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|Reader’s knowledge vs. Lizzy’s: Pemberley chapters (long)
Written by amytat
(5/3/2013 11:31 p.m.)
After a number of chapters where we don’t learn a whole lot outside of Elizabeth’s perspective the Pemberley chapters give us a lot of information she doesn’t have (though perhaps not as much as we get in the earlier chapters).
We are given some background that confirms one of Elizabeth’s earlier thoughts, “To no creature had [Geogiana’s history with Wickham] been revealed, where secresy was possible, except to Elizabeth; and from all Bingley's connexions her brother was particularly anxious to conceal it, from that very wish which Elizabeth had long ago attributed to him, of their becoming hereafter her own. He had certainly formed such a plan, and without meaning that it should effect his endeavour to separate him from Miss Bennet, it is probable that it might add something to his lively concern for the welfare of his friend.
Similar to what she did with Wickham in an earlier chapter JA tells us what probably influenced Darcy but not weather it definitely did or not.
At Pemberley we are once again privy to a conversation Elizabeth doesn’t hear. After she leaves, “Miss Bingley was venting her feelings in criticisms on Elizabeth's person, behavior, and dress. But Georgiana would not join her…. When Darcy returned to the saloon, Miss Bingley could not help repeating to him some part of what she had been saying… However little Mr. Darcy might have liked such an address, he contented himself with coolly replying that he perceived no other alteration than her being rather tanned…” Miss Bingley continues to press the issue until Darcy, “who could contain himself no longer” replies, “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”
We also get a number of insights into people thoughts:
When Darcy, Georgiana and Bingley visit Elizabeth is worrying that she’ll fail to make herself agreeable to everyone but we are told, “those to whom she endeavored to give pleasure were prepossessed in her favor. Bingley was ready, Georgiana was eager, and Darcy determined, to be pleased”
During Lizzy’s first meeting with Darcy through her visit to Georgiana we don’t get much insight into what Darcy is thinking. At the visit he’s determined to be pleased and when he zings Miss Bingley it’s because he can’t contain himself any longer. There’s also a hint that he’s annoyed with Miss Bingley “However little Mr. Darcy might have liked such an address” (another case where JA tells us what a character might be thinking.)
On a somewhat related note Lizzy spends a lot of time trying to guess Darcy’s thoughts: “What will be his surprise…when he knows who they are...Why is he so altered? … It cannot be for me… if she might judge from his complexion, his mind was not very differently engaged… she could do nothing but think, and think with wonder, of Mr. Darcy's civility…” I find interesting that when Lizzy was sure of her judgment we knew enough to see she was wrong about some things but now that she’s confused we don’t know much more than she does about what’s going on in Darcy’s mind.
When Darcy visits after Lizzy get’s Jane’s letter we know a bit more about what he’s feeling than Lizzy does, “cried he, with more feeling than politeness… it was impossible for Darcy to leave her, or to refrain from saying, in a tone of gentleness and commiseration… Darcy, in wretched suspense, could only say something indistinctly of his concern, and observe her in compassionate silence” Here we aren’t exactly told what he’s feeling but we are given a bit more than what Lizzy can observe.
When Miss Bingley alludes to Wickham, “Had Miss Bingley known what pain she was then giving her beloved friend, she undoubtedly would have refrained from the hint; but she had merely intended to discompose Elizabeth… and Elizabeth's collected behaviour, however, soon quieted [Darcy’s] emotion; and as Miss Bingley, vexed and disappointed, dared not approach nearer to Wickham…” (Well I guess it’s good to know that she wouldn’t be as intentionally cruel to Georgiana as she is to Lizzy – but I fear it’s for selfish reasons.)
During the conversation I refer to above we are told, “ Persuaded as Miss Bingley was that Darcy admired Elizabeth, this was not the best method of recommending herself; but angry people are not always wise; and in seeing him at last look somewhat nettled, she had all the success she expected. and once she finally goads him into speaking she is, “left to all the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave no one any pain but herself.
Another tidbit related to Miss Bingley is Lizzy figures out something we’ve known for a long time, “Convinced as Elizabeth now was that Miss Bingley's dislike of her had originated in jealousy…”
We are given a number of insights into the Gardiners thoughts. There is this when Lizzy tells them some of what she learned about Wickham, “Mrs. Gardiner was surprised and concerned; but as they were now approaching the scene of her former pleasures, every idea gave way to the charm of recollection and this when Bingley visits, “To Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner [Bingley] was scarcely a less interesting personage than to [Elizabeth]. They had long wished to see him.
But most of what we see are their thoughts pertaining to Elizabeth and Darcy. They become suspicious of Darcy’s feelings and then are convinced he’s in love with Elizabeth and want to think well of him.
Her uncle and aunt were all amazement [that Darcy is bringing his sister to meet them]; and the embarrassment of her manner as she spoke, joined to the circumstance itself, and many of the circumstances of the preceding day, opened to them a new idea on the business. … a partiality for their niece… directed their observation towards each [Darcy and Lizzy] with an earnest though guarded inquiry; and they soon drew from those inquiries the full conviction that one of them at least knew what it was to love… Of Mr. Darcy it was now a matter of anxiety to think well
They are curious about Elizabeth’s feelings but don’t speak to her about it. After Darcy visits with his sister Lizzy is fearful of hints or inquires from them “But she had no reason to fear Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's curiosity; it was not their wish to force her communication.” After they visit Georgiana, Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth talked of all that had occurred during their visit… except what had particularly interested them both… Elizabeth was longing to know what Mrs. Gardiner thought of [Darcy], and Mrs. Gardiner would have been highly gratified by her niece's beginning the subject.
And after they return to Longbourn, “Mrs. Gardiner went away in all the perplexity about Elizabeth and her Derbyshire friend that had attended her from that part of the world. … the kind of half-expectation which Mrs. Gardiner had formed, of their being followed by a letter from him, had ended in nothing. “
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