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Pride & Prejudice: Chapter 06

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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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The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on those of Netherfield. The visit was returned in due form. Miss Bennet's pleasing manners grew on the good will of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley; and though the mother was found to be intolerable, and the younger sisters not worth speaking to, a wish of being better acquainted with them was expressed towards the two eldest. By Jane, this attention was received with the greatest pleasure; but Elizabeth still saw superciliousness in their treatment of everybody, hardly excepting even her sister, and could not like them; though their kindness to Jane, such as it was, had a value as arising in all probability from the influence of their brother's admiration. It was generally evident whenever they met, that he did admire her; and to her it was equally evident that Jane was yielding to the preference which she had begun to entertain for him from the first, and was in a way to be very much in love; but she considered with pleasure that it was not likely to be discovered by the world in general, since Jane united, with great strength of feeling, a composure of temper and a uniform cheerfulness of manner which would guard her from the suspicions of the impertinent. She mentioned this to her friend Miss Lucas.
06 elizabeth charlotte Pride and Prejudice

1
  • To be civil is on the surface; to be cultured is real; it is deep down.
  • Social existence is forged on the links between families.
  • Within limits shallow goodness wins laurels.
  • Sweetness evokes good will.
  • Real goodness overcomes really exhibitionist excitement.
  • Pleasing manners is good will.
  • Manners of a person who desires to please are pleasing.
  • Absence of cultivated manners, removes the possibility of better relationship.
  • Goodness and liveliness attract in spite of obstacles.
  • There are several ways of receiving attention paid.
  • Sense attracts; sensibility impresses.
  • Recognition of real worth is pleasure in the depths.
  • Clarity of thought clearly penetrates.
  • Fastidious fashion never touches a fabulous character.
  • Bingley’s admiration weighed with the sisters.
  • So, it is obvious they changed their attitude because of Mrs.Bennet’s pushy behaviour.
  • Elizabeth is penetratingly perceptive. It prevents from emotions taking shape.
  • Evident admiration of Jane was enough for good friendship, nor for wedding.
  • Jane is happy with herself and relates to others from there.
  • Lizzy relates to people with lively understanding.
  • Any trait, especially negative ones, such as superciliousness, is transparent.
  • Preference maturing into admiration does not have the strength of love.
  • Jane’s anxiety to hide her admiration undermined her chances.
  • Composure of temper wins friends, not a lover.
  • Temperament communicates to sensations
  • To like a person in spite of his defects is either innate goodness which cannot entertain it or ignorance that cannot be penetrated.
  • Their kindness to Jane was not due to Bingley’s admiration but to Jane’s innate sweetness arising out of passive goodness.
  • Admiration is the rising of lively emotions in excess.
  • Admiration can lead to love but love that settles down as admiration is intense powerful and lasting.
  • Desire to suppress love will result in love being hindered.
  • The suspicion of the impertinent is the sure instrument of social comprehension.
  • The suspicious of the impertinent is divination of the real intention.
  • Creation of an impression and gaining your desert do not go together.
  • Hiding one’s love from the public, one may end up hiding it from its object
  • Jane’s unrealistic dissimulation is the cause of the scandal later.

"It may perhaps be pleasant," replied Charlotte, "to be able to impose on the public in such a case; but it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely -- a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten a woman had better show more affection than she feels. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on."

7
  • Charlotte’s common sense is eminently practical, but will yield only minimum result, rather negative result. Such common sense can never take one to the heights of idealistic success.
  • Charlotte goes by non-romantic realism. She gets a husband of that description.
  • Trying to fix, one may fix a wooden idol.
  • Gratitude is positive attachment.
  • Jane lives in a world of illusions. Even she was richly rewarded by the atmosphere.
  • Charlotte is practical, Elizabeth is deeply romantic. Both are equally rewarded as the intensity of Darcy’s Love is powerful and passionate.
  • Accomplishment cannot leave anything to chance.
  • Human love needs encouragement in love.
  • In romance the inner intensity brings the object of love. Marriage needs the affection to be shown.
  • Attachment thrives on vanity.
  • Vanity is negative attachment.
  • Unless affection is expressed felt or unfelt, it is powerless.
  • No heart loves without encouragement unless it’s an implicit passion for the invisible flame.
  • Showing more affection, the woman will receive less.
  • Charlotte, having the greatest practical sense, got married first.
  • Romance is a burning flame; marriage is a net spread.
  • Bingley’s liking Jane is beyond doubt. That truth finally realised itself.
  • Elizabeth first confided in Jane about Jane’s partiality for Bingley. Miss Lucas is one of goodwill and common sense. Her advice was disregarded, but the good will completes the wedding.
  • Liking matures into love by human nourishment.
  • Lizzy wants to put up proper behaviour. Charlotte wants to accomplish. She does not have Elizabeth’s sensitivity.
  • This is the conflict in Eliza of being Mr. Bennet’s and Mrs. Bennet’s child.
  • Elizabeth wants Bingley to know Jane’s love. Charlotte wants Jane to display it.
  • High romance is at first sight. Marriage is made by human initiative.
  • Darcy’s love for Eliza is well concealed from all but Caroline and Charlotte.

