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|I agree with Stephanie's interpretation of this sentence.
Written by Connie
(5/12/2010 1:00 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Darcy's mistake was also to ..., penned by Kathi
He does not want to play to her vanity. Other men have chosen not to dance with her, and he is not in the mood to go out of his way to make her feel better about herself--assuming she is embarassed or otherwise hurt by being without a partner. There may be a subtle hint that the "other men" were of less social consequence than he, but this is debatable.
I think the residents of Meryton, etc. interpreted his behavior as being snobbish, but are we ever told by Darcy or the ON that it was? I might have forgotten something. If not, I still think it is open to interpretation. As I have written elsewhere, I think Darcy thought the behavior commonly required at a ball was beneath him--not necessarily the people in attendance. We are told he was continually giving offense, so I don't think the Meryton crowd was being treated differently than most other assemblies of strangers.
IMHO, he saw such behavior as being vain and encouraging others to be vain. He was not a conversationalist, he knew none of the people beyond his own party, so if others expected him to dance, make small talk, etc.--too bad! He wasn't there for their pleasure! Why should his behavior depend on other people's expectations of him? He was a gentleman, and that should speak for itself. (The irony, of course, if this was his thinking, is that it caused him to act throughout the novel in an ungentlemanly way, as Lizzy pointedly said at the proposal.)
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