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|Regret, Hope & Joy
Written by Robbin
(5/23/2010 7:23 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Discomposure & Gratification, penned by Robbin
This is the last post on my focus, Lizzy feelings about the men in her life, how they grew and changed though the story. We are left really only with Darcy. Before Lizzy left Lambton she realized she could have loved Darcy and she watched him go with regret. This post will cover her feelings from 47 to the end. (:D)
Lizzy’s feelings about Darcy continue after she returns home and she admits to herself “had she known nothing of Darcy, she could have borne the dread of Lydia's infamy somewhat better” (48). She also wishes she had not confided in him when Lydia’s marriage gives the “proper termination to the elopement” (50) and some hope its unfavorable beginning could be concealed from folks “not immediately on the spot” in Brighton. Lizzy has now a faithful trust in Darcy and a strong desire for his good opinion although she does not feel she has any personal stake to gain or loose. She only wants him to think well of her:
She had no fear of its spreading farther through his means. There were few people on whose secrecy she would have more confidently depended; but, at the same time, there was no one whose knowledge of a sister's frailty would have mortified her so much -- not, however, from any fear of disadvantage from it individually to herself, for, at any rate, there seemed a gulf impassable between them. (50)
Lizzy’s thoughts are full of regret for what might have been. To her Lydia’s marriage to Wickham is a death blow to reviving any hope Darcy could still be interested in her. I think Lizzy shows distinct symptoms of being in love with Darcy aside from desiring his good opinion:
She was humbled, she was grieved; she repented, though she hardly knew of what. She became jealous of his esteem, when she could no longer hope to be benefited by it. She wanted to hear of him, when there seemed the least chance of gaining intelligence. She was convinced that she could have been happy with him, when it was no longer likely they should meet. (50)
She would accept him if he were to offer again:
What a triumph for him, as she often thought, could he know that the proposals which she had proudly spurned only four months ago, would now have been gladly and gratefully received! He was as generous, she doubted not, as the most generous of his sex; but while he was mortal, there must be a triumph. (50)
Lizzy’s idea that Darcy could not help but feel some triumph at his escape is pretty much the same feeling she had when he left her at the inn in Lambton only multiplied because now she has a sister mired in infamy but also a brother Darcy rightly despises. I don’t think she uses the word triumph as believing he would take any satisfaction from her situation only that being connected to Wickham would be abhorrent to him. Lizzy is also now able to see how well they are a match for each other:
She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance. …But no such happy marriage could now teach the admiring multitude what connubial felicity really was. (50)
Lizzy’s thoughts about softening Darcy’s mind and manners I think is rather sweet and reminds me of Ch. 31 and her advice to practice recommending himself to strangers—Lizzy now wishes she could help him with that practice. After Lydia reveals it, Lizzy is filled with conjectures as to why Darcy would attend Lydia’s wedding and those “that best pleased her, as placing his conduct in the noblest light, seemed most improbable” (51). However Aunt Gardiner’s letter confirms his goodness and her obligation.
Lizzy’s “heart did whisper that he had done it for her” (52) but her vanity was insufficient for hope that affection for her, who had already refused him, could overcome disgust at such a brother. Lizzy credits that his regard for her might have assisted his “endeavours in a cause where her peace of mind must be materially concerned” (52). Lizzy attributes his actions to righting a wrong he set in motion and gives him credit for kindness towards her but is reluctant to believe he did it for her.
It was painful, exceedingly painful, to know that they were under obligations to a person who could never receive a return. They owed the restoration of Lydia, her character, everything to him. Oh! how heartily did she grieve over every ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every saucy speech she had ever directed towards him. For herself, she was humbled; but she was proud of him. Proud that in a cause of compassion and honour he had been able to get the better of himself. (52)
As my Lizzy focus has centered on her feelings about potential lovers I am heading for the end very quickly since I feel by Ch. 52 her regard for all has been settled. Her last meeting with Wickham (52), which comes after she received Aunt Gardiner’s letter, only served to further her disgust in him and I have nothing else to add on his account. (:D) I think Lizzy’s view, and why she thought badly of Charlotte for choosing Mr. Collins, is that it is only proper to marry when respect and affection for your partner are present. I feel Lizzy has really hit a larger jackpot.
Lizzy did respect Darcy when she left Hunsford but she did not approve him. His still “ardent love” for her and graciousness at Pemberley and his real generosity in saving Lydia inspires gratitude and affection for him one adding to the other. I agree with the narrator that “gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection” (46) and therefore a good foundation for happiness. I think Lady Catherine’s visit (56) reaffirms to Lizzy how different Darcy is from his aunt and I love her spirit in saying, about accepting an offer from him, that she is “resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness” (56). Finally she learns that he thought only of her in saving Lydia which I believe ought to make her care for him all the more. Lizzy’s declaration to Darcy’s second proposal is modest but very heartfelt:
Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances. …and he told her of feelings which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable. (58)
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