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|Looking white or red
Written by Robbin
(4/21/2013 12:07 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The white and the red. Chapter 15, penned by Srirup
Mr. Darcy…was beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on Elizabeth, when they were suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger, and Elizabeth, happening to see the countenance of both as they looked at each other, was all astonishment at the effect of the meeting. Both changed colour; one looked white, the other red. Mr. Wickham, after a few moments, touched his hat -- a salutation which Mr. Darcy just deigned to return. What could be the meaning of it? -- It was impossible to imagine; it was impossible not to long to know. (15)
I tried to deduce who looked white and who looked red from how Darcy and Wickham react to and about the other in this week’s chapters—kind of reverse detecting. Of Darcy Wickham says “You could not have met with a person more capable of giving you certain information…I have been connected with his family…from my infancy” (16). I think Darcy could say the same thing—he has the power to expose Wickham’s past and background the same as Wickham can expose his past and background. Wickham claims “Oh! no -- it is not for me to be driven away by Mr. Darcy. If he wishes to avoid seeing me, he must go” (16) yet he decides to pass on the Netherfield ball. Wickham also tells his story of being Darcy’s victim to everyone only after the Netherfield party has returned to town. All this suggests Wickham is afraid of Darcy, perhaps of what he might say about their past. After all as we find out Wickham has a story to tell wherein he is the undisputed angel and Darcy the undisputed villain. I suggest he ‘looked white’ (15) due to fear.
In Ch. 15 Darcy is arrested by the sight of Wickham forgetting about Lizzy. Wickham acknowledges Darcy with a touch of his hat which Darcy just deigned to return. Being the higher ranked Darcy could have bowed or initiated conversation but chooses not to recognize him further showing a lack of respect. Lizzy mentions Wickham at the ball, it has an immediate effect. Lizzy notes ‘A deeper shade of hauteur overspread his features’ (18). Darcy’s reaction in Ch. 15 shows superiority but at length Darcy relates in a constrained, stiff (anger but in check?) manner that Wickham easily makes friends but “whether he may be equally capable of retaining them, is less certain” (18). Wickham is not what he seems. Darcy does not want to talk about it. Later he gravely says “I can readily believe…that report may vary greatly with respect to me” (18). He thinks Wickham has spoken ill of him yet he does not follow-up which suggests no fear. I think Darcy displays controlled anger and contempt for Wickham so he looked red at the accidental meeting. (:D)
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