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Pride & Prejudice: Chapter 10

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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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Text
Comment

The day passed much as the day before had done. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley had spent some hours of the morning with the invalid, who continued, though slowly, to mend; and in the evening Elizabeth joined their party in the drawing-room. The loo-table, however, did not appear. Mr. Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley, seated near him, was watching the progress of his letter and repeatedly calling off his attention by messages to his sister. Mr. Hurst and Mr. Bingley were at piquet, and Mrs. Hurst was observing their game.

1
  • Routine days speak of absence of excess energy.
  • Physical intimacy shows affection.
  • Men not entering Jane’s room shows the etiquette of those times.
  • Gentlemen are not ashamed of total idleness.

Elizabeth took up some needlework, and was sufficiently amused in attending to what passed between Darcy and his companion. The perpetual commendations of the lady, either on his handwriting, or on the evenness of his lines, or on the length of his letter, with the perfect unconcern with which her praises were received, formed a curious dialogue, and was exactly in unison with her opinion of each.

6
  • Jealousy is a constant irritation as Love is a constant inspiration.
  • A lost cause clamours enough to destroy its little chances.
  • Toadying never wins respect. It is a sure way to lose the little one has.
  • Elizabeth is amused at Caroline as she understands Darcy better than Caroline.
  • A snob is oblivious of the slights or even snubs.
  • Physical mind repeats what it spoke a minute ago.
  • Caroline is squeamish.
  • The small talk is elegant.
  • Newness of a taste never reaches surfeit.

10 caroline Pride and Prejudice

"How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter!"

8

He made no answer.

9

"You write uncommonly fast."

10
  • Flattery leads to contradictions.

"You are mistaken. I write rather slowly."

11

"How many letters you must have occasion to write in the course of the year! Letters of business, too! How odious I should think them!"

13

"It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead of to yours."

16

"Pray tell your sister that I long to see her."

17

"I have already told her so once, by your desire."

18

"I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend it for you. I mend pens remarkably well."

19

"Thank you -- but I always mend my own."

22
  • Love is blind.
  • Caroline never gets a single encouragement.
  • It is a truism that the folly of a fool sounds great in his own ears, as it emerges as his own talk expressing his own thoughts. What is enjoyed is not the intelligence of his words, but the fact it is his own voice, the product of a self-creative genius.
  • The balance of energies found in this page can be compared with that of another similar conversation at a few other places in the story.

"How can you contrive to write so even?"

23

He was silent.

24

"Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her improvement on the harp; and pray let her know that I am quite in raptures with her beautiful little design for a table, and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley's."

25

"Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till I write again? At present I have not room to do them justice."

26

"Oh! It is of no consequence. I shall see her in January. But do you always write such charming long letters to her, Mr. Darcy?"

28

"They are generally long; but whether always charming, it is not for me to determine."

31

"It is a rule with me that a person who can write a long letter with ease cannot write ill."

32

"That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline," cried her brother, "because he does not write with ease. He studies too much for words of four syllables. Do not you, Darcy?"

33

"My style of writing is very different from yours."

36

"Oh!" Cried Miss Bingley, "Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest."

37

"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them -- by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents."

39

"Your humility, Mr. Bingley," said Elizabeth, "must disarm reproof."

40
  • Elizabeth describes Bingley’s naïve behaviour as humility

"Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, "than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."

41
  • Darcy’s stricture is, to say the least, uncharitable.
  • Showing off before the ladies is a pardonable weakness in youth.
  • Darcy, who wants Elizabeth’s praises, cannot stand her praising Bingley

"And which of the two do you call my little recent piece of modesty?"

43

"The indirect boast; for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting. The power of doing anything with quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning that if you ever resolved on quitting Netherfield you should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort of panegyric, of compliment to yourself -- and yet what is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no real advantage to yourself or any one else?"

44
  • Darcy who really wants to address Elizabeth at length does so with Bingley

"Nay," cried Bingley, "this is too much, to remember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. And yet, upon my honour, I believed what I said to myself to be true, and I believe it at this moment. At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of needless precipitance merely to shew off before the ladies."

47
  • To show off before the ladies is a constant European behaviour

"I dare say you believed it; but I am by no means convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. Your conduct would be quite as dependant on chance as that of any man I know; and if, as you were mounting your horse, a friend were to say, 'Bingley, you had better stay till next week,' you would probably do it, you would probably not go -- and at another word, might stay a month."

50
  • Elizabeth responds to Darcy’s unexpressed intention by addressing him

"You have only proved by this," cried Elizabeth, "that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own disposition. You have shewn him off now much more than he did himself."

52

"I am exceedingly gratified," said Bingley, "by your converting what my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of my temper. But I am afraid you are giving it a turn which that gentleman did by no means intend; for he would certainly think the better of me if, under such a circumstance, I were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I could."

54
  • Bingley was overwhelmed by Elizabeth’s resourcefulness
  • Again, Bingley demostrates that though inferior to Darcy, he is not too stupid to be his friend.

"Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intention as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?"

