Please see the first post on Mr. Darcy’s Feelings – Pride and Prejudice Vol. I here
Now on to Volume II!
Skipping through the text to locate just commentary on Mr. Darcy’s feelings and instances of Elizabeth’s professed dislike of the man leaves out an awful lot of interesting passages – taking Jane Austen out of context is a dangerous thing! – we have missed Mr. Collins and his rejected proposal entirely! always too wonderful to skim over – for here we learn more about Elizabeth and her feelings on marriage and friendship than anywhere else in the novel. I have always thought she is very quick to judgment on Charlotte’s choice of a partner – she forgets what is clear in the text to us and would have been for contemporary readers – that Charlotte is a rational creature and knows she has little choice if she is to have a “comfortable home” of her own… even the narrator is critical of Elizabeth, described as “less clear-sighted” in the case of Wickham’s marrying for money and independence than she is of her friend’s similar decision, a crucial point in seeing Elizabeth’s own prejudices.
C. E. Brock. “Almost as soon as I entered the house I singled you out as the companion of my future life.”
P&P. Macmillan, 1895. Volume I, Ch. 19 [Mollands]
But I digress – we shall leave Mr. Collins and continue in search of Mr. Darcy’s feelings…
Elizabeth blames Darcy for taking Bingley away, and he is “condemned [by everybody, except Jane Bennet] as the worst of men” (p. 107)* – she rants:
“Oh! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man [Collins] who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all.”
[And Darcy as always, though nowhere to be found in the book here, is not far from her thoughts, as so on seeing Miss De Bourgh:]
“I like her appearance,” said Elizabeth, struck with other ideas. “She looks sickly and cross. Yes, she will do for him very well. She will make him a very proper wife.”
p. 125. [on meeting Lady Catherine for the first time:]
When, after examining the mother, in whose countenance and deportment she soon found some resemblance of Mr. Darcy…
Elizabeth had heard soon after her arrival that Mr. Darcy was expected there in the course of a few weeks, and though there were not many of her acquaintance whom she did not prefer, his coming would furnish one comparatively new to look at in their Rosings parties, and she might be amused in seeing how hopeless Miss Bingley’s designs on him were, by his behaviour to his cousin, for whom he was evidently destined by Lady Catherine, who talked of his coming with the greatest satisfaction, spoke of him in terms of the highest admiration, and seemed almost angry to find that he had already been frequently seen by Miss Lucas and herself.
p. 131. [The ever-observant Charlotte]:
…and to the great surprise of all the party, when Mr. Collins returned, the gentlemen [Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam] accompanied him. Charlotte had seen them from her husband’s room crossing the road, and immediately running into the other, told the girls what an honour they might expect, adding —
“I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. Mr. Darcy would never have come so soon to wait upon me.”
Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the compliment before their approach was announced by the door-bell, and shortly afterwards the three gentlemen entered the room. Colonel Fitzwilliam, who led the way, was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman. Mr. Darcy looked just as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire — paid his compliments, with his usual reserve, to Mrs. Collins, and whatever might be his feelings towards her friend, met her with every appearance of composure. Elizabeth merely curtseyed to him, without saying a word.
p. 132. Col. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth at the pianoforte:
Mrs. Collins’s pretty friend had moreover caught his fancy very much. He now seated himself by her, and talked so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of travelling and staying at home, of new books and music, that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in that room before; and they conversed with so much spirit and flow, as to draw the attention of Lady Catherine herself, as well as of Mr. Darcy. His eyes had been soon and repeatedly turned towards them with a look of curiosity…
[Lady Catherine] “…though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very welcome, as I have often told her, to come to Rosings every day, and play on the piano forte in Mrs. Jenkinson’s room. She would be in nobody’s way, you know, in that part of the house.”
Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt’s ill-breeding, and made no answer.
p. 133-35. [a long passage but one the most important exchanges between them; and notice Darcy’s smiles!]