"But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow. If I can perceived her regard for him, he must be a simpleton, indeed, not to discover it too."

13

"Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's disposition as you do."

15

"But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out."

16

"Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. But, though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never for many hours together; and as they always see each other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every moment should be employed in conversing together. Jane should therefore make the most of every half-hour in which she can command his attention. When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses."

17
  • A woman’s partiality to a man is more felt than seen.
  • It is not easy to speak out one’s thought as soon as you meet another.

"Your plan is a good one," replied Elizabeth, "where nothing is in question but the desire of being well married; and if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it. But these are not Jane's feelings; she is not acting by design. As yet, she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard, nor of its reasonableness. She has known him only a fortnight. She danced four dances with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined in company with him four times. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character."

21
  • Jane would not have married Bingley if she had tried to be explicit.
  • Man should propose is a rule that honours the biological reality.
  • Knowing one’s feelings towards oneself is not done by the duration of time spent together – David Copperfield was oblivious of Agnes.

"Not as you represent it. Had she merely dined with him, she might only have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember that four evenings have been also spent together -- and four evenings may do a great deal."

27
  • Liking matures into love by intimacy that is prolonged.
  • Intimacy requires privacy.
  • General conversation never conveys personal preferences.
  • Charlotte talks of fixing Bingley, securing him, downright practical. She gets Collins who suits that description best.
  • As Elizabeth later refuses Lydia getting all their sisters husbands, she now flatly rejects this mercenary attitude which is fully reflected in Darcy’s ideal attitude. True ideal realises itself.
  • Charlotte is not ashamed of giving a mercenary advice to Lizzy. She is not ashamed of marrying a stupid man for his money.
  • Generous goodwill of magnanimity, supreme commonsense of ripe age and stupid shameless mercenary practicality dwell together in Charlotte.
  • Bingley spent four evenings with Jane but never disclosed his irresistible interest. He certainly is not violently in love with her as lovers cannot wait.

"Yes; these four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like Vingt-un better than Commerce; but with respect to any other leading characteristic, I do not imagine that much has been unfolded."
06 discussing jane Pride and Prejudice

29

"Well," said Charlotte, "I wish Jane success with all my heart; and if she were married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."

30
  • Charlotte’s intense good will might be the subtle influence of Longbourn coming to her later.
  • Charlotte has the strategy of mature practical wisdom that can abridge a year in a fortnight.
  • Happiness in marriage is not entirely by chance.
  • Marriage ensures security; not happiness.
  • Marriage induces one to be what he is not.
  • Marriage is an arrangement to experience vexation.
  • Marriage is an unconscious seeking of the real complement.
  • Neither knowledge of the other person or ignorance will help in marriage.
  • After marriage parties discover the other side of the spouse.
  • Man enjoys vexation more than felicity is a subconscious truth.
  • Not to know the defects of the other facilitates the wedding.
  • Charlotte knows people act exactly opposite to their understanding.
  • Elizabeth does not.

"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."

34
  • Elizabeth does not honour the social reality in marriage.
  • Therefore life awarded her the psychological reality. Jane attracted the good will of Charlotte and Lizzy because she is innately good.

Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley's attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; -- to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.

36
  • Elizabeth was totally dedicated to Jane’s happiness which made life give her the very best in her circumstances.
  • Elizabeth was oblivious of Darcy’s interest in his, observing Jane and Bingley.
  • Darcy’s love was not known outside which justifies the obstacles he met with.
  • What attracts is not necessarily a pretty face.
  • Shallow persons fall for a face.
  • Strong characters are attracted by character not by beauty.
  • Darcy’s discovery of Elizabeth’s features led him to discover her eyes. Here is a parallel to their actual wedding overcoming initial reluctance.
  • Eyes express strength of character.
  • Darcy’s haste to criticise is the inversion of strong attraction.
  • Dark eyes are of deep characters.
  • Not having one good feature, Elizabeth is still powerfully attractive.
  • Handsome face prevents seeing the character.
  • Each positive factor is balanced by a negative trait.
  • A lively temperament has a figure that is light and pleasing.
  • Lightness of figure indicates a free soul.
  • A pleasing figure is that of a happy personality.
  • Manners of the fashionable world have no content, but they do matter.
  • Fashionable world gives a countenance.
  • Elizabeth’s easy playfulness is wealth; it is psychological wealth.
  • Mr. Bennet lived that long on the strength of Elizabeth’s personality.
  • Easy playfulness is of inner freedom and is strikingly charming.
  • Darcy had the penetration to know her worth.
  • An adverse comment rankles even as a pleasant remark touches deeply.

