According to Ellen Moody’s calendar for Pride & Prejudice , it is on Friday / Saturday, Sept 4 -5, 1812, that Elizabeth writes to her Aunt Gardiner for an explanation of Lydia’s reference to Mr. Darcy’s attendance at her wedding: Vol. III, ch. IX, 319-20 (Chapman).
“Mr. Darcy!” repeated Elizabeth, in utter amazement.
“Oh, yes! – he was to come there with Wickham, you know. But gracious me! I quite forgot! I ought not to have said a word about it. I promised them so faithfully! What will Wickham say? It was to be such a secret!”
“If it was to be secret,” said Jane, “say not another word on the subject. You may depend upon my seeking no further.”
“Oh! certainly,” said Elizabeth, though burning with curiosity; “we will ask you no questions.”
“Thank you,” said Lydia; “for if you did, I should certainly tell you all, and then Wickham would be angry.”
On such encouragement to ask, Elizabeth was forced to put it out of her power by running away.
But to live in ignorance on such a point was impossible; or, at least, it was impossible not to try for information. Mr. Darcy had been at her sister’s wedding. It was exactly a scene, and exactly among people, where he had apparently least to do, and least temptation to go. Conjectures as to the meaning of it, rapid and wild, hurried into her brain; but she was satisfied with none. Those that best pleased her, as placing his conduct in the noblest light, seemed most improbable. She could not bear such suspense; and hastily seizing a sheet of paper, wrote a short letter to her aunt, to request an explanation of what Lydia had dropped, if it were compatible with the secrecy which had been intended.
“You may readily comprehend,” she added, “what my curiosity must be to know how a person so unconnected with any of us, and (comparatively speaking) a stranger to our family, should have been amongst you at such a time. Pray write instantly, and let me understand it – unless it is, for very cogent reasons, to remain in the secrecy which Lydia seems to think necessary; and then I must endeavour to be satisfied with ignorance.”
“Not that I shall, though,” she added to herself, as she finished the letter; “and, my dear aunt, if you do not tell me in an honourable manner, I shall certainly be reduced to tricks and stratagems to find it out.”
[Aunt Gardener’s reply is dated Sept. 6 from Gracechurch-street, in Ch. X, 321-325]
So, Inquiring Readers, my question is, as we read this last paragraph – does Elizabeth say that last line to herself, or is it written in the letter to her Aunt?
[Posted by Deb]