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|The rumoured engagement
Written by Line
(2/2/2004 6:16 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, It seems unlikely to me that he didn't know, penned by Kathi
Actually, this sounds to me like the kind of rumour that wouldn't need any help from any specific person to get started. Cousin marriages, including cousin marriages to keep the money in the family, were quite common in those days, and I wouldn't be surprised if the general public leaped to the conclusion that this is what would happen in the Darcy/De Bourgh family. I think Darcy probably knew about the rumour, but didn't think it worth while taking specific steps to deny it, and certainly didn't consider himself officially engaged to his cousin (or even "engaged to be engaged").
BTW, I find Wickham described Lady Catherine very accurately in ch. 16: "her manners were dictatorial and insolent. She has the reputation of being remarkably sensible and clever; but I rather believe she derives part of her abilities from her rank and fortune, part from her authoritative manner". No wonder that Elizabeth felt she had some reason to trust him until she read Darcy's letter!
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