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This commentary was prepared by Karmayogi of The Mother’s Service Society (India). See karmayogi.net or MSS Research. The Comments column is intended for brief insightful remarks on the text. For longer comments or questions use the Talk page of this article or create a new article and add a link in the comments section of this page or under the appropriate heading on P&P project mainpage.



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Not all that Mrs. Bennet, however, with the assistance of her five daughters, could ask on the subject was sufficient to draw from her husband any satisfactory description of Mr. Bingley. They attacked him in various ways -- with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all, and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour, Lady Lucas. Her report was highly favourable. Sir William had been delighted with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained.

1
  • Absence of sensible pleasant exchange leads one to enjoy it in secrecy.
  • The more you try to elicit, the more it is resisted.
  • Sama, dhana, beda, dhandam are seen in bared faced questions, ingenious suppositions and distant surmises.
  • Secrecy creates intensity in relationships, though negative.
  • Secrecy makes the other seek you.
  • Dancing is the physical expression of vital interest.

03 happy Pride and Prejudice

"If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield," said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, "and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for."

8
  • The physical articulates, seeks satisfaction in articulation.
  • The vital silently achieves, the mental allows the silent will to work.
  • Expression of a wish eliminates its possibility.
  • Building on the first wish, is a sure indication of its impossibility
In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, and sat about ten minutes with him in his library. He had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much; but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he wore a blue coat, and rode a black horse.
9
  • The weak waits for the other to take the initiative.
  • The weak cannot act on their own.
  • Mr. Bingley without Darcy’s permission, cannot even see the ladies.
  • Expectation cancels.
  • Imagination runs riot indicating the absence of results.

An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards dispatched; and already had Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that were to do credit to her housekeeping, when an answer arrived which deferred it all. Mr. Bingley was obliged to be in town the following day, and, consequently, unable to accept the honour of their invitation, etc. Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted. She could not imagine what business he could have in town so soon after his arrival in Hertfordshire; and she began to fear that he might be always flying about from one place to another, and never settled at Netherfield as he ought to be. Lady Lucas quieted her fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone to London only to get a large party for the ball; and a report soon followed, that Mr. Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such a number of ladies, but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing that instead of twelve he had brought only six with him from London -- his five sisters and a cousin. And when the party entered the assembly room it consisted of only five altogether -- Mr. Bingley, his two sisters, the husband of the eldest, and another young man.

12
  • For the small mind, any great work reveals in terms of details.
  • Small, selfish persons evaluates anything in their terms.
  • Approaching a work through small selfishness postpones it.
  • Dinner missed indicates severance after three weeks.
  • Selfishness limits others’ world to its own.
  • Present sentiment forecasts future settlement.
  • Mr. Bingley’s leaving Netherfield permanently is now indicated.
  • The child is seen in the parent.
  • Lady Lucas consoles Mrs. Bennet as Charlotte advises Lizzy.
  • People’s knowledge has the power of determination.
  • Comfort here is pure self-centred petty selfishness.
  • Knowledge is power.
  • The strong opinion of Meryton ladies abridges the twelve ladies into five and finally to two.
  • Missing later is indicated by missing earlier.
  • To Mrs. Bennet her own importance is the only thing that exists.
  • Imagination takes wings when interest is great.
  • Mind sees everything from its point of view.
  • Any lady instinctively hates another lady.
  • A lady likes to be adored by all men present with undivided attention.

03 entry Pride and Prejudice

Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report, which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

19
  • Exceeding folly is excessive goodness.
  • Absence of individuality is unaffected manners.
  • Air decides how fine a woman is.
  • One’s looks reveal.
  • Tallness is striking.
  • Report does not follow; it accompanies a VIP.
  • £10,000 a year is the fine figure of a man.
  • Social smallness looking up to social greatness is admiration.
  • The tiniest of men equates himself to the greatest of men.
  • Two people are compared by what they are to oneself.
  • Measure of satisfaction is determined by the measure of expectation.
  • The unseen possibility becomes a wonder.
  • Pleasant exterior may be hollow inside.
  • News of wealth travels fast.
  • Wealth makes one good looking.
  • The richer the man the more handsome he is.
  • Admiration is the expansiveness of the unformed.
  • The merest exterior is taken for the inmost content.
  • Man is indifferent to the unattainable.
  • Pride pricks.
  • One’s own prestige is more valued than another man’s property.
  • Indifference issues out of inaccessibility.
  • Unavailability alters its character.

Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his friend! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he would never come there again. Amongst the most violent against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particular resentment, by his having slighted one of her daughters.

23
  • The unformed takes the form of the vessel into which it is poured.
  • Life is intense interchange.
  • Availability is amiability.
  • Contrast sustains the relationship.
  • Superiority enjoys its superiority by the nearness of inferiority.
  • Character is self-revealing.
  • Inferiority never wants to see superiority. Superiority enjoys near inferiors but keeps aloof.
  • The greatest final beneficiary will be most violent in opposing.
  • Resentment is organised dislike.
  • Pleasant exterior makes for popularity.
  • Liveliness attracts.
  • Unreserved behaviour is self-giving.
  • Popularity is to accept a population at their level.
  • Intensity longs for eternity.
  • Amiability is universal indulgence.
  • Goodness shines by contrast.
  • Any value prefers to preserve it.
  • Superiority is supercilious.
  • Vanity seeks no solitude. It seeks isolation in company.
  • Untouchability in India is social aloofness in England.
  • Social attitudes are decided by social benefit, not by the intrinsic value.

Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her to overhear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes, to press his friend to join it.

30
  • Earliest events indicate the ultimate outcome.
  • The best is ejected out of the ordinary.
  • Complements have something in common.
  • Vital dislike is physical detachment.
  • Violence is reverse of attraction.
  • Intense feelings always find excuses.
  • Eligible men are ever scarce.
  • Darcy and Elizabeth were all by themselves, for different reasons.
  • Do as I do.
  • Strength asserts, weakness conforms.
  • Conservatism insists on conformity.
  • Darcy attends all balls having found the first insupportable.
  • Man refuses vehemently what he will soon court.

"Come, Darcy," said he, "I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."

31
  • No event occurs by itself without an initiative from oneself.
  • Darcy’s later interference is suggested by Bingley’s interference.
  • The stupid calls another or all others stupid.
  • Weakness knowing its weakness cannot but take initiative.

"I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with."

34
  • To invite refusal or abuse is the trait of weakness.
  • Superiority is in its elements when giving offence.

"I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Bingley, "for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty."

38

"You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room," said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.

40

"Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you."

41
  • Bingley is in love with the whole sex.
  • Bingley first spoke of Elizabeth to Darcy.
  • Darcy interfered with Bingley’s marriage – injury in return of a reward.
  • Rudeness appreciates value by abuse.
  • He who is slighted by everyone talks of slight.
  • Elizabeth cannot fogive him because he hits the mark. She is not as beautiful as her older sister or as popular as the two youngest. Ultimately she will have to win him over in the same way she won over her father, with her brain.

"Which do you mean?" And turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me."

44
  • One’s behaviour is determined by the environment.
  • Darcy does not mind speaking audibly ‘tolerable’.

Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous.

47
  • Laughing at abuse is strength.
  • Liveliness and playful disposition is psychological strength.
  • Wisdom delights in the ridiculous.
  • Strength is not easily hurt.
  • Liveliness taunts petulance with recognition.
  • The ridiculous hurts incomprehension.
  • Absurdity delights liveliness.

The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter much admired by the Netherfield party. Mr. Bingley had danced with her twice, and she had been distinguished by his sisters. Jane was as much gratified by this as her mother could be, though in a quieter way. Elizabeth felt Jane's pleasure. Mary had heard herself mentioned to Miss Bingley as the most accomplished girl in the neighbourhood; and Catherine and Lydia had been fortunate enough to be never without partners, which was all that they had yet learnt to care for at a ball. They returned, therefore, in good spirits to Longbourn, the village where they lived, and of which they were the principal inhabitants. They found Mr. Bennet still up. With a book he was regardless of time; and on the present occasion he had a good deal of curiosity as to the event of an evening which had raised such splendid expectations. He had rather hoped that all his wife's views on the stranger would be disappointed; but he soon found that he had a very different story to hear.

