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|Agitations & Astonishment - Darcy
Written by Robbin
(5/21/2010 1:28 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Agitations & Affirmation - Wickham, penned by Robbin
My focus on Lizzy’s feelings about the men in her life continues. Wickham’s behavior prior to leaving for Brighton confirmed his duplicity to Lizzy and I think for Darcy her feelings remain mixed—dislike of his manners and scruples (34 & 35) but regrets her unjustified accusations against him and feels some compassion for his pain at her refusal. This post will cover Ch. 43. Although Lizzy ecstatically told Mrs. Gardiner “What are men to rocks and mountains?” (27) when Derbyshire is mentioned as the northern boundary of their tour Lizzy automatically thinks of Darcy and hopes she “may enter his county with impunity... without his perceiving me” (42) suggesting she does not wish to meet him. This is confirmed when Mrs. Gardiner wishes to visit Pemberley.
Despite a great curiosity Lizzy feels “she had no business at Pemberley” considering her past with Darcy. Her embarrassment is so acute she considers confiding her reasons to her aunt if there is a possibility of meeting him. Lizzy admits to herself “a great deal of curiosity” to see Pemberley but I think her “proper air of indifference” in agreeing to go is a deception to conceal her mixed feelings about its owner from the Gardiners. When she enters Pemberley grounds (43) Lizzy’s “spirits were in a high flutter” and her “mind was too full for conversation” for she has only reason enough for delighted and warm admiration of the grounds:
She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!
As other’s have said before I think Lizzy’s praise of the natural beauties of Pemberley and her idea it is little spoiled by an awkward taste is admiration for its owner—wise enough to let nature alone rather than contriving for artificial beauties. Lizzy admires his taste again in feeling the furniture is suitable to fortune yet “neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less of splendor, and more real elegance”. He is not falsely humble or pretentious, values elegance rather than ostentation and utility over show. Lizzy recalls she might have welcomed her friends to Pemberley as her own. It seems Darcy is no longer the last man in the world Lizzy could marry but his scruples about her connections forces her to recollect “my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me” saving her from something like regret.
Mrs. Reynolds, herself a surprise, as Lizzy found her “much less fine, and more civil” than she expected is astonished when the housekeeper firmly contradicts her opinions of Darcy’s resentful temper by praising his merits as a brother, as the best landlord & master unlike “wild young men” who think only of themselves. She even disputes his pride saying he does not “rattle away” like other young men. Lizzy had “listened, wondered, doubted” all the while impatient to hear more. She thinks in what an “amiable light” he is placed and in his portrait saw “such a smile over the face as she remembered to have sometimes seen when he looked at her” and she felt:
a more gentle sensation towards the original… As a brother, a landlord, a master… how many people's happiness were in his guardianship! …she thought of his regard with a deeper sentiment of gratitude … remembered its warmth, and softened its impropriety of expression. (43)
Meeting Darcy, Lizzy is uncomfortable and amazed at his perfect civility and manners “so little dignified, never had he spoken with such gentleness” so different from his “haughty composure” (35) of their last meeting—she is amazed he speaks to her at all. His civility increases her embarrassment when the idea of the impropriety her visit occurs. After he departs Lizzy is “overpowered by shame and vexation” pondering in what “a disgraceful light might it not strike so vain a man” as it might appear she is throwing herself in his way.
At his second approach Lizzy wonders “if he really intended to meet them” yet she finds him still civil. Trying to imitate, she admires the beauties around her but is soon too embarrassed to go on because praise from her might be “mischievously construed” but rather than censure he surprises by asking for an introduction to her friends and then by attending “such disgraceful companions” playing the host extraordinaire. At the first opportunity she says she had been “assured of his absence” to discourage any mortifying ideas he may have that she designed to meet him again but instead of any feeling of censure she is flattered and pleased to accept an introduction to his sister believing it “a compliment of the highest kind”. Lizzy continually asks herself could her reproofs have worked such a change in him and is it possible he still loves her.
Lizzy’s journey though Pemberley house and grounds gives her a different, gentler perspective on Darcy’s temperament and his abominable pride, pride that squirmed at the thought of taking her trade connections as his own. Pemberley and Mrs. Reynolds contribute but his kindness and really attentive behavior to her and the Gardiners while astonishing is gratifying as well. Lizzy does not easily give up her last remaining critical opinions of Darcy. She continually doubted his intent of civility only to be proven wrong by his actions but she realizes “his resentment had not made him think really ill” of her. When the Gardiners mention their “poor friend” she felt obligated to (defend) say “something in vindication of his behaviour” to Wickham. Darcy’s graciousness leaves Lizzy thinking and wondering about his intent towards her. (;D)
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