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Pride & Prejudice: Chapter 16

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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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As no objection was made to the young people's engagement with their aunt, and all Mr. Collins's scruples of leaving Mr. and Mrs. Bennet for a single evening during his visit were most steadily resisted, the coach conveyed him and his five cousins at a suitable hour to Meryton; and the girls had the pleasure of hearing, as they entered the drawing-room, that Mr. Wickham had accepted their uncle's invitation, and was then in the house.

1
  • Mr. Collins scruples to leave home for one evening.
  • Mr. Collins is so full of self-importance that he is oblivious of the complete sway of Wickham over the female hearts.
  • The Bennet girls are all out though the eldest is not married.
  • Grooms too come from unusual level

When this information was given, and they had all taken their seats, Mr. Collins was at leisure to look around him and admire, and he was so much struck with the size and furniture of the apartment, that he declared he might almost have supposed himself in the small summer breakfast-parlour at Rosings; a comparison that did not at first convey much gratification; but when Mrs. Philips understood from him what Rosings was, and who was its proprietor -- when she had listened to the description of only one of Lady Catherine's drawing-rooms, and found that the chimney-piece alone had cost eight hundred pounds, she felt all the force of the compliment, and would hardly have resented a comparison with the housekeeper's room.

2
  • The total attention of Mrs. Phillips is completely won forever by the comparison of her drawing room to one room of Rosings.
  • Mr. Collins carries artificial formalities beyond limits.
  • Mr. Collins was so self-absorbed that the high reputation and charm of Wickham entirely lost on him.
  • Mr. Collins could see the world only through Lady Catherine.
  • Ironic modesty is the hallmark of the self-conceited small man.
  • Capacity to listen raises the listener in the eyes of the speaker

16 phillips Pride and Prejudice

In describing to her all the grandeur of Lady Catherine and her mansion, with occasional digressions in praise of his own humble abode, and the improvements it was receiving, he was happily employed until the gentlemen joined them; and he found in Mrs. Philips a very attentive listener, whose opinion of his consequence increased with what she heard, and who was resolving to retail it all among her neighbours as soon as she could. To the girls, who could not listen to their cousin, and who had nothing to do but to wish for an instrument, and examine their own indifferent imitations of china on the mantlepiece, the interval of waiting appeared very long. It was over at last, however. The gentlemen did approach, and when Mr. Wickham walked into the room, Elizabeth felt that she had neither been seeing him before, nor thinking of him since, with the smallest degree of unreasonable admiration. The officers of the -- -- shire were in general a very creditable, gentlemanlike set, and the best of them were of the present party; but Mr. Wickham was as far beyond them all in person, countenance, air, and walk, as they were superior to the broad-faced, stuffy uncle Philips, breathing port wine, who followed them into the room.

3
  • At first sight of Wickham, Elizabeth inwardly justifies her constant thoughts of him as not unreasonable
  • Lydia’s elopement explains her initiative in the light of the integrity of the officers described here.

Mr. Wickham was the happy man towards whom almost every female eye was turned, and Elizabeth was the happy woman by whom he finally seated himself; and the agreeable manner in which he immediately fell into conversation, though it was only on its being a wet night, and on the probability of a rainy season, made her feel that the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker.

8
  • That the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic can be rendered interesting is because the infinity is in the infinitesimal.
  • To the ladies Wickham was superior to everyone in her superlative grace.
  • Empty embellishment changes to the opposite when the atmosphere changes.
  • It is striking that Wickham and Darcy instinctively were attracted by Elizabeth.
  • Elizabeth was to pass through the disillusionment of Wickham to deserve Darcy.
  • A well bred man readily falls into conversation as we see Colonel Fitzwilliam.
  • Charm of conversation does not depend upon the topic, but the speaker.
  • To be attractive to young ladies is an endowment to young men.
  • Blemishes in behaviour totally expose.
  • Captivating manners capture the imagination

With such rivals for the notice of the fair as Mr. Wickham and the officers, Mr. Collins seemed likely to sink into insignificance; to the young ladies he certainly was nothing; but he had still at intervals a kind listener in Mrs. Philips, and was, by her watchfulness, most abundantly supplied with coffee and muffin.

