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|Deception in Ch. 29-34 (long)
Written by Connie
(4/30/2010 3:25 p.m.)
Ch. 29. Lizzy "believed [Lady Catherine] to be exactly what [Wickham] had represented."
Ch. 30. Lizzy suspects Mr. Darcy may have known that Jane was in London.
Ch. 31. At Rosings, Darcy tells Lizzy he knows you find great enjoyment in ocassionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own. What instances can he be thinking of? Well, back at Netherfield, she said Darcy had a propensity to hate everybody. That was when he accused her of wilfull[y] misunderstanding them. In general, I think that her arch manner has made him think she did not really mean the critical comments she has made about himself.
Lizzy tells Col. Fitzwilliam that Darcy is 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. Such a statement can only encourage Darcy to think that he has interpreted her correctly. It also implies that Lizzy wished to deceive people about her real character. I agree with Darcy that she had no intention of any such thing.
Ch. 32. Lizzy speaks frankly to Darcy about her view of Mr. Collins.
Charlotte believes that Lizzy would accept Darcy if he were to propose, because she does not really believe personal dislike would override the value of such an establishment as Darcy could give her. Like Lizzy earlier, she assumes her friend will act in the same manner she herself would, instead of according to Lizzy's stated philosophy of marriage.
Ch. 33 When Darcy meets Lizzy walking at Rosings, she gives him a "hint" that it is a favorite walk for her. She hopes it will make him avoid it in the future. Instead, he seems to take the hint as encouragement to seek out her company. He talks to her as if she will stay at Rosings during future visits to Hunsford. She thinks this a reference to Col. Fitzwilliam. He is thinking of himself. Her accepting this inference proabably gives further encouragement to him that she will accept his suit.
Ch. 34. Darcy's proposal. Darcy had no doubt of a favorable answer. Lizzy sees this as indication of pride, which it is in part, but if we pay close attention to all the times, especially since coming to Rosings, that Darcy thinks she is encouraging him, it is understandable.
During this whole scene, Darcy speaks frankly to Lizzy, and she replies in kind. Neither scruples to hide offensive feelings. Lizzy drops all archness from her speech, so there can be no doubt of her meaning.
Darcy refers to his honest confession of scruples. He says, These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination... But disguise of every sort is an abhorrence to me.
Let's examine this. First, I think that he at least partly understands Lizzy's character. It was his initial insult at the ball in Meryton that made her prejudiced against him. Not knowing what Wickham has told her, or how much Jane was attached to Bingley, he might really think that she spoke out of hurt pride. He is right in so far as, if he had proposed before Wickham came to Meryton, while Bingley was still courting Jane, she still would have refused him.
She says, From the very beginning--from the first moment, I may almost say--of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance...were such as to form that groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a result. I think we can deduce from this that if he had flattered her and danced with her at Meryton, she might not have thought him so arrogant.
What about his statement that disguise of every sort is my abhorrence? I cannot think of any wilfull disgiuse on his part yet that we know of--except his struggles to hide his growing feelings for Lizzy, and his emotions in this very conversation. (For example, he has a smile of affected incredulity at Lizzy's accusations, and answers her with assumed tranquility. Given the circumstances, I don't really blame him for theses subterfuges.) We do not yet know how much of Wickham's story was true. Nor do we know if he used deceit in persuading Bingley to stay away from Jane.
I think we might here understand a little better (without excusing) his behavior at that first assembly. Darcy values frankness more than he values manners. He apparently loathes the kind of insincere flattery we see in Caroline Bingley. Perhaps what he really thinks beneath him is using charming manners to gain others' good opinion, rather than letting his character speak for itself. If he is a man of good character, why need he be obsequious? If he has been flattered by insincere people much of his life, he may despise those little compliments Mr. Collins likes to give to ladies. In short, he is used to people flattering him, not the other way around.
What he fails to see is that people will think his bad manners indicate a bad character. There is a middle way between flattery and the "sincere confession" he made Lizzy. He can refrain from stating his criticisms. Honesty does not demand them, and good manners demands sometimes suppressing them. He fails to see that one can avoid cavalierly offending others without being dishonest. His pride may be in good regulation when it keeps him from being a people pleaser. But it's not excusable at all when it causes him to be continually giving offense.
Lizzy reflects on all he has said and decides it is almost incredible that he could love her in spite of all his objections.
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