victorian wife and mother.

Women at war

by Sally Drewe

Constance Welles is the daughter of a rich, honorous British family. They are wealthy and distinguished. Constances father knows the Queen and has connections to all Lords of England. But Constanse isn´t satisfied with her life. She grows up in a time, when women have no rights at all.

Her father is the authority in the family, he suppresses the rest of the family, especially his wife and daughter. His son, Constance´s brother is allowed to do whatever he wants, he spends much money on his girl-friends and his father doesn´t mind.

Secretly she reads literature and articles from the suffragettes, the feminist-organisation that fights for women´s rights. She is enthusiastic for their ideas and decides to visit a meeting of them. She can´t bear the stupid talking of the men around her any longer. Even at her birthday she has to hear words like: 'Women have a brain on the level of cats or dogs.' She hates the role women have to play: just to be charming, sweet and beautiful.

One day she goes to a meeting of the suffragettes, pretending that she is in the Britich Museum. There she gets to know a young man called George. She admines the women who talk about their ideas and who do something about it. She is shocked that she has spent more than three hours at the meeting - she leaves, when it´s already dark outside. She has never seen London by night and is afraid of the prostitutes, drunken men and other creatures of the night. She is in a really dangerous situation, but then George saves her. Constance chauffeur helps her, that her father doesn´t get to know about her activities.

Two weeks later Constance and her family visit some friends in the country. Everyone goes fox-hunting, she pretends to be ill and visits another meeting in Waterbridge. Mrs. Pankhurst speaks in the town-hall. She doesn´t look like a leader-figure, but her speech in convincing. Constance is struck by the strong quality of her voice. But at the end of the meeting suddenly tomatoes, rotten fruit and vegetables are thrown at Mrs. Pankhurst. Constance gets to know her and together they can escape from this 'Battle at Waterbridge'.

After this experience Constance decides to leave home. She has a bad quarrel with her father, because it´s the first time that somebody - a woman - acts against his will. Her mother gives her jewels and lets her go. When she sits in the train, she sees the bridges burn behind her.

She works full-time for the suffragettes as typist writing articles. They fight against the Liberal Party and their new candidate Bovey Tracey. She is integrated and first recognizes the advantage of having money. Most of the other women are poor and ill of hard working.

Some days later the election results shock whole England, the Liberal Party has lost the election. But the atmosphere in Bovey Tracey gets worse and worse, the members of the Liberal Party drink alcohol and they are now in the streets. In the evening they walk through town and attack people, especially suffragettes. Constance and Mrs. Pankhurst are saved in the last second by a sergeant, they can escape in a train.

After this horrible experience Constance has the idea of 'Amazons', women that should defend the suffragettes. They are trained a japanese method to fight to make Mrs. Pankhurst and other members more secure. The 'bodyguard'-idea functions.

In september the suffragettes dig out the words 'Votes for women' in huge letters directly in front of the thirteenth hole on the Prime Minister´s favourite golf course. All national newspapers are full of it. The suffragettes are called 'Devilish Diggers'. After a demonstration in Hyde Park many members of the suffragettes are arrested. They are treated worse than animals and many of them begin a hunger strike. The relationship between the government and the suffragettes changes dramatically after a battle outside Parliament. The violence by the police is a terrifying experience.

Prime Minister Asquith still refuses to talk to the suffragettes. Constance and one of her Amazons, Polly Palmer have a new plan. They attack his car with stones and get his attention in that way. He doesn´t react to their questions, Polly and Constance are arrested by the police. At the police station they both say not a word except 'Votes for women'. Constance is allowed to leave just because of her famous family name and her father´s influence. Polly Palmer has to stay in prison. Constance´s uncle helps her to find out where she is and some days later she is free because of his help. She has been on hungerstrike too and has been force-fed. She is very ill now because her weak heart couldn´t cope with that. Constance feels guilty and takes care of her. Nobody believes Polly, how she was treated, even tortured, because she is just a poor girl, a nobody, her words are unimportant. Constance knows, what she has to do now: she changes her outfit completely as well as her identity to seem like a poor girl. She cuts her hair and colours it mouse-grey, wears old clothes and learns a South-London dialect.

Looking like this with another documents she attacks the Prime Minister at Downing street. Of course she is arrested and indeed they don´t suspect her to be the daughter of Lord Welles. She has to endure the same torture as Polly. It´s a horrible experience for her. She stays in a dark small cell alone all day and all night and gets mad of this situation. She shouts and cries, but nobody seems to hear her. One morning she is relased suddenly. They tell her about the reason: a man named George had recognized her voice and told them about her identity.