He [Col. Fitzwilliam] drew a chair near her. Lady Catherine listened to half a song, and then talked, as before, to her other nephew; till the latter walked away from her, and moving with his usual deliberation towards the pianoforte, stationed himself so as to command a full view of the fair performer’s countenance. Elizabeth saw what he was doing, and at the first convenient pause, turned to him with an arch smile, and said –
H. M. Brock. “At the pianoforte”. P&P. Dent, 1898 [Adelaide]
“You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to hear me? But I will not be alarmed though your sister does play so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.”
“I shall not say that you are mistaken,” he replied, “because you could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own.”
Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and said to Colonel Fitzwilliam, “Your cousin will give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am particularly unlucky in meeting with a person so well able to expose my real character, in a part of the world where I had hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my disadvantage in Hertfordshire — and, give me leave to say, very impolitic too — for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such things may come out as will shock your relations to hear.”
“I am not afraid of you,” said he smilingly.
“Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of,” cried Colonel Fitzwilliam. “I should like to know how he behaves among strangers.”
“You shall hear then — but prepare yourself for something very dreadful. The first time of my ever seeing him in Hertfordshire, you must know, was at a ball — and at this ball, what do you think he did? He danced only four dances! I am sorry to pain you — but so it was. He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting down in want of a partner. Mr. Darcy, you cannot deny the fact.”
“I had not at that time the honour of knowing any lady in the assembly beyond my own party.”
“True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ball room. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next? My fingers wait your orders.”
“Perhaps,” said Darcy, “I should have judged better had I sought an introduction; but I am ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers.”
“Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this?” said Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. “Shall we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers?”
“I can answer your question,” said Fitzwilliam, “without applying to him. It is because he will not give himself the trouble.”
“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”
“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault — because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman’s of superior execution.”
Darcy smiled and said, “You are perfectly right. You have employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you can think anything wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers.”
p. 135. [Elizabeth watching Mr. Darcy very closely!]
Anne de Bourgh. P&P 2005.
Elizabeth looked at Darcy to see how cordially he assented to his cousin’s praise; but neither at that moment nor at any other could she discern any symptom of love; and from the whole of his behaviour to Miss De Bourgh she derived this comfort for Miss Bingley, that he might have been just as likely to marry her, had she been his relation.
…when the door opened, and to her very great surprise Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy only, entered the room.
He seemed astonished too on finding her alone, and apologised for his intrusion by letting her know that he had understood all the ladies to be within.
p. 137… [the “50 miles of good road” discussion, each misunderstanding the other…]
“It must be very agreeable to her to be settled within so easy a distance of her own family and friends.”
“An easy distance, do you call it? It is nearly fifty miles.”
“And what is fifty miles of good road? Little more than half a day’s journey. Yes, I call it a very easy distance.”
“I should never have considered the distance as one of the advantages of the match,” cried Elizabeth. “I should never have said Mrs. Collins was settled near her family.”
“It is a proof of your own attachment to Hertfordshire. anything beyond the very neighbourhood of Longbourn, I suppose, would appear far.”
As he spoke there was a sort of smile which Elizabeth fancied she understood; he must be supposing her to be thinking of Jane and Netherfield, and she blushed as she answered …–
p. 138. [love this!]
Elizabeth looked surprised. The gentleman experienced some change of feeling; he drew back his chair, took a newspaper from the table, and, glancing over it, said, in a colder voice —
“Are you pleased with Kent?”
“What can be the meaning of this?” said Charlotte, as soon as he was gone. “My dear Eliza, he must be in love with you, or he would never have called on us in this familiar way.”