50
  • Cheerfulness is a sure foundation of success.
  • Mr. Bennet’s family is always cheerful.
  • Emotional understanding is instantaneous.
  • Gratification comes from recognition.
  • Goodwill is to feel in others’ sensation.
  • All are equal in inner capacity.
  • Jealousy is limited to one’s emotional circle.
  • What one does not care for does not excite jealousy.
  • Energy expressed is good spirit.
  • One cares for what he ridicules.
  • Good deal of curiosity can go with ridicule.
  • Indifference is unexpressed expectation.
  • Contraries go together.
  • Expectation brings the opposite.
  • The success of the daughter is a greater fulfillment to the mother.
  • Psychological gratification can cancel the accomplishment
  • To delight in another’s joy is spiritual.
  • Recognition reconciles.
  • Occupation is the ultimate joy for the youth.
  • Occupation does not oust expectation.
  • Mr. Bennet’s expectation of disappointment comes true later.
  • Spite against the wife overcomes the welfare of children.
"Oh! My dear Mr. Bennet," as she entered the room, "we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. I wish you had been there. Jane was so admired, nothing could be like it. Everybody said how well she looked; and Mr. Bingley thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her twice. Only think of that my dear; he actually danced with her twice! And she was the only creature in the room that he asked a second time. First of all he asked Miss Lucas. I was so vexed to see him stand up with her! But, however, he did not admire her at all: indeed, nobody can, you know; and he seemed quite struck with Jane as she was going down the dance. So he inquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the two next. Then the two third he danced with Miss King, and the two fourth with Maria Lucas, and the two fifth with Jane again, and the two sixth with Lizzy and the Boulanger."
60
  • Not the enjoyment but its recognition by those who matter is important.
  • Man wants his success to be witnessed by his master.
  • Mrs. Bennet wants him to sanction her triumph.
  • Sense of success in mind repeats as work non-stop.
  • Nothing succeeds like success.
  • The greatest is seen at first sight. The next best comes as a second.
  • Enjoyment exhausts.
  • Mrs. Bennet admires and praises herself in Jane.
  • In positive attitude, the smallest becomes the greatest.
  • One, who admires me, should admire none else.
  • Small minds are exclusive.
  • No detail escapes the interested mind.

"If he had had any compassion for me," cried her husband impatiently, "he would not have danced half so much! For God's sake, say no more of his partners. O that he had sprained his ancle in the first dance!"

71
  • Perverse petulance is the cynical response to one’s own success.
  • Perversity leads to a break or lapse or even complete failure.
  • Bingley quits Netherfield.
  • Mr. Bennet was petulant, a reason for initial reversal.
  • Mr. Bennet was disappointed for Lizzy.
  • He could not triumph over the wife, nor was Lizzy recognised.

"Oh! My dear," continued Mrs. Bennet, "I am quite delighted with him. He is so excessively handsome! And his sisters are charming women. I never in my life saw any thing more elegant than their dresses. I dare say the lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown -- "

74
  • The 18th century was known for the submissiveness of the family.
  • Not the essence, but the small gratification matters.
  • Mrs. Bennet’s silliness and Mr. Bennet’s petulance balance each other.
  • Not Bingley, but the lace matters.

Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested against any description of finery. She was therefore obliged to seek another branch of the subject, and related, with much bitterness of spirit and some exaggeration, the shocking rudeness of Mr. Darcy.

79
  • It is in small acts the significances of life are.
  • Mr. Bennet is sensitive about the lace.
  • Mr. Bennet’s irritation was not against the lace, but an expression of his failure.
  • The subject does not change, its presentation changes.
  • It is not Darcy’s rudeness that is shocking, but Mr. Bennet’s rudeness.

"But I can assure you," she added, "that Lizzy does not lose much by not suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your set downs. I quite detest the man."

82
  • Life acts vicariously.
  • Darcy’s slight of Lizzy is a reflection of the husband’s mocking the wife.
  • The most worthy is most abused.
  • Mrs. Bennet abuses Darcy.
  • A man can give a set down to another man thinks Mrs. Bennet.
  • It was a period when women were in fetters.
  • Mrs. Bennet’s excitement turns to bitterness against Darcy.
  • Excitement and bitterness are the same.
  • Mrs. Bennet’s description of Darcy is a self-portrayal.
  • Mrs. Bennet’s abuse of Darcy was an inverse prelude of her speechless admiration in the end.
  • Mrs. Bennet is a warm protective mother. The road to her affections run through her children. I suspect the same will be true about Elizabeth.

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