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|Ch.14 +15: Wordless information-gathering
Written by Line
(4/14/2013 4:43 p.m.)
Ch.14: Mr. Bennet's expectations were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance, and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.
It's not surprising that Elizabeth can tell how amused her father is, despite his "most resolute composure of countenance", since she knows him well, shares his sense of humour, and they've already agreed that Mr. Collins cannot be a sensible man, but this is another example of wordless information-gathering where the subject of observation is doing his best to hide his real feelings.
Ch.15: Not only does Elizabeth notice what happens when Darcy and Wickham meet, but we are told that "In another minute Mr. Bingley, but without seeming to have noticed what passed, took leave and rode on with his friend."
This one stands out for me, because for years I interpreted this passage to mean that Bingley really *didn't* notice what had happened between the other two men. It wasn't until a discussion here at Pemberley that I realized JA was strongly hinting that Bingley noticed what happened as well as Elizabeth, and was extricating his friend from an uncomfortable situation.
Can I just say how much I like Bingley? All the adaptations (especially, but not only, P&P3) make him less bright and less able to think for himself than he really is in the novel, yet here he shows a good sense of observation, kindness, loyalty and considerable tact. We are not told specifically whether *Elizabeth* recognizes Bingley's diplomacy for what it is, but I tend to think she does. If so, this is yet another example of Elizabeth coming to the correct conclusion despite the subject of her observation trying to hide what he is really doing.
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