But when Elizabeth told of his silence, it did not seem very likely, even to Charlotte’s wishes, to be the case; and after various conjectures, they could at last only suppose his visit to proceed from the difficulty of finding anything to do, which was the more probable from the time of year. All field sports were over.
p. 139. [inside Charlotte’s head…]
But why Mr. Darcy came so often to the Parsonage it was more difficult to understand. It could not be for society, as he frequently sat there ten minutes together without opening his lips; and when he did speak, it seemed the effect of necessity rather than of choice — a sacrifice to propriety, not a pleasure to himself. He seldom appeared really animated. Mrs. Collins knew not what to make of him. Colonel Fitzwilliam’s occasionally laughing at his stupidity proved that he was generally different, which her own knowledge of him could not have told her; and as she would have liked to believe this change the effect of love, and the object of that love her friend Eliza, she set herself seriously to work to find it out. She watched him whenever they were at Rosings, and whenever he came to Hunsford; but without much success. He certainly looked at her friend a great deal, but the expression of that look was disputable. It was an earnest, steadfast gaze, but she often doubted whether there were much admiration in it, and sometimes it seemed nothing but absence of mind.
She had once or twice suggested to Elizabeth the possibility of his being partial to her, but Elizabeth always laughed at the idea; and Mrs. Collins did not think it right to press the subject, from the danger of raising expectations which might only end in disappointment; for in her opinion it admitted not of a doubt, that all her friend’s dislike would vanish, if she could suppose him to be in her power…
More than once did Elizabeth, in her ramble within the Park, unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was brought, and, to prevent its ever happening again, took care to inform him at first that it was a favourite haunt of hers. How it could occur a second time, therefore, was very odd! [Ha!] Yet it did, and even a third. It seemed like wilful ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, for on these occasions it was not merely a few formal enquiries and an awkward pause and then away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk with her. He never said a great deal, nor did she give herself the trouble of talking or of listening much; but it struck her in the course of their third rencontre that he was asking some odd unconnected questions –
p. 140. Elizabeth asks Col. Fitzwilliam:
“Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday?” said she.
“Yes — if Darcy does not put it off again. [my emphasis]But I am at his disposal. He arranges the business just as he pleases.”
“And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, he has at least great pleasure in the power of choice. I do not know anybody who seems more to enjoy the power of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy.”
p. 144. [after Elizabeth learns from Col. Fitzwilliam of Darcy’s intervention between Bingley and Jane]
When they were gone, Elizabeth, as if intending to exasperate herself as much as possible against Mr. Darcy, chose for her employment the examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her since her being in Kent.
p. 145. The Proposal: [his timing could not have been any worse!] –won’t put it all here… I direct you to re-read the whole thing! [pp. 144-48.] – or you can watch the 6.14 minute 1995 movie version here:
or the 4 minute, and very wet version here [P&P 2005]
-In spite of her deeply rooted dislike she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man’s affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger….
– she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer…. Etc, etc…
-Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantlepiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure…
Hugh Thomson, illus. P&P. George Allen, 1894.
That she should receive an offer of marriage from Mr. Darcy! that he should have been in love with her for so many months! — so much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which had made him prevent his friend’s marrying her sister, and which must appear at least with equal force in his own case — was almost incredible! — it was gratifying to have inspired unconsciously so strong an affection. But his pride, his abominable pride…
Chapter 12. [Elizabeth avoids meeting Darcy on her walk, but he finds her and passes her The Letter (he could not have delivered it any other way in order to protect her reputation…)]
C. E. Brock. “Would you do me the honour of reading that letter?” P&P. Macmillan 1895. Volume II, Ch. 12. [Mollands]
With no expectation of pleasure, but with the strongest curiosity, Elizabeth opened the letter, and, to her still increasing wonder, perceived an envelope containing two sheets of letter-paper…
The Letter: [like The Proposal, read this! pp. 150-56.]
Mr. Darcy writing The Letter – P&P 1995
Astonishment, apprehension, and even horror, oppressed her. She wished to discredit it entirely, repeatedly exclaiming, “This must be false! This cannot be! This must be the grossest falsehood!” — and when she had gone through the whole letter, though scarcely knowing anything of the last page or two, put it hastily away, protesting that she would not regard it, that she would never look in it again.