He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation with others. His doing so drew her notice. It was at Sir William Lucas's, where a large party were assembled.

42
  • Darcy does not think of the impropriety of listening to Elizabeth’s conversation. It is ungentlemanly.
  • Concentration on another evokes a response from the other without fail.

"What does Mr. Darcy mean," said she to Charlotte, "by listening to my conversation with Colonel Forster?"

45

"That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer."

46

"But if he does it any more I shall certainly let him know that I see what he is about. He has a very satirical eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him."

47
  • Elizabeth sees satire in Darcy’s eyes of love. Intense longing of an unwilling attitude takes on the appearance of satire.

On his approaching them soon afterwards, though without seeming to have any intention of speaking, Miss Lucas defied her friend to mention such a subject to him; which immediately provoking Elizabeth to do it, she turned to him and said --

49
  • Her alternatives are impertinence or fear which later proves to be abundantly true.
  • Impertinence is suppressed fear.

"Did not you think, Mr. Darcy, that I expressed myself uncommonly well just now, when I was teazing Colonel Forster to give us a ball at Meryton?"

50
  • Even when pointed out, the charge of overhearing has not hurt Darcy.
  • Darcy is oblivious of Eliza’s insinuation.
  • It was a period when overhearing was prevalent in England.

"With great energy; but it is a subject which always makes a lady energetic."

51

"You are severe on us."

52
  • Darcy is unaware of his severity on women.

"It will be her turn soon to be teazed," said Miss Lucas. "I am going to open the instrument, Eliza, and you know what follows." 06 darcy Pride and Prejudice

53
  • Miss Lucas is bent upon Darcy appreciating Elizabeth, a great act of magnanimity.

"You are a very strange creature by way of a friend! -- always wanting me to play and sing before anybody and everybody! If my vanity had taken a musical turn, you would have been invaluable; but as it is, I would really rather not sit down before those who must be in the habit of hearing the very best performers." On Miss Lucas's persevering, however, she added, "Very well; if it must be so, it must." And gravely glancing at Mr. Darcy, "There is a fine old saying, which everybody here is of course familiar with -- 'Keep your breath to cool your porridge' -- and I shall keep mine to swell my song."

55

Her performance was pleasing, though by no means capital. After a song or two, and before she could reply to the entreaties of several that she would sing again, she was eagerly succeeded at the instrument by her sister Mary, who having, in consequence of being the only plain one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, was always impatient for display.

59

Mary had neither genius nor taste; and though vanity had given her application, it had given her likewise a pedantic air and conceited manner, which would have injured a higher degree of excellence than she had reached. Elizabeth, easy and unaffected, had been listened to with much more pleasure, though not playing half so well; and Mary, at the end of a long concerto, was glad to purchase praise and gratitude by Scotch and Irish airs, at the request of her younger sisters, who, with some of the Lucases, and two or three officers, joined eagerly in dancing at one end of the room.

61
  • Neglect creates talents in Mary.
  • Impatience to display in Mary is her mother.
  • Impatience to display in Mary is her mother.
  • Pedantry is absence of taste.
  • Physical or personality defects compensate talents. There is no one in whom talents are not in potential. Potentially everyone is a genius.
  • Impatience is awareness of insignificance.
  • Vanity turns into pedantry and conceits.
  • A higher degree of excellence is incapable of display.
  • Less talents of a higher character are better appreciated.
  • Society is pleased by behaviour not by talents.

Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at such a mode of passing the evening, to the exclusion of all conversation, and was too much engrossed by his own thoughts to perceive that Sir William Lucas was his neighbour, till Sir William thus began --

63
  • What is charming to Mr. Lucas causes indignation to Darcy.
  • Darcy is angry that his love is not responded to.

"What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished societies."

64
  • Low culture is exhibitionist.
  • Familiarity of the low prods the proud conceit.
  • Darcy’s anger at Lucas’s intimacy comes back to him as intense violent abuse at his proposal.
  • The first refinement for Lucas is a savage endowment for Darcy.
  • No gentleman is capable of Darcy’s vituperation.
  • For the neo-rich inadvertence is intimacy with superior society.

"Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world. Every savage can dance."

67

Sir William only smiled. "Your friend performs delightfully," he continued after a pause, on seeing Bingley join the group; "and I doubt not that you are an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy."

69

"You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir."

71

"Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure from the sight. Do you often dance at St. James's?"

72

"Never, sir."

74

"Do you not think it would be a proper compliment to the place?"

75

"It is a compliment which I never pay to any place if I can avoid it."

76

"You have a house in town, I conclude?"

77

Mr. Darcy bowed.

