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|What did Darcy think the Colonel knew?
Written by Christopher
(5/6/2010 6:45 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Insensitive Joking, penned by Robbin
While Darcy is bright, he probably would did not think that the Colonel could have figured out who was involved. Darcy told the Colonel a generic story and the Colonel put that together with bits of knowledge he had (Darcy was with Bingley all summer, Bingley is the sort to get into that sort of scrape). Darcy undoubtedly thought carefully about what he said to ensure he didn't give away the identities. He just failed to think someone could put it together into an actual identity. If no names could be attached, Darcy may have felt there was little danger involved.
An added possibility is that Colonel Fitzwilliam gets carried away in his enthusiasm for Elizabeth and doesn't do a very good job of thinking through what he is about to say. It is a way to continue an interesting conversation.
What did Lady Catherine have to say about Elizabeth? I am sure she would have explained about the entail. That would have required the explanation that there were no sons and probably to the fact that there were five daughters who had no governess. Its hard to know if she would have included the precise location of the family. She might have mentioned Longbourn, but not necessarily Meryton. The Colonel may know that Bingley rented Netherfield, but also may not have known that Meryton was nearby.
There is also the possibility that the Colonel is sufficiently taken with Elizabeth to dismiss the possibility that there could be any objection to a family that produced her. Therefore, it is impossible that Darcy's story would relate to Elizabeth's family.
I see enough holes in the chain of understanding to be able to believe that it could have occurred as written. Thank you Jane Austen!
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