…that proud and repulsive as were his manners, she had never, in the whole course of their acquaintance — an acquaintance which had latterly brought them much together, and given her a sort of intimacy with his ways — seen anything that betrayed him to be unprincipled or unjust — anything that spoke him of irreligious or immoral habits: that among his own connexions he was esteemed and valued….
She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think without feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd.
“How despicably have I acted!” she cried; “I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable distrust. How humiliating is this discovery! yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other [my emphasis] on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself.”
p. 161. [Lady Catherine’s take on Darcy has always caused me a full laugh-out-loud moment:]
….“They were excessively sorry to go! But so they always are. The dear colonel rallied his spirits tolerably till just at last; but Darcy seemed to feel it most acutely; more, I think, than last year. His attachment to Rosings, certainly increases.”
p. 163. – another favorite! [underlines are my emphasis ]
Reflection must be reserved for solitary hours; whenever she was alone, she gave way to it as the greatest relief; and not a day went by without a solitary walk, in which she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections….
….Mr. Darcy’s letter she was in a fair way of soon knowing by heart. She studied every sentence; and her feelings towards its writer were at times widely different… and his disappointed feelings became the object of compassion. His attachment excited gratitude, his general character respect; but she could not approve him; nor could she for a moment repent her refusal, or feel the slightest inclination ever to see him again. [Ha!]
….it may be easily believed that the happy spirits which had seldom been depressed before, were now so much affected as to make it almost impossible for her to appear tolerably cheerful.
p. 166. [telling Jane about the Proposal]
To know that she had the power of revealing what would so exceedingly astonish Jane, and must, at the same time, so highly gratify whatever of her own vanity she had not yet been able to reason away….
p. 171. [Elizabeth to Jane about Wickham and Darcy]
“… There is but such a quantity of merit between them; just enough to make one good sort of man; and of late it has been shifting about pretty much. For my part, I am inclined to believe it all Mr. Darcy’s; but you shall do as you chuse.”
p. 172. Elizabeth to Jane:
“Oh! no, my regret and compassion are all done away by seeing you so full of both. I know you will do him [Darcy] such ample justice, that I am growing every moment more unconcerned and indifferent. Your profusion makes me saving; and if you lament over him much longer my heart will be as light as a feather.”
… [Elizabeth:] “And yet I meant to be uncommonly clever in taking so decided a dislike to him, without any reason. It is such a spur to one’s genius, such an opening for wit, to have a dislike of that kind. One may be continually abusive without saying anything just; but one cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.”
… [Elizabeth:] The general prejudice against Mr. Darcy is so violent, that it would be the death of half the good people in Meryton to attempt to place him in an amiable light….”
She [Elizabeth] felt anew the justice of Mr. Darcy’s objections; and never had she before been so much disposed to pardon his interference in the views of his friend.
With the mention of Derbyshire there were many ideas connected. It was impossible for her [Elizabeth] 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.”
p. 184. [Mrs. Gardiner to Elizabeth:]
“My love, should not you like to see a place of which you have heard so much?” said her aunt; “A place, too, with which so many of your acquaintance are connected. Wickham passed all his youth there, you know.”
Elizabeth was distressed. She felt that she had no business at Pemberley, and was obliged to assume a disinclination for seeing it. She must own that she was tired of great houses; after going over so many, she really had no pleasure in fine carpets or satin curtains….
Elizabeth said no more — but her mind could not acquiesce. The possibility of meeting Mr. Darcy, while viewing the place, instantly occurred. It would be dreadful! She blushed at the very idea, and thought it would be better to speak openly to her aunt than to run such a risk…
…and her alarms being now removed, she was at leisure to feel a great deal of curiosity to see the house herself; and when the subject was revived the next morning, and she was again applied to, could readily answer, and with a proper air of indifference, that she had not really any dislike to the scheme. — To Pemberley, therefore, they were to go.
Lyme Park, a.k.a. Pemberley P&P 1995
End of Volume II – anything I missed that you want to share?
Stay tuned for Volume III!
*Page citations from: Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. James Kinsley. Introd. Fiona Stafford. New York: Oxford UP, 2008.