(The scene is while Elizabeth is caring for Jane at Netherfield on a night after the discussion on what makes an accomplished woman. Caroline tries to impress Mr. Darcy about her knowledge of Shakespeare.)
Mr. Darcy entered the Netherfield drawing room and observed the scene. Caroline Bingley was in conversation with her sister, Mr. Hurst was asleep, Mr. Bingley was going over the evening paper while absently patting one of his dog's head and Miss Elizabeth Bennet sat off to one side quietly reading.
As he passed by her to retrieve a book for his own amusement he recognized her book as part of Bingley's Shakespearean library. Darcy paused as he passed her. She was too absorbed in her reading to notice him.
"Do you enjoy Shakespeare, Miss Bennet?" he asked quietly.
She looked up startled at his question, "Yes, very much." She answered and then returned to her reading.
Darcy was surprised that she did not try to continue the conversation. Most women that he knew would not stop talking to him if he made any sort of remark t them at all. "It is my belief that Shakespeare is the greatest of all English authors," he continued.
Elizabeth looked up at him again, "I do not presume to be so well-read as you Mr. Darcy, but that does seem to be a reasonable statement." She then returned again to her book.
Mr. Darcy frowned this was becoming unreal. He wanted to talk to her and she didn't seem to care. He sat in the chair next to hers and glanced over to see which work she was reading. "Hamlet is one of my favorite works. Do you enjoy it?"
She looked up at him again and he tried not to stare into her beautiful eyes. 'You cannot fall in love with her she is just an impertinent young woman with no connections or fortune' "If I did not I would not be reading it presently."
Caroline had become away of the conversation and looking for a way to jump into it. "Oh I simply adore Hamlet. It is truly one of Mr. Shakespeare's greatest works."
Darcy suppressed a sigh. "Yes it is."
"And so tragic. How Hamlet's uncle kills him after he goes mad and kills Polonius."
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow and Darcy mentally shrugged. 'If Miss Elizabeth won't speak with me I can at least get some amusement from playing with Caroline's statements.' "Yes, especially when Hamlet himself becomes a ghost and begins to haunt the castle as well as his previous ancestors."
"I know it was as if the family was cursed."
"If you will remember they were."
"Oh yes of course, by the witch. What was her name?"
"Ophelia?" By this point Elizabeth had closed her book and was observing the conversation between Darcy and Caroline with amusement, 'I wonder has she ever seen or read Hamlet? Not likely.'
"Yes, yes Ophelia. It was so awful of her. The way that she, a nobody tried to turn the head of the prince, when even her own father warned her that nothing could come of it. The two of them were most unequal." Caroline sent a look at Elizabeth, who suppressed a laugh. 'Does she think that I have designs on Mr. Darcy? If she does she can be comforted that I find him to be the most disagreeable man in my acquaintance. Certainly the last man I would ever be able to marry. She is welcome to him and they would make a fine pair. A man with his pride will enjoy having a sycophant for a wife.'
"But she paid the price for it."
"Of course she did. When Hamlet's ghost came to her."
"Yes, though I feel sorry for her brother when he found the body."
"That part has always moved me greatly. He was I suppose ignorant of her doings and truly did feel a love for his younger sister. And to discover his sister's dead body immediately upon returning from Paris." 'Why does Eliza Bennet seem to find this conversation so amusing?'
"It has never surprised me that he went mad after the ordeal and was killed himself."
"I know the poor young man's heartbreak at finding his father and sister killed."
"The queen also took it badly. When she found out that her son was killed."
"Yes, though killing herself was a bit extreme, though I suppose it couldn't be a tragedy if she didn't kill herself in her remorse over her son's death and her realization that her improper marriage caused it."
"Though her death did cause Claudius to realize the error of his ways and vow to spend the rest of his days trying to repent of his sin."
"Yes, his closing monologue is one of my favorites in the entire play. It shows a true change of heart for him."
"Yes I believe it does. What do you think Miss Bennet."
By this point Elizabeth could barely contain herself. "I think that your story is quite delightful but that I must return to Jane and see if she is in need of anything. Goodnight."
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