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|Darcy's fresh approach to romance (Long!)
Written by Ramya
(5/1/2013 10:07 p.m.)
An unexpected meeting at Pemberley puts Lizzy in Darcy's path again. Even though he is flustered and embarrassed, he immediately displays evidences of changed behavior. This suggests that Darcy's changes have begun internally before--this is not the result of a moment's inspiration to impress Lizzy.
For instance, when Darcy meets Lizzy at the Collinses house on his first visit there, his behaviour is quite formal "after having addressed a slight observation on the house and garden to Mrs. Collins, sat for some time without speaking to anybody. At length, however, his civility was so far awakened as to inquire of Elizabeth after the health of her family." Ch. 30. On the other hand, at the accidental encounter of Pemberley, Darcy's manner is widely different--he is not stiff as before, but he starts making enquiries about her family immediately. And his behaviour, so strikingly altered -- what could it mean? That he should even speak to her was amazing! -- but to speak with such civility, to inquire after her family! Never in her life had she seen his manners so little dignified, never had he spoken with such gentleness as on this unexpected meeting. Ch. 43
While he insulted Lizzy's connections during his proposal, he now turns around and actively starts cultivating those very same relations. I do not know what Darcy would have done had Mr. Gardiner turned out to be the male version of Mrs. Bennet, but luckily, Darcy gets the opportunity to understand that people of a lower social scale can be acquaintances worth cultivating. when she saw him thus civil, not only to herself, but to the very relations whom he had openly disdained, and recollected their last lively scene in Hunsford Parsonage -- the difference, the change was so great, and struck so forcibly on her mind, that she could hardly restrain her astonishment from being visible. Ch. 44
In his initial non-courtship of Lizzy, he is constantly on the lookout to lessen his feelings or tries to be careful to not raise her hopes. But now, he actively and openly seeks her company and begins to display his intentions, but at the same time, he does this in a gentle and sensitive manner. Never, even in the company of his dear friends at Netherfield, or his dignified relations at Rosings, had she seen him so desirous to please, so free from self-consequence or unbending reserve, as now, when no importance could result from the success of his endeavours, and when even the acquaintance of those to whom his attentions were addressed would draw down the ridicule and censure of the ladies both of Netherfield and Rosings. Ch. 44
Darcy team-tagged with Caroline Bingley in criticizing Lizzy or her relations before. Even after Darcy began to be attracted to Lizzy, he did not always refute all of the critical remarks Miss Bingley directed towards her. For instance, he agrees with Caroline that he wouldn't have wanted his own sister to have shown up at someone's doorstep with muddy petticoats. However, at Pemberley, Darcy openly states his admiration for Lizzy, and shuts poor Caroline Bingley up. "Yes," replied Darcy, who could contain himself no longer, "but that was only when I first knew her; for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance." Ch. 45
Unfortunately, these tentative steps Darcy has been taking towards wooing Elizabeth like a true gentleman and a "gentle" man are curtailed by the Lydia/Wickham debacle. Will Darcy wait for another accident to bring him to Elizabeth again, or will he actively seek her out? Will the taint of Wickham's connection to the Bennets be enough to keep him away from her? We shall see...
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