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|I read "publicly" to mean...
Written by Line
(5/2/2007 6:46 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, In defence of Darcy, penned by jeremy
..."out loud". Rather than keeping it all inside his own head, Darcy has made it clear to *his friends* that he considers Elizabeth quite unattractive, and a man like him would feel embarrassed to have to retract his judgement even to his intimates, IMO. Besides, even if he doesn't think Elizabeth heard him, he may not be sure who else heard his comments that night, since we have no evidence that he tried to lower his voice, etc.
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