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|What Lizzy hears about Wickham at the Ball
Written by Kathryn Ann
(4/30/2010 3:27 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lizzy at the Netherfield Ball, penned by Robbin
Here I want to pick up on your points about what Lizzy hears about Wickham at the ball, which I will copy here: After failing to find confirmation of Wickham’s story from Darcy her dissatisfaction grows when first Caroline and then Jane (who speaks for Bingley) both offer only denials to the truth of it. Their belief in Darcy’s innocence without anymore proof than his word and dependence on his good character earns Lizzy’s resentment. It does not strike her their bias for Darcy resembles her own bias in favor of Wickham nor does the fact they have known Darcy longer than she Wickham and thus might have a better right to such a bias. I don’t blame Lizzy for not believing them in favor of her own views of Darcy which are based on her experience with him but she does miss the similarities of their stances.
I will also not blame Lizzy for not believing Caroline and Bingley, and you point out that she misses the similarities of her stance on Wickham to theirs on Darcy, but I must blame her for dismissing these accounts out of hand. Dismissing Caroline, I can forgive. But she also quickly dismissed what Jane tells her, adn Jane has spoken to both Bingley and his sister: Mr. Bingley does not know the whole of his history, and is quite ignorant of the circumstances which have principally offended Mr. Darcy; but he will vouch for the good conduct, the probity, and honour of his friend, and is perfectly convinced that Mr. Wickham has deserved much less attention from Mr. Darcy than he has received; and I am sorry to say that by his account as well as his sister's, Mr. Wickham is by no means a respectable young man. I am afraid he has been very imprudent, and has deserved to lose Mr. Darcy's regard."
When Lizzy presses Jane, she admits that Bingley does not know Wickham himself, but that while "He does not exactly recollect the circumstances, though he has heard them from Mr. Darcy more than once, but he believes that it was left to him conditionally only."
So, Mr. Darcy is unwilling to be drawn into more than a brief mention of Wickham, Bingley has heard about Wickham and the living more than once, Caroline has heard at least some part of the story, and perhaps Louisa as well as we do not know which sister Jane refers to above. Lizzy has no reason to disbelieve Bingley, and yet she supposes at this point that he is unacquainted with several parts of the story, and has learnt the rest from that friend so he cannot possibly have drawn conclusions as accurate as her own.
I am disappointed in Lizzy for not giving more consideration to what she hears from Bingley via Jane. She is not such a precise studier of others as she claims to be.
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