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|Darcy's comments about Lizzy
Written by BarbaraB
(4/16/2013 8:48 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Intentions, penned by Therese
There were just some things that should not have been said in public and one should have taken the assumption, not that it might not be overheard, but that it could be overheard. It doesn't matter whether Darcy thought he might have been overheard or didn't realize he was overheard, but that he, in fact, was overheard. He looked at Lizzy and could have easily gaged the distance and the possibility of being overheard but that's neither hear nor there. The one sure and correct way to have avoided the whole thing was to have been the gentleman he, I'm sure prided himself on being, and never have uttered the words in the first place.
When Mrs. Bennet is vulgarly broadcasting her expectations about Jane soon becoming engaged to Bingley at Netherfield and not caring who is within earshot, Darcy is being no better, and in fact is perhaps being worse because he is personally disparaging someone in public, a lady, no less, who has done nothing to deserve such a response heard or unheard. There were numerous ways for Darcy to have made it clear to Bingley that he was not in the mood for dancing without getting personal in a public situation. If he wanted to say negative things about the people of Meryton or any individual, the time would have been when they were at Netherfield discussing the ball amongst themselves. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with memory but simply a matter of being polite and thoughtful. Why even take a chance on hurting someone's feelings unnecessarily? It's true Lizzy responded in a humorous manner but Darcy didn't know that about her, that her personality was such a one as this, nor does the fact that she did respond that way mean that she didn't feel some hurt as well. Why even take the chance of having to know or not know that you hurt someone or were responsible for making someone feel bad or uncomfortable? The only reasons I can come up with are selfishness, thoughtlessness, feelings of superiority and/or ignorance.
I agree with your thoughts that Jane Austen uses overheard conversations in her plots, certainly to her advantage. But all the situations are not the same. Lucy Steele manipulates a situation where she can have a 'private' conversation with Elinor and was successful but as there were other people in the room, there was no guarantee. People can claim to be having a private conversation but if others are around, and sometimes even when you can't see them, (Anne Elliot overhearing Louisa and Capt. Wentworth) you have to consider the possibility of others hearing something you don't want them to hear or should care that they shouldn't hear. Just my humble opinion. :)
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