Constance goes on working for the suffragettes, writes articles and fights for the rights of women, especially for their right to vote. She also writes about her experiences in prison and everybody believes her, everybody is shocked.

After a young suffragette died in her mission, the biggest demonstration starts. In June 1914 the Prime Minister meets a small group of moderate suffragettes. During the war suffragettes help injured soldiers, in 1918 Mrs. Pankhurst is rewarded for her services by a greatful government.

After Mrs. Pankhurst´s death in 1928 all men and women over twenty-one years of age are given the right to vote.

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth well known to all the world that an unmarried man in possession of a large fortune must be in need of a wife. And when such a man moves into a neighbourhood, even if nothing is known about his feelings or opinions, this thruth is so cleear to the surrounding families, that they think of him immediately as the future husband of one or other of their daughters. The Bennets lived in the small Hertfordshire village of Longbourn, and as Mrs. Bennet hears that a very rich young man from the north of England is going to rent Netherfield Park, she wants him to see her girls as soon as possible, before other neighbours introduce themselves. So when Mrs. Bennet discovered that her husband had in fact visited Mr. Bingley at Netherfield, she was surprised and very pleased. In their small village public dances were regulary held in the nearest town, Meryton. The girls were greatly looking forward to this particular dance, because they had heard that Mr. Bingley would be attending, with a group of friends from London. On the night of the dance, all eyes were on Mr. Bingley as he entered the room. He had brought his two sisters and another young man, Mr. Darcy. As there were not as many gentlemes as ladies, Elisabeth Bennet did not have a partner for one of the dances, and was sitting watching the dancing. Mr. Darcy was standing near her, and when Mr. Bingley came up to speak to his friend, Elisabeth could not avoid hearing that she is not attractive enough to tempt Mr. Darcy. This conversation did not endear Mr. Darcy to Elisabeth, but she told the story very cheerfully and amusingly to her friends. The evening passed very happily for everybody else, and Mrs. Bennet was delighted with the effect her eldest daughter Jane had had on Mr. Bingley. After the dance the Bennet and Bingley families began to visit each other every few days. It became evident that Mr. Bingley admired Jane very much, and Elisabeth knew that her sister was close to falling in love with him. She was discussing this with her good friend, Charlotte Lucas. While observing Mr. Bingley´s interest in Jane, Elisabeth had not noticed Mr. Darcy´s interest in herself. Althoat first he had not even considered her pretty, he now began to realize what a beautiful expression her dark eyes gave to her intelligent face, and what an attractive figure she had.

One day, the Bennets were sitting at the table and having breakfast, a servant entered with a note for Jane, which had come from Netherfield. Miss Bingley invites her to dinner, as she and her sister are alone. Mrs. Bennet thought that it would be a great idea for Jane to take the horse, because it looked likely to rain, and then Jane has to stay the night. So Jane set out on her horse and she had not been gone for long before it rained hard. Elisabeth was a little worried about her sister, but Mrs. Bennet was delighted. Not until the next morning did she realized the full extent of her success. After breakfast a servant from Netherfield arrived with a note from Jane to Elisabeth, explaning that Jane had caught cold on her wet ride, and had been invited to stay at Netherfield until she recovered. Elisabeth felt really anxious, and was determined to go to her sister. As the carriage was not available, and she was not keen on riding, she decidend to walk the five kilometers to Netherfield. When she arrived there, she was glad to be taken almost immediately to her sister´s room, where she found Jane delighted to see her, but very ferish and unwell. The next morning Elizabeth was glad to be able to inform Mr. Bingley and his sisters that Jane was very much better. In spite of this improvement, she asked for her mother to be sent for, as she wanted Mrs. Bennet´s opinion of Jane´s state of health. Elizabeth and Jane were to stay another night at Netherfield, to allow Jane to recover completely. That evening Elisabeth appeared again in the sitting-room. She could not avoid noticing how frequently Mr. Darcy´s eyes were fixed on her, but as she felt sure that so great a man could not possibly admire her, she assumed that when he looked at her, he was critizing her in some way. This thought did not cause her any pain, as she liked him too little to care for his approval.

A few days later Mr. Bennet tell his familie that he is expecting a visitor, his cousin Mr. Collins, who he have never seen before. Mr. Collins was not a sensible man, and neighter education nor society had improved him. The respect he felt for his patron, and his very good opinion of himself and his new position, made him proud and servile at the same time. Now that he had a home and a considerable income, he had decided to marry. The Bennet girls, who would lose their inheritance because of him, had a reputation for being attractive and charming, and his idea of making amends to them was to marry one of them. He considered this an exellent plan, and thought himself extremly generous and unselfish in carrying it out. He had known he was right when he arrived at Longbourn and saw Jane Bennet´s lovely face. As the eldest, she should marry first, and for the first evening she was his choice. But the next morning, after a fifteen-minute conversation with Mrs. Bennet, he had to change his mind. When he explained that he was hoping to find a wife among her daughters, she replied, with a happy smile, that her eldest daughter was very likely to be engaged soon. Mr. Collins had only to change from Jane to Elisabeth, because next to Jane in birth and beauty, Elisabeth was the obvious choice. Mrs Bennet was delighted, hoping that she might soon have two daughters married. The man whom she had disliked the day before was now a favourite with her.