56
  • Any behaviour permits any interpretation within limits.
  • Darcy has succeeded in drawing Elizabeth into his conversation but is unyielding
  • Even a strong desire cannot overcome character

"Upon my word I cannot exactly explain the matter -- Darcy must speak for himself."

57

"You expect me to account for opinions which you chuse to call mine, but which I have never acknowledged. Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your representation, you must remember, Miss Bennet, that the friend who is supposed to desire his return to the house, and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it without offering one argument in favour of its propriety."

58
  • Darcy is capable of a logical argument. But he is confronted later with the logic of life.

"To yield readily -- easily -- to the persuasion of a friend is no merit with you."

60
  • Elizabeth’s first encounter with Darcy is to deprive him of this merit
  • Love grows stronger in opposition than in agreement.
  • Ironically, Elizabeth is praising the very Bingley weakness that will cause her sister so much pain. As Darcy would later note, she is expressing views which are not really her own just for the fun of it. Darcy sees though it but thinks she is cute. Hence, the smiles.

"To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either."

61
  • She checks her laugh not to increase his pain. She thinks she wants to hurt him but, in reality, she cannot stand to see him hurt and, certainly, would do nothing to add to his discomfort. Darcy senses this.

"You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and affection. A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request without waiting for arguments to reason one into it. I am not particularly speaking of such a case as you have supposed about Mr. Bingley. We may as well wait, perhaps, till the circumstance occurs before we discuss the discretion of his behaviour thereupon. But in general and ordinary cases between friend and friend, where one of them is desired by the other to change a resolution of no very great moment, should you think ill of that person for complying with the desire, without waiting to be argued into it?"

62
  • As Elizabeth is accusing Darcy, he, without defending himself, derides Bingley. It is that role Bingley plays in his life.
  • Take the arguments in this page and examine them in the context of the post proposal period. Both would have benefitted by them.

"Will it not be advisable, before we proceed on this subject, to arrange with rather more precision the degree of importance which is to appertain to this request, as well as the degree of intimacy subsisting between the parties?"

67

"By all means," cried Bingley; "let us hear all the particulars, not forgetting their comparative height and size; for that will have more weight in the argument, Miss Bennet, than you may be aware of. I assure you that, if Darcy were not such a great tall fellow, in comparison with myself, I should not pay him half so much deference. I declare I do not know a more awful object than Darcy, on particular occasions, and in particular places; at his own house especially, and of a Sunday evening, when he has nothing to do."

68
  • Bingley agrees on how tall Darcy is.

Mr. Darcy smiled; but Elizabeth thought she could perceive that he was rather offended, and therefore checked her laugh. Miss Bingley warmly resented the indignity he had received, in an expostulation with her brother for talking such nonsense.

71
  • Elizabeth checks herself finding Darcy offended. Look for a similar border which she consciously gained in his proposal calling him ungentlemanly.

"I see your design, Bingley," said his friend. "You dislike an argument, and want to silence this."

73
  • Darcy is good at arguments which he resorted to in the proposal. It is a place where attitude, not arguments, work.
  • Darcy’s domination over Bingley is total. He says he is without conviction
  • Without doing anything intentionally Darcy made Elizabeth speak at length.
  • The subconscious fulfils itself.

10 elizabeth Pride and Prejudice

"Perhaps I do. Arguments are too much like disputes. If you and Miss Bennet will defer yours till I am out of the room I shall be very thankful; and then you may say whatever you like of me."

75

"What you ask," said Elizabeth, "is no sacrifice on my side; and Mr. Darcy had much better finish his letter."

78
  • In suggesting Darcy finish the letter, already we see the wife in action. It is exactly like a married wife Elizabeth talked to Darcy in her dance.
  • The rational end to which the conversation ends reflects the end of the story.

Mr. Darcy took her advice, and did finish his letter.

79
  • Darcy, a little later, offers to dance with Elizabeth. This he does as he subconsciously submitted to her wishes of writing the letter.
  • Darcy was eager to take her advice as a lover would.

When that business was over, he applied to Miss Bingley and Elizabeth for the indulgence of some music. Miss Bingley moved with alacrity to the pianoforte; and, after a polite request that Elizabeth would lead the way, which the other as politely and more earnestly negatived, she seated herself.

80

Mrs. Hurst sang with her sister; and while they were thus employed, Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music books that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy's eyes were fixed on her. She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration to so great a man; and yet that he should look at her because he disliked her was still more strange. She could only imagine, however, at last, that she drew his notice because there was a something about her more wrong and reprehensible, according to his ideas of right, than in any other person present. The supposition did not pain her. She liked him too little to care for his approbation.

82
  • Darcy’s looks stay on Elizabeth and she reacts to it by refusing to sing or dance, recognition of the woman of the man’s seeking.
  • Life that develops is never without subtle hints. Elizabeth could see Darcy’s eyes on her.
  • Man may fail to take note of what develops. Life never fails.

