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Written by Tracy W
(6/22/2007 9:20 p.m.)
In some ways, the lead up to the proposal is surprisingly unromantic. Their conversation starts off with Elizabeth thanking Darcy for a favour done for her family, and Darcy responds by saying he's sorry she heard of it, and I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was so little to be trusted."
So Elizabeth must defend her aunt, and reiterate her thanks.
Then we step into the romance: If you will thank me," he replied, "let it be for yourself alone. ... Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you." Aaahhh...
But still we have no long flowery speeches, You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever."
Somehow this sounds very English, very stiff upper-lip.
And then Elizabeth, whose wit has sparkled through the pages, loses her fluency in reply, and it appears that Darcy is the fluent one he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.
I love how Lady Catherine soon intrudes herself on the conversation. And then Elizabeth recovers her wit and fluency to laugh at herself: Yes, you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable of that. After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations."
We almost have more emotion from Darcy in speaking of his faults than when he actually proposed to Elizabeth: The recollection of what I then said -- of my conduct, my manners, my expressions during the whole of it -- is now, and has been many months, inexpressibly painful to me.
And yet another of my favourite lines from P&P is:
Ah, and You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased." - what a proof of affection that shows Elizabeth's importance to him. Our happy ending achieved, and more conviction I think of great love than any flowery speech could manage.
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