78

"I had once some thoughts of fixing in town myself -- for I am fond of superior society; but I did not feel quite certain that the air of London would agree with Lady Lucas."

79
  • Loud thinking is a self-satisfying emotion even as it helps understand.

He paused in hopes of an answer; but his companion was not disposed to make any; and Elizabeth at that instant moving towards them, he was struck with the notion of doing a very gallant thing, and called out to her --

80
  • Along with Charlotte’s solicitude, we find Sir William equally eager to bring Darcy and Eliza together, which justifies Charlotte getting Longbourn

"My dear Miss Eliza, why are not you dancing? -- Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner. You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure, when so much beauty is before you." And, taking her hand, he would have given it to Mr. Darcy, who, though extremely surprised, was not unwilling to receive it, when she instantly drew back, and said with some discomposure to Sir William --

81
  • It is noteworthy that Elizabeth refuses with determination the first fond introduction of Lucas, presaging her response to Darcy’s proposal.
  • Mr. Lucas is blatantly blind and oblivious of Darcy’s affront.
  • Elizabeth is more conscious of neglect by men than the introduction.

"Indeed, sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner."

85

Mr. Darcy, with grave propriety, requested to be allowed the honour of her hand, but in vain. Elizabeth was determined; nor did Sir William at all shake her purpose by his attempt at persuasion.

87
  • Positive grave propriety is offended by its gravity.
  • Sir William is too light for Eliza’s character of determination.

"You excel so much in the dance, Miss Eliza, that it is cruel to deny me the happiness of seeing you; and though this gentleman dislikes the amusement in general, he can have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one half-hour."

89
  • Sir Williams’ persistence is equaled only by his impenetrable dullness.
  • Mr. Lucas’ effort at introduction is the forerunner to Charlotte’s effort to bring Darcy to Elizabeth.

"Mr. Darcy is all politeness," said Elizabeth, smiling.

90

"He is indeed; but considering the inducement, my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance -- for who would object to such a partner?"

91

Elizabeth looked archly, and turned away. Her resistance had not injured her with the gentleman, and he was thinking of her with some complacency, when thus accosted by Miss Bingley --

92
  • Actually Eliza’s refusal sends Darcy into a reverie of her fine eyes.
  • In love, a rival can never escape.

"I can guess the subject of your reverie."

94
  • Darcy’s love for Elizabeth was not noticed even by Caroline.
  • Dullness tries to attract by offence.

"I should imagine not."

95
  • Even passionate love can be kept closed in the heart
  • No one, not even the lover, can know another man’s thoughts.

"You are considering how insupportable it would be to pass many evenings in this manner -- in such society; and indeed I am quite of your opinion. I was never more annoyed! The insipidity, and yet the noise -- the nothingness, and yet the self-importance of all these people! What would I give to hear your strictures on them!"

96
  • A lover hastens to endorse the thoughts of his beloved.
  • The cultured do not resent the uncultured.
  • Sensitivity is the index of the unripe culture.
  • Caroline’s self-importance is offended by the self-importance of the Assembly.
  • In a weak position life responds with the opposite.
  • Man describes himself in describing others.
  • While in love, one cannot miss a single small opportunity.
  • What attracts Miss Bingley is Darcy’s focus on Elizabeth.

"Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow."

100
  • Lovers love to speak out their love occasionally, especially to a rival.

Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, and desired he would tell her what lady had the credit of inspiring such reflections. Mr. Darcy replied with great intrepidity --

103
  • Caroline was the only person to whom Darcy speaks of Eliza. It was because she was in love with him.
  • Lovers are sensitive about their love; still they itch to talk of them.
  • Eyes express the soul.
  • Serious Romance defies one’s strength if he has to speak.

"Miss Elizabeth Bennet."

105

"Miss Elizabeth Bennet!" Repeated Miss Bingley. "I am all astonishment. How long has she been such a favourite? -- and pray, when am I to wish you joy?"

106
  • Culture expresses resentment by congratulations.

"That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy."

109
  • Admiration to love, love to matrimony is the speed with which the lovers act, not only the imagination of a lady.
  • Love has the instantaneous capacity for fulfilment.

"Nay, if you are so serious about it, I shall consider the matter as absolutely settled. You will have a charming mother-in-law, indeed; and, of course, she will be always at Pemberley with you."

112
  • God makes up His offence by more offence. Stupidity acts like God.
  • Darcy courted Mrs. Bennet in Elizabeth.
  • Mrs. Bennet at Pemberly is a powerful incentive to drop Elizabeth.

He listened to her with perfect indifference while she chose to entertain herself in this manner; and as his composure convinced her that all was safe, her wit flowed long.

114
  • To take advantage of Darcy’s silence is a losing game for Miss Bingley.
  • The weak are satisfied in giving utterance to their aspirations.

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