After playing some Italian songs, Miss Bingley varied the charm by a lively Scotch air; and soon afterwards Mr. Darcy, drawing near Elizabeth, said to her --

87
  • Darcy was untouched by Miss Bingley’s musical charms. Elizabeth was totally attractive. His wanting to dance with her was such an occasion

"Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel?"

88
  • Darcy’s proposal can be seen in several initial acts of advance. His direct offer to dance only with her, her considered refusal on his reminding her is a miniature subtle proposal in inversion.
  • The offence she implied in his looks should have melted away by his offer

She smiled, but made no answer. He repeated the question, with some surprise at her silence.

89
  • She goes silent by her subconscious consent in spite of conscious disapproval
  • Silence indicates indecision because of conflict

"Oh!" Said she, "I heard you before, but I could not immediately determine what to say in reply. You wanted me, I know, to say 'Yes,' that you might have the pleasure of despising my taste; but I always delight in overthrowing those kind of schemes, and cheating a person of their premeditated contempt. I have, therefore, made up my mind to tell you, that I do not want to dance a reel at all -- and now despise me if you dare."

91
  • Her character prevails which pleases Darcy more than the dance

"Indeed I do not dare."

94
  • A mixture of sweetness and archness in her prevents her from offending anyone. Till the end she is unable to offend Wickham who callously ruined her family.
  • Darcy was bewitched by Elizabeth. She is unaware of it as she is in her mind, not sensations.
  • He dare not despise her, not from gallantry but as a fact of his love

Elizabeth, having rather expected to affront him, was amazed at his gallantry; but there was a mixture of sweetness and archness in her manner which made it difficult for her to affront anybody, and Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed that, were it not for the inferiority of her connexions, he should be in some danger.

95
  • A developed mind is sweet even in differing.
  • Darcy sees how much he has gone out to her.
  • Attention of the high to the low is often unnoticed
  • The only persons who saw the loss of Darcy is the jealous rival.
  • Jealousy is the tether end of negative social growth.

Miss Bingley saw, or suspected enough to be jealous; and her great anxiety for the recovery of her dear friend Jane received some assistance from her desire of getting rid of Elizabeth.

97
  • Angry people are not rational. As their anger grows, their irrationality increases. Anger is the disequilibrium of sensations. Trying to restore it, it resorts to more of sensations, here it is dislike.
  • Caroline is a big girl. Elizabeth is little. Caroline begins to feel the importance of being big.
  • No one except Miss Bingley, not even Elizabeth, noticed how Darcy melted.
  • Love as well as jealousy is perceptive.
  • Stupidity does the opposite of what it would like.
  • Miss Bingley ultimately destroys any chance for her with Darcy.
  • Lovers who dare not mention their lady lover’s name, are pleased to listen to it from others whatever the content or context.
  • Caroline voices the objections that prevent Darcy from open admiration. He leaves without proposing. Only after Darcy sees how well she functions in Rosings in the absence of her family, does he propose.

She often tried to provoke Darcy into disliking her guest, by talking of their supposed marriage, and planning his happiness in such an alliance.

98

"I hope," said she, as they were walking together in the shrubbery the next day, "you will give your mother-in-law a few hints, when this desirable event takes place, as to the advantage of holding her tongue; and if you can compass it, do cure the younger girls of running after the officers. -- And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, endeavour to check that little something, bordering on conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses."

99
  • Even Darcy’s sarcasm energises her folly.

"Have you anything else to propose for my domestic felicity?"

101

"Oh! Yes. Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt Philips be placed in the gallery at Pemberley. Put them next to your great-uncle the judge. They are in the same profession, you know; only in different lines. As for your Elizabeth's picture, you must not attempt to have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?"

102
  • Life sets limits to stupidity and acts to prevent it

"It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eye-lashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied."

107

At that moment they were met from another walk by Mrs. Hurst and Elizabeth herself.

108

"I did not know that you intended to walk," said Miss Bingley, in some confusion, lest they had been overheard.

109
  • All of them have excessively good conversational ability.
  • It prevents sincerity.
  • Darcy takes steps not to be rude

"You used us abominably ill," answered Mrs. Hurst, "running away without telling us that you were coming out."

110

Then, taking the disengaged arm of Mr. Darcy, she left Elizabeth to walk by herself. The path just admitted three. Mr. Darcy felt their rudeness and immediately said, --

111
  • The walk is not wide enough. The earth reflects their narrow minds.
  • Darcy feels the rudeness. But he is unable to prevent it. The situation here is partially reflective of their thoughts. Jane Austen has the very physical sensation of the story she writes.

"This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had better go into the avenue."

114
  • Elizabeth laughs when left out. This is what charms Darcy.

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly answered, --

116
  • Elizabeth’s gaiety was partly due to Darcy’s constant superior attention

"No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. Good-bye."

117
  • They are charmingly grouped excluding Elizabeth. It clearly indicates their coming together to act against Jane.
  • Running is natural for her. An Indian girl cannot conceive of running.

She then ran gaily off, rejoicing, as she rambled about, in the hope of being at home again in a day or two. Jane was already so much recovered as to intend leaving her room for a couple of hours that evening.

121

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