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|Lizzy at Netherfield, Part 2 (Long)
Written by Robbin
(4/18/2010 10:36 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lizzy at Netherfield, Part 1 (Long), penned by Robbin
This is a continuation of post 43669 tracking how Lizzy feels about Darcy. This post will cover the events of Ch. 11 until her and Jane’s return to Longbourn in Ch. 12. Lizzy still does not like Darcy, knows he does not admire her and thinks he enjoys making sport of her. (Chapter 11) In the evening Caroline is up to her usual attempts to draw Darcy’s attention and engage him in conversation to no avail. Jane is recovered so well she has come to the drawing room after dinner. Bingley’s “diffuseness and warmth… joy and attention” to Jane pleases Lizzy who “at work in the opposite corner, saw it all with great delight” it seems leaving her no attention for Caroline & Darcy’s amusing performances with their books.
Caroline attempts to impress Darcy with her affection for reading and disdain for dancing then being an excellent walker, she parades her elegant figure around room for his admiration but he remains “inflexibly studious” refusing to oblige her with so much as a look. She invites Lizzy to join her. It is obvious Caroline realizes Lizzy draws Darcy’s attention but Lizzy either does not see it or just assumes it is her defects that are the lure. Invited to join in their turn about the room Darcy refuses and teasingly suggests two reasons he would only be in their way thus animating an agony in Caroline to understand him. Lizzy suggests his intention is to criticize and “our surest way of disappointing him will be to ask nothing about it” however Caroline, unable to disappoint, applies for his explanations only to feign shock at his answer: “you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking… I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire”. Caroline applies to Lizzy for a suitable punishment for such a speech and receives “Tease him -- laugh at him”.
However teasing Darcy is not in Caroline’s plan but flattery always is claiming “we will not… laugh without a subject. Mr. Darcy may hug himself” unintentionally providing Lizzy with his perfection to tease him about. Lizzy says, he has “an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope it will continue, for… I dearly love a laugh" which seems to put a bee in Darcy’s bonnet. Apparently Darcy feels Caroline has flattered him too much and tells Lizzy even the wisest men and their actions “may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke” to which Lizzy seems to say “who me?” She disavowals ridiculing what is wise or good but confesses “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, do divert me, I own” and supposes that is exactly what he is without. Darcy does not claim being without but says “it has been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding to ridicule” allowing Lizzy the opportunity to quiz him about what weaknesses he has avoided:
"Such as vanity and pride."
Obviously Lizzy finds the opinion his pride is under good regulation ridiculous and it is too her credit that she hides her smile from a man so deluded he would probably be offended. Lizzy’s persistence in dubbing him a man who believes he is without fault inspires Darcy to reveal what he feels is his fault—a temper “too little yielding” towards others expectations, unable to see past the “follies and vices of others so soon as I ought” and resentful in being unable to forget “their offences against myself” with feelings that cannot be “puffed about with every attempt to move them” even going to far to say “My good opinion once lost is lost for ever” which I think particularly strikes Lizzy. She agrees “implacable resentment” pertaining, I think to his last, is not amusing and he is safe from her ridicule. His comment about never changing a bad opinion to good probably confirms to Lizzy that he still thinks meanly of her and always will. It is clear Lizzy does not appreciate the value of such a confession—what it reveals about Darcy’s character—a willingness for self examination or what it reveals about his opinion of her—a willingness to expose himself to her and a desire for her good opinion.
I don’t think in saying “There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil -- a natural defect” that Darcy was preparing to criticize Lizzy but it seems to me she does. She beats him to the punch saying “your defect is a propensity to hate everybody” which may be a reflection on his disdain for others as seen by many at the assembly, perhaps his views on accomplished woman and in the yielding to a friend argument. He smilingly returns with “And yours… "is wilfully to misunderstand them” perhaps referring to her assertions he planed to criticize or ridicule her at times during her visit, and his belief in his own perfection. His smile suggests he may believe she is merely being playfully contrary, remember (Ch. 10) there is “a mixture of sweetness and archness in her manner which made it difficult for her to affront anybody”. (Chapter 12) On their last day at Netherfield Darcy pretty much ignores Lizzy to destroy any hope that may have been inspired by his attentions to her over the last few days but how Lizzy feels about it specifically is not said, generally she is happy to be leaving and I don’t see that she has had any revelations.
Lizzy’s stay at Netherfield merely reaffirms her opinion of him as a prideful disagreeable man with little consideration for others. Her belief in his ill opinion of her does not allow her to see his reserved attentions to her in a better light. She is of course wrong about his opinion of her and that he is out to make sport of her but it appears her feelings are not easily puffed about. Had he an inclination, Darcy would have to do something rather more extraordinary than what passed at Netherfield to make Lizzy forget his follies, vices and offenses against her. Perhaps he has lost her good opinion forever! (:D)
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