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|I think the crucial threshold question is...
Written by Arnie Perlstein
(5/25/2007 8:22 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Diverting blood to the muscles, penned by Tracy W
In that short narrative paragraph, there are three markers which suggest to me that it is Lizzy's interpretation of Darcy's paleness as anger, rather than an objective statement of absolute fact by the narrator:
"Mr. Darcy....SEEMED [to Lizzy] TO CATCH her words with no less resentment than surprise.....the disturbance of his mind WAS VISIBLE [to Lizzy] in every feature.....The pause was TO ELIZABETH'S FEELINGS dreadful."
There is little else in this paragraph to counteract the impression that these are observations from Lizzy's point of view, not objective narrative descriptions of what actually happens inside Darcy's head.
My sense is that Lizzy is, quite naturally under the circumstances, beginning to feel a little bit afraid of Mr. Darcy at this moment, and feeling like somehow she really should not refuse a proposal from such a man, PLUS (as I reflect further on all this) she may even get a momentary glimmering that she has, however, inadvertently, at least in part led him on by her previous behavior around him (and how incredibly ironic that renders Lizzy's earlier comment to Charlotte, in Chapter 6, talking about Jane and Bingley!: "But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out.") so it is quite logical that she should perceive his paleness as anger, which it surely is, but only in part, because, as has already been commented in this thread, he also surely is both surprised and mortified, too. The linked combination of anger, mortification and surprise could account for a lot of paleness!
But, apropos Lizzy's beginning to feel fear, I was then immediately reminded of another thing Lizzy says to Charlotte in Chapter 6 on that very subject (and isn't it marvelous how JA connects the dots across 29 chapters?):
"if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him."
I'd say that Lizzy steps up to the plate and hits a home run here in her responses to him at this moment--her little speeches to Darcy are utterly spectacular performances, much more powerful than mere impertinence, and delivered under severe pressure.
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