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|Shopping his story to strangers at parties
Written by Kathi
(1/23/2004 5:46 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Regarding Mr. Wickham, penned by Geri-Lynn
] I've always had trouble with the way in which Mr. Wickham presents his so-called case against Mr. Darcy in Chapter 16. One would believe his behavior to be far too forward in such an early acquaintance with Elizabeth Bennet. Why would he be willing to disclose so much information to a woman he barely knew?
I think this is the one thing about the story that should have given Lizzy pause, particularly since Wickham says that he cannot "expose" Darcy out of respect for old Mr. Darcy's memory. If that's the case, what is he doing shopping the story to strangers at parties? (In fact, I realized when reading this time that they were not isolated, as they appear to be in this scene in P&P2. They are sitting at a table with card players. Lydia, at least, seems to be concentrating on the game, but Wickham might be hoping to be overheard, and again, perhaps Lizzy should have wondered about how confidential he really intended the story to be.) Caroline's warning was obviously biased and not credible, and Bingley seems to share Jane's desire to think well of everyone, so it's understandable that she might not have given their opinions too much weight, but I think she should have -- and probably would have -- noticed this contradiction if she had not been so flattered by the attention that every woman in the room would have liked, and perhaps was contrasting it to Darcy's neglect and rudeness.
] Another thing about Wickham which I missed in previous readings is the care with which Elizabeth dresses herself before hoping to run into him at the Netherfield Ball (Ch 18). [snip] Lizzy was interested in Wickham romantically - something I refused to accept before this GR. She was hoping to secure his heart at the ball.
I think this is an argument against the idea that she was subconsciously attracted to Darcy. Since she doesn't seem to be the sort of woman who goes around gathering men's hearts for sport a la Scarlet O'Hara, or to get one man to fall in love with her to make another man jealous, it makes it seem less likely that Darcy has any attraction for her.
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