When later that morning Lydia suggested walking to Meryton, just then all the young ladies noticed a very gentleman-like young man, whom they had never seen before, walking down the street with an officer they knew. They were all wondering who the handsome stranger could be, when the officer came up to greet them. He asked permission to introduce his friend, whose name was Mr. Wickham, and who had apparently arrived recently from London to become an officer in the regiment. They were still standing and talking happily together, when they heard the sound of horses, and saw Mr. Darcy and Bingley riding down the street. By chance Elisabeth saw Darcy´s and Wickham´s faces at the moment when they caught sight of each other, and she was astonished at the effect of the meeting. Both changed colour, one white, the other red. After a few moments Mr. Wickham touched his hat, and Mr. Darcy nodded very slightly. What could this mean? It was impossible to imagine, and it was impossible not to wish to know.

One day at Longbourne, soon after breakfast, Mr. Collins asked Mrs. Bennet for permission to speak privately to Elisabeth. He asked her to marry him, but Elisabeth knew and said to him, that he would never make her happy, eighter she him. Mrs. Bennet had been waiting eagerly for the end of the interview, and when she saw Elisabeth leave the room, she hurried in to offer her congratulations to Mr. Collins. He received them with pleasure, adding that he was sure his cousin´s refusal was a natural result of her modesty and delicacy of character. Mrs. Bennet was shocked. That day the Bennets, with Mr. Collins, went to dinner with the Lucas family at Lucas Lodge. Again it was Charlotte who spent most of the evening listening to Mr. Collins. Elisabeth was very relieved, and thanked her friend gratefully for the trouble she was taking. But Charlotte´s kindness had a particular aim, which Elisabeth was unware of. Her plan was to encourage Mr. Collins to transfer his attentions to herself. In fact, she was managing so well that, when she said goodnight to him after dinner, she would have felt sure of success if he had been staying in Hertfordshire for another week. But she did not fully appreciate the fire and independence of his character, which caused him to get up very early the next morning and escape from Longbourn House, in a great hurry to reach Lucas Lodge and throw himself at her feet. She did not keep him waiting for an answer, and the happy couple found themselves engaged as quickly as Mr. Collins` long speeches would allow.

A few months later Elisabeth decided to visit Mr. And Mrs. Collins. Two weeks after her arrival in Hunsford, she heard that some visitors were soming to stay at Rosings. Lady Cathrine´s nephew, Mr. Darcy, was expected soon, accompanied by hie cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. The next day, the two gentlemen arrived, and came almost immediately to the Rectory. They had often lunch and dinner together, and Mr. Darcy often smiled at Elisabeth and they both enjoyed their long and interesting conversations.

Elisabeth was sitting by herself the next morning, writing to Jane, while Mrs. Collins and Maria were shopping in the village. She heard the doorbell ring, and knew that meant a visitor had arived, but she was greatly surprised when Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy only, was shown onto the room. He seemed astonished too, on finding her alone. In a hurried manner he began to ask how she was feeling. She answered him with cold politeness. He sat down for a few moments, and then, gettin up, walked about the room. After a silence o several minutes, he came towards her, with none of hisusual calmness, and said, 'In vain have I struggled. It is no good. I cannot conquer my feelings. You must allow me to tell you how warmly I admire and love you.'Elisabeth stared, bluched, doubted, and was silent. He considered this sufficient encouragement, and confessed all that he felt, and had felt for a long lime, for her. He expressed himself well, but it was not only of love that he spoke. He also talked of his pride, and his sense of her social inferiority, which had made him struggle against his feeling so long. Elisabeth felt herself growing more angry every moment. She knew already, that he was the cause of Jane´s separation from Mr. Bingley and of her unhappiness, so she didn´t think about a marriage with a man, who maybe had destroy the life of her sister. His affection for her must indeed have been strong, to conquer all the objections he had to her family and position, objections which had made him prevent his friend marrying her sister. But his terrible pride, his shameless confession of what he had done to seperate Jane and Bingley, and his cruelty towards Wickham soon removed any pity she might have felt for him.