9
  • Physical company is made meaningful by plentiful eating and drinking. Physicality is fulfilled by vitality.

When the card-tables were placed, he had an opportunity of obliging her in return, by sitting down to whist.

10
  • If eating and drinking is lower vital, card game is higher vital.

"I know little of the game at present," said he, "but I shall be glad to improve myself, for in my situation of life -- " Mrs. Philips was very thankful for his compliance, but could not wait for his reason.

11

Mr. Wickham did not play at whist, and with ready delight was he received at the other table between Elizabeth and Lydia. At first there seemed danger of Lydia's engrossing him entirely, for she was a most determined talker; but being likewise extremely fond of lottery tickets, she soon grew too much interested in the game, too eager in making bets and exclaiming after prizes, to have attention for any one in particular. Allowing for the common demands of the game, Mr. Wickham was therefore at leisure to talk to Elizabeth, and she was very willing to hear him, though what she chiefly wished to hear she could not hope to be told -- the history of his acquaintance with Mr. Darcy. She dared not even mention that gentleman. Her curiosity, however, was unexpectedly relieved. Mr. Wickham began the subject himself. He inquired how far Netherfield was from Meryton; and after receiving her answer, asked in an hesitating manner how long Mr. Darcy had been staying there.

13
  • The very first meeting of Wickham with Elizabeth is not planned for, but did not come off all by itself. Both she and he availed of the circumstances.
  • It is extremely significant especially in view of Lydia’s initiative at the end that Lydia is on the point of entirely engrossing Wickham.
  • The very first to meet Wickham were Lydia and Elizabeth, indicating the future.
  • Elizabeth’s notice of the greeting between Darcy and Wickham brings the latter to her
  • Elizabeth making Wickham talk of Darcy on his own is the best example of Silent Will, though Elizabeth does it many time with him and others also.
  • Silent Will of Elizabeth makes Wickham talk of Darcy.
  • Wickham’s interest in Darcy was greater than in Elizabeth
  • Wickham makes Elizabeth spell out her view of Darcy by surreptitiously introducing the subject and his attitude.
  • Wickham exhibited all the manners of timid intruder, which Elizabeth overlooked.

"About a month," said Elizabeth; and then, unwilling to let the subject drop, added, "He is a man of very large property in Derbyshire, I understand."

20
  • In the initial minutes of their conversation, each comes closer to the other and each perfectly in a subtle manner understands the other.
  • Elizabeth gives the lead to the topic though she did not begin about Darcy

"Yes," replied Wickham; "his estate there is a noble one. A clear ten thousand per annum. You could not have met with a person more capable of giving you certain information on that head than myself; for I have been connected with his family in a particular manner from my infancy."

21
  • Wickham cunningly qualifies to know all about Darcy

"You may well be surprised, Miss Bennet, at such an assertion, after seeing, as you probably might, the very cold manner of our meeting yesterday. Are you much acquainted with Mr. Darcy?"

24
  • It is he who first mentions Darcy’s rudeness to her as he senses her attitude
  • (Cf. Wickham who senses Elizabeth’s annoyance with Darcy gently opens his campaign of falsehood. In his last meeting with her he equally senses that he is sufficiently exposed to her and gently retires. The indication of Life is inescapable.)
  • Wickham gently but surely poisons her mind. She is a willing victim.
  • Wickham cunningly gains her ear presenting him as one who is most qualified to slander. He does it in the name of a noble sentiment.
  • His cunning has a parallel to Antony’s oration.
  • Wickham knows the magnificent attitudes of high aristocracy

"As much as I ever wish to be," cried Elizabeth warmly. "I have spent four days in the same house with him, and I think him very disagreeable."

26
  • It is Elizabeth who first calls him disagreeable, though by his cold manner he indicated his mind.

