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|Quote Chapter 45
Written by Carolyn
(6/8/2007 10:23 p.m.)
Convinced as Elizabeth now was that Miss Bingley's dislike of her had originated in jealousy, she could not help feeling how very unwelcome her appearance at Pemberley must be to her, and was curious to know with how much civility on that lady's side, the acquaintance would now be renewed.
Let us take a close look at Miss Bingley's behavior during Elizabeth's visit.
By Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley they were noticed only by a curtsey
Elizabeth soon saw that she was herself closely watched by Miss Bingley, and that she could not speak a word, especially to Miss Darcy, without calling her attention.
After sitting in this manner a quarter of an hour without hearing Miss Bingley's voice, Elizabeth was roused by receiving from her a cold enquiry after the health of her family.
In no countenance was attentive curiosity so strongly marked as in Miss Bingley's, in spite of the smiles which overspread her face whenever she spoke to one of its objects; for jealousy had not yet made her desperate, and her attentions to Mr. Darcy were by no means over.
Elizabeth saw that he was anxious for his sister and herself to get acquainted, and forwarded as much as possible every attempt at conversation on either side. Miss Bingley saw all this likewise; and, in the imprudence of anger, took the first opportunity of saying, with sneering civility -- "Pray, Miss Eliza, are not the -- -- shire Militia removed from Meryton? They must be a great loss to your family"
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, by bringing forward the idea of a man to whom she believed her partial, to make her betray a sensibility which might injure her in Darcy's opinion, and perhaps to remind the latter of all the follies and absurdities by which some part of her family were connected with that corps.
Miss Bingley, vexed and disappointed, dared not approach nearer to Wickham,
Caroline shows much incivility -- basically ignoring Elizabeth for a long time, only to make cold enquiries with sneering civility.
Then after Elizabeth behaves in a manner that is ... unwise.
and while Mr. Darcy was attending them to their carriage, Miss Bingley was venting her feelings in criticisms on Elizabeth's person, behaviour, and dress.
"How very ill Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr. Darcy," she cried; "I never in my life saw any one so much altered as she is since the winter. She is grown so brown and coarse! Louisa and I were agreeing that we should not have known her again."
For my own part," she rejoined, "I must confess that I never could see any beauty in her. Her face is too thin; her complexion has no brilliancy; and her features are not at all handsome. Her nose wants character -- there is nothing marked in its lines. Her teeth are tolerable, but not out of the common way; and as for her eyes, which have sometimes been called so fine, I never could perceive anything extraordinary in them. They have a sharp, shrewish look, which I do not like at all; and in her air altogether there is a self-sufficiency without fashion, which is intolerable."
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. He was resolutely silent, however, and, from a determination of making him speak, she continued --"I remember, when we first knew her in Hertfordshire, how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed beauty; and I particularly recollect your saying one night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, 'She a beauty! I should as soon call her mother a wit.' But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time."
Poor Caroline, she would have done better to remember the conversation she had with Darcy in Chapter 8.
"Eliza Bennet," said Miss Bingley, when the door was closed on her, "is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing their own; "and with many men, I dare say, it succeeds. But, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean art."
"Undoubtedly," replied Darcy, to whom this remark was chiefly addressed, ""there is meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable." "
Unfortunately for Caroline, her teasing forces Darcy to admit that he admires Elizabeth a great deal.
He then went away, and Miss Bingley was left to all the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave no one any pain but herself.
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