The next morning Elizabeth had still not recovered from the surprise of Darcy´s proposal to her. On her walk she met him and he gave her a letter in which he informed his relationship to Mr. Wickham, the secret about the removel of Mr. Bingley back to London and his objections he had to her family and position. Elisabeth just told Jane something about this letter and they both decided not to tell anyone what they knew about Wickham, as he would soon be leaving Meryton in any case.

During the week before the regiment´s departure, all the young ladies in the Meryton area became extremly depressed. Only the two elder Miss Bennets were still able to eat, drink, sleep and lead a normal life. They were often scolded by Kitty and Lydia, who could not understand uch hard-heartedness. But soon Lydia´s bitterness changed to absolute delight, when she received an invitation from Colonel Forster´s wife, to accompany her to Brighton with the regiment.

Four weeks later, Mr. And Mrs. Gardiner arrived at Longbourn, where they had arranged to leave their children in Jane´s care. The next day they set out with Elisabeth on their journey. After visiting Oxford, Blenheim, Warwick, Kenilworth and Birmingham, they arrived in Derbyshire, and decided to stay in the small town of Lambton, where Mrs. Gardiner had lived before her marriage. Elizabeth discovered that Mr. Darcy´s house, Pemberly, was only eight kilometres away from Lambton. Mrs. Gardiner offered Elisabeth to visit pemberly, but Elisabeth just though how dreadful it would be to meet Mr. Darcy, while viewing his house. But when she asked a servant at the hotel one or two careful questions that evening, she was told that Mr. Darcy was not at home at the moment. Greatly relieved, she felt able to agree to her aunt´s suggestion, when ist was repeated the next morning, and Mr. Gardiner ordered a carriage immediately. Elisabeth joined her uncle and aunt in their walk through the gardens. They were walking slowly beside an attractive stream, when they noticed Mr. Darcy coming towards them. This time Elisabeth was able to control herself better, and she returned his greetings politely. The very next morning Mr. Darcy brought his sister to visit Elisabeth and the Gardiners at the hotel in Lambton. They observed their niece and Darcy carefully during the visit, and could not doubt that the gentleman was in love, although they were not certain of the lady´s feelings. Elisabeth was delighted to descover that Georgiana Darcy, far from being proud, as Wickham had said, was just very shy, with quiet, gentle manners. Miss Darcy, encouraged by her brother, invited Eliabeth and the Gardiners to dinner at Pemberly in two days´time, and when this invitation had been accepted, the Darcys and Mr. Bingley left, with many warm expressions of politeness on both sides. Mr. And Mrs. Gardiner were very curious about their niese´s feelings for Mr. Darcy, but were carefull not to question her. That evening Elisabeth lay awake for two whole hours, trying to understand how she felt about him.

On the third morning of her visit to Lambton, Elisabeth received two letters from Jane. In only few words she narrated that something most unexpected and serious has happend. Lydia and Wickham had run away. She could not belief that Lydia is so completely lacking in morals, that she could live with a man without being married. After they had find them and made them marry, Elisabeth got a letter from her aunt from which she learned that it was Mr. Darcy who found them and promised Wickham a final payment every month to marry Lydia. Mrs. Bennet was quite depressed when Lydia and Wickham left Longbourn to travel north to Newcastle. But soon Mrs. Philips brought the happy news that Mr. Bingley was expected to return to Netherfield in a day or two, and Mrs. Bennet became very excited. Both Jane and Elisabeth felt uncomfortable, and sympathized with each other. Two days after Mr. Bingley and Darcy had dinner with the Bennets, Mr. Bingley called at Longbourn House again. But on the third day Bingley came in the morning to go shooting with Mr. Bennet. He stayed for lunch, and was still there in the evening. And when Elisabeth entered the sittingroom unexpectably, to her surprise she saw Jane and Bingley standing close together near the fire. Elisabeth congratulated her sister most warmly and sincerely.

A few days later, Mr. Darcy returned to Netherfield, and he and Mr. Bingley came to Longbourn soon afterwards. Bingley suggested they should all go for a walk, and while he and Jane concentrated on their own private conversation, some distance away, Elisabeth found herself alone with Mr. Darcy. Elisabeth forced herself to speak, and immediately, though hesitatingly, gave him to understand that her feelings had changed so considerably since that time that she was now grateful and pleased to accept his proposal.When Darcy heard this, he was probably happier than he had ever been before. The next day Mr. Darcy came to ask Mr. Bennet officially for Elisabeth´s hand in marriage. Mr. Bennet also had to be persuaded that his favourite daughter could really be happy with such a proud, didainful man. Mrs. Bennet was a happy mother indeed on the day whe she got rid ofher two most deserving daughters. Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter very much, and greatly enjoyed going to Pemberly to visit her.