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|Lizzy at Hunsford – Reboot (long)
Written by Robbin
(5/11/2010 11:45 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lizzy at Hunsford - The Crash (long), penned by Robbin
This is a continuation of my focus, Lizzy’s changing feelings about the men in her life, Darcy, Wickham and Col Fitzwilliam at Hunsford in chapters 35 to 38. (:D) Lizzy awakes the morning after the proposal still surprised and completely absorbed by what had happened. Darcy finds Lizzy and gives her a letter. Lizzy eagerly begins with the “strongest curiosity” and “no expectation of pleasure” from what he has to say and “a strong prejudice against everything” he might say.
Lizzy disbelieves Darcy thought Jane indifferent and his recounting of his scruples “made her too angry” to care if she did him justice. Darcy expressed no regret which could satisfy her and his style was “all pride and insolence” but she starts to see the alarming possibility of truth in his account of Wickham. For “for a few moments, she flattered herself that her wishes did not err” however further examination with what “she meant to be impartiality” every line “proved more clearly” the possibility Darcy was blameless. Comparing what Darcy says of Wickham to what she knew of his history and his behavior in Hertfordshire Lizzy finally realizes she has been mistaken about the both:
She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think without feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd.
Although Lizzy begins reading Darcy’s letter with bias against him and the expectation it will not change her opinions she reluctantly admits the possibility, then the probability and then the certainty it is Darcy who has been Wickham’s victim all along. Lizzy’s humiliation at her failures of vanity and pride reminds me of Darcy’s mortification in finding that after disparaging Lizzy quite determinedly, to himself and his friends, (6) he did indeed find her physically and intellectually attractive. They both also relinquish something dear in conceding their error. To see the truth about Lizzy he had to admit his prejudiced opinion a lady of her social status was unworthy was wrong and to see Darcy clearly she had to relinquish the good man Wickham she had so much admired.
Lizzy rereads Darcy’s explanation about Jane and remembers Charlotte’s opinion “it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded” (6). Lizzy condemns herself for being “blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd” (36) in her judgments of Darcy & Wickham but although Darcy admitted he was biased (wished Jane to be indifferent) she does not condemn him for it, I guess, because "Neither could she deny the justice of his description of Jane" (36). I suppose, Lizzy could not object to Darcy’s suggesting to Bingley that Jane’s indifference was a reason against the match since that is he what he believed. Considering Lizzy’s feelings about Charlotte’s unequal, unaffectionate marriage and now also Wickham’s unfeeling designs on Miss King she would be a hypocrite to do so.
After Darcy’s letter Lizzy's concerns for Wickham and Col Fitzwilliam disappear but Darcy’s letter permeates her thoughts. Although it was “almost impossible for her to appear tolerably cheerful” (37) at Rosings she is amused to imagine Lady Catherine’s indignation if she was introduced as her future niece and for once appreciates her questioning as it stops her from dwelling on Darcy’s letter which she does whenever she is alone. Lizzy also has opposing feelings about Darcy. She feels indignant about the style of his proposal but turns her anger on herself when she considers how “unjustly she had condemned and upbraided him” and “his disappointed feelings became the object of compassion” however his attachment “excited gratitude” and his general character respect.
Lizzy departs Hunsford knowing Darcy is not the villain she had once believed but she still cannot approve him; nor regret rejecting his offer nor wish to meet with him again. What exactly does she still disapprove? I think his treatment of others—the style of his proposal still makes her indignant and I do not suppose she likes his manners anymore than before. I think Lizzy still questions his right “to decide on the propriety of his friend's inclination” as in Ch. 33. Lizzy was wrong about Wickham but she was right in saying “His guilt and his descent” (18) are not the same so I don’t think she feels Darcy was justified in separating Bingley from Jane by “the evils” of the match especially since by his own account they would not have prevented Bingley from marrying Jane. (:D)
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