"I have no right to give my opinion," said Wickham, "as to his being agreeable or otherwise. I am not qualified to form one. I have known him too long and too well to be a fair judge. It is impossible for me to be impartial. But I believe your opinion of him would in general astonish -- and perhaps you would not express it quite so strongly anywhere else. Here you are in your own family."

28
  • It is a master strategy that he, as if he is a well-bred gentleman, assumes no right to speak of Darcy in view of his intimacy.
  • In the whole novel, this passage is the most perfect description of fairness.

"Upon my word I say no more here than I might say in any house in the neighbourhood, except Netherfield. He is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Everybody is disgusted with his pride. You will not find him more favourably spoken of by any one."

34
  • He fathoms her dislike which he already knew gently.
  • Elizabeth comes out openly, rather Wickham manages to get her out, and make her pronounce her inordinate dislike.
  • He succeeds in accusing Darcy in her own words.
  • He succeeds in bringing her out openly.
  • Without directly knowing Elizabeth was slighted, he fully becomes aware of that sentiment and fully draws her out

16 wickham talks Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth could not but look surprised. "I cannot pretend to be sorry," said Wickham, after a short interruption, "that he or that any man should not be estimated beyond their deserts; but with him I believe it does not often happen. The world is blinded by his fortune and consequence, or frightened by his high and imposing manners, and sees him only as he chuses to be seen."

38
  • Now that he has won the field entirely, he angles to sow seeds of discord.

"I should take him, even on my slight acquaintance, to be an ill-tempered man." Wickham only shook his head.

41
  • Till she repeats her resentment and dislike in so many words, so many times, Wickham bides his time.

"I wonder," said he, at the next opportunity of speaking, "whether he is likely to be in this country much longer."

43
  • His interest is to know how long Darcy will stay to know whether his scandal will reach his ears.

"I do not at all know; but I heard nothing of his going away when I was at Netherfield. I hope your plans in favour of the -- -- shire will not be affected by his being in the neighbourhood."

44
  • Elizabeth is anxious that Wickham should not go away because of Darcy
  • Readily she expresses her anxiety that his stay should not be determined by Darcy’s staying. It is her first expression of strong interest.

"Oh! No -- it is not for me to be driven away by Mr. Darcy. If he wishes to avoid seeing me, he must go. We are not on friendly terms, and it always gives me pain to meet him, but I have no reason for avoiding him but what I might proclaim to all the world -- a sense of very great ill-usage, and most painful regrets at his being what he is. His father, Miss Bennet, the late Mr. Darcy, was one of the best men that ever breathed, and the truest friend I ever had; and I can never be in company with this Mr. Darcy without being grieved to the soul by a thousand tender recollections. His behaviour to myself has been scandalous; but I verily believe I could forgive him anything and everything, rather than his disappointing the hopes and disgracing the memory of his father."

46
  • His diplomatic answer of fair courage is later recalled by her as a marked act of deceit.
  • His captivating softness, as she called it, has already won her fully. Neither Mr. Bennet who called him a pleasant fellow nor Mrs. Gardiner who discovered him to be mercenary saw enough in him to warn Elizabeth.
  • He triumphantly asserts his independence only to swallow it soon.
  • An incapacity of action will express itself triumphantly as its opposite.
  • He takes on himself a most gentlemanly nobility.
  • His poise is one of offended dignity.
  • Even when scandalously sinned against, he claims to noble behaviour

Elizabeth found the interest of the subject increase, and listened with all her heart; but the delicacy of it prevented farther inquiry.

51
  • Elizabeth’s interest increases. It is not in Wickham. Really it is her interest in Darcy of which she is unaware.
  • Prevented by delicacy she refrained from asking about Darcy. It became Silent Will and he spoke the news she very much wanted

Mr. Wickham began to speak on more general topics, Meryton, the neighbourhood, the society, appearing highly pleased with all that he had yet seen, and speaking of the latter especially with gentle but very intelligible gallantry.

52
  • He and she are now united by the common dislike of Darcy.
  • (The illusion he has created later was the cause for her self-finding. Had he been true to her and refrained from falsehood, there is no chance of her overcoming her charm for him, in favour of Darcy. Wrong people serve the cause wrongly. As the present atmosphere is strong, he was exposed. In a weak atmosphere he would have prevailed forever.)

16 wickham Pride and Prejudice

"It was the prospect of constant society, and good society," he added, "which was my chief inducement to enter the -- -- shire. I knew it to be a most respectable, agreeable corps, and my friend Denny tempted me farther by his account of their present quarters, and the very great attentions and excellent acquaintance Meryton had procured them. Society, I own, is necessary to me. I have been a disappointed man, and my spirits will not bear solitude. I must have employment and society. A military life is not what I was intended for, but circumstances have now made it eligible. The church ought to have been my profession -- I was brought up for the church, and I should at this time have been in possession of a most valuable living, had it pleased the gentleman we were speaking of just now."

53
  • His implicit flattery of Meryton, her uncle, etc. are obvious once we know his character, not before he is exposed. But Elizabeth is a willing victim who glorifies in his martyrdom.
  • He flatters her saying her society is great.
  • Eliciting sympathy has an immediate effect in people having grievances.
  • I am a disappointed man – She is tolerable.
  • ‘I immensely like you.’

"Indeed!"

60

"Yes -- the late Mr. Darcy bequeathed me the next presentation of the best living in his gift. He was my godfather, and excessively attached to me. I cannot do justice to his kindness. He meant to provide for me amply, and thought he had done it; but when the living fell it was given elsewhere."

61
  • Wickham avoids mentioning Darcy’s name and evokes a deep endorsement of his emotion.
  • As emotional receptivity is fully prepared, he readily delivers his story of the living, godfather, letting down.

"Good heavens!" Cried Elizabeth; "but how could that be? -- How could his will be disregarded? -- Why did not you seek legal redress?"

65
  • Her thinking of legal recourse shows how identified she is with his life
  • Her sense of his unfair suffering becomes keener every minute.
  • He wriggles out of the situation which escapes her attention.
  • He presents the ‘facts’, allows her to condemn Darcy, himself refraining from the crime.
  • She is oblivious of his cunning, overwhelmed by his charm

"There was just such an informality in the terms of the bequest as to give me no hope from law. A man of honour could not have doubted the intention, but Mr. Darcy chose to doubt it -- or to treat it as a merely conditional recommendation, and to assert that I had forfeited all claim to it by extravagance, imprudence -- in short, anything or nothing. Certain it is, that the living became vacant two years ago, exactly as I was of an age to hold it, and that it was given to another man; and no less certain is it, that I cannot accuse myself of having really done anything to deserve to lose it. I have a warm, unguarded temper, and I may perhaps have sometimes spoken my opinion of him, and to him, too freely. I can recal nothing worse. But the fact is, that we are very different sort of men, and that he hates me."

68
  • She thinks of legal redress; he escapes through the doors of informality. The poisonous seed is sown. It has readily sprouted.
  • (Darcy) ‘He hates me,’ says Wickham, and does not say, ‘I hate him’. Very diplomatic
  • Wickham speaks of a man of honour.
  • He is ‘spotless’.
  • He tells her how she just then feels him.
  • Having accused him of the worst treachery, he declares he has nothing more that is worse.

"This is quite shocking! -- He deserves to be publicly disgraced."

74
  • In other words, Elizabeth was totally won over emotionally.
  • He shocked her to say Darcy must be exposed.
  • This shocks her, and she wants to publicly expose Darcy. Thus in a few minutes he achieves a consummate victory, though temporary.
  • (Note her words ‘must be publicly exposed’ come true of Wickham when he ran away with Lydia. Words uttered have a way of becoming true though in a different fashion.)
  • Though she believes the scandal readily, she is unable to understand the coinage when she asks what the motive was

"Some time or other he will be -- but it shall not be by me. Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or expose him."

76
  • He makes Darcy a shade worse, saying that he could not escape exposure and himself a shade nobler that he will not expose him.

Elizabeth honoured him for such feelings, and thought him handsomer than ever as he expressed them.

78

"But what," said she, after a pause, "can have been his motive? -- what can have induced him to behave so cruelly?"

79
  • She hit upon his falsehood discovering in the narrative no motive for Darcy, but she was by then totally taken in.

"A thorough, determined dislike of me -- a dislike which I cannot but attribute in some measure to jealousy. Had the late Mr. Darcy liked me less, his son might have borne with me better; but his father's uncommon attachment to me irritated him, I believe, very early in life. He had not a temper to bear the sort of competition in which we stood -- the sort of preference which was often given me."

80
  • What she refuses to ‘see’ he brings her to see the jealousy of Darcy of his own superior personality

"I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this -- though I have never liked him, I had not thought so very ill of him. -- I had supposed him to be despising his fellow-creatures in general, but did not suspect him of descending to such malicious revenge, such injustice, such inhumanity as this!"

83
  • He paints Darcy dark and she says she never thought so ill of Darcy. The truth is there around unattested by her.
  • Her own judgment has not put Darcy down that badly

After a few minutes reflection, however, she continued -- "I do remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, of the implacability of his resentments, of his having an unforgiving temper. His disposition must be dreadful."

85
  • From her own experience, she tries to find corroboration for this story

"I will not trust myself on the subject," replied Wickham, "I can hardly be just to him."

87
  • Quickly Wickham dissociates himself from her description.
  • Wickham takes one further noble step of impartiality

Elizabeth was again deep in thought, and after a time exclaimed, "To treat in such a manner the godson, the friend, the favourite of his father!" -- She could have added, "A young man too, like you, whose very countenance may vouch for your being amiable" -- but she contented herself with, "And one, too, who had probably been his own companion from childhood, connected together, as I think you said, in the closest manner!"

88
  • She was fully captivated, taken in, lost forever.
  • She almost feels that her judgment of Darcy is based on Wickham’s handsome face

"We were born in the same parish, within the same park, the greatest part of our youth was passed together; inmates of the same house, sharing the same amusements, objects of the same parental care. My father began life in the profession which your uncle, Mr. Philips, appears to do so much credit to -- but he gave up everything to be of use to the late Mr. Darcy, and devoted all his time to the care of the Pemberley property. He was most highly esteemed by Mr. Darcy, a most intimate, confidential friend. Mr. Darcy often acknowledged himself to be under the greatest obligations to my father's active superintendance, and when, immediately before my father's death, Mr. Darcy gave him a voluntary promise of providing for me, I am convinced that he felt it to be as much a debt of gratitude to him as of affection to myself."

90
  • What Wickham won over entirely, he reinforces in many ways.
  • Wickham finds his conquest and handiwork wonderful.
  • He plays on that theme drawing upon her fervent sympathy

16 elizabeth feels Pride and Prejudice

"How strange!" Cried Elizabeth. "How abominable! -- I wonder that the very pride of this Mr. Darcy has not made him just to you! -- If from no better motive, that he should not have been too proud to be dishonest, -- for dishonesty I must call it."

94
  • She was totally won over. To her Darcy is dishonest.
  • (Impression is not reality. Finally she was to discover that it is Wickham who is dishonest. Dishonesty arises from her prejudice as she later discovers

"It is wonderful," replied Wickham, -- "for almost all his actions may be traced to pride; and pride has often been his best friend. It has connected him nearer with virtue than any other feeling. But we are none of us consistent, and in his behaviour to me there were stronger impulses even than pride."

98
  • Wickham has perception enough to feed her grievance against Darcy without actually knowing what the grievance is.
  • Having won her favour, Wickham builds his theory of pride

"Can such abominable pride as his have ever done him good?"

101
  • Even now she does not condemn Darcy. She only wonders how it will do him good

"Yes. It has often led him to be liberal and generous -- to give his money freely, to display hospitality, to assist his tenants, and relieve the poor. Family pride, and filial pride -- for he is very proud of what his father was -- have done this. Not to appear to disgrace his family, to degenerate from the popular qualities, or lose the influence of the Pemberley House, is a powerful motive. He has also brotherly pride, which, with some brotherly affection, makes him a very kind and careful guardian of his sister, and you will hear him generally cried up as the most attentive and best of brothers."

102
  • Even Wickham had to admit Darcy’s brotherly affection

"What sort of a girl is Miss Darcy?"

107

He shook his head. "I wish I could call her amiable. It gives me pain to speak ill of a Darcy. But she is too much like her brother -- very, very proud. As a child, she was affectionate and pleasing, and extremely fond of me; and I have devoted hours and hours to her amusement. But she is nothing to me now. She is a handsome girl, about fifteen or sixteen, and I understand, highly accomplished. Since her father's death, her home has been London, where a lady lives with her, and superintends her education."

108
  • Wickham, for no reason, speaks ill of Miss Darcy, an uncalled for evil
  • His is a false character that tries to gain the maximum from the moment

After many pauses and many trials of other subjects, Elizabeth could not help reverting once more to the first, and saying --

116
  • The restraint Elizabeth had with Darcy, she did not have with Bingley

"I am astonished at his intimacy with Mr. Bingley! How can Mr. Bingley, who seems good-humour itself, and is, I really believe, truly amiable, be in friendship with such a man? How can they suit each other? Do you know Mr. Bingley?"

117
  • Elizabeth evinces genuine interest in Bingley

"Not at all."

121
  • Even her Wickham absolves Bingley and abuses Darcy

"He is a sweet-tempered, amiable, charming man. He cannot know what Mr. Darcy is."

122

"Probably not; -- but Mr. Darcy can please where he chuses. He does not want abilities. He can be a conversible companion if he thinks it worth his while. Among those who are at all his equals in consequence, he is a very different man from what he is to the less prosperous. His pride never deserts him; but with the rich he is liberal-minded, just, sincere, rational, honourable, and perhaps agreeable -- allowing something for fortune and figure."

124
  • For Darcy’s pride, Bingley’s friendship, Wickham gives an acceptable reason to her who is eager to accept anything.

The whist party soon afterwards breaking up, the players gathered round the other table, and Mr. Collins took his station between his cousin Elizabeth and Mrs. Philips. The usual inquiries as to his success were made by the latter. It had not been very great: he had lost every point; but when Mrs. Philips began to express her concern thereupon, he assured her with much earnest gravity that it was not of the least importance, that he considered the money as a mere trifle, and begged she would not make herself uneasy.

129
  • To Collins the one reference is Lady Catherine, even his card losses

16 collins at cards Pride and Prejudice

"I know very well, madam," said he, "that when persons sit down to a card-table they must take their chance of these things -- and happily I am not in such circumstances as to make five shillings any object. There are undoubtedly many who could not say the same, but thanks to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I am removed far beyond the necessity of regarding little matters."

132
  • Mr. Collins is acutely aware of his financial self-sufficiency and is anxious to announce it wherever possible.

Mr. Wickham's attention was caught; and after observing Mr. Collins for a few moments, he asked Elizabeth in a low voice whether her relation were very intimately acquainted with the family of de Bourgh.

134
  • Alert men rarely miss anything related to them. Men are alert, events are awake, life is always receptively open.
  • At the word de Bourgh, Wickham was able to know of Collins

"Lady Catherine de Bourgh," she replied, "has very lately given him a living. I hardly know how Mr. Collins was first introduced to her notice, but he certainly has not known her long."

135
  • Here Elizabeth knows of Lady Catherine as the aunt of Darcy.
  • (Indeed Wickham “tells” her that she, Elizabeth, will marry Darcy. The final event in the subtle plane makes Wickham speak of it in these words.)
  • To be able to know the action of subtle plane in this way will give a depth of perception to the reader.

"You know of course that Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lady Anne Darcy were sisters; consequently that she is aunt to the present Mr. Darcy."

137
  • Wickham is not only alert but tells her without delay the significance of the news.

"No, indeed, I did not. I knew nothing at all of Lady Catherine's connexions. I never heard of her existence till the day before yesterday."

138
  • Look for Elizabeth’s interest in Darcy beyond the gossip.
  • Elizabeth has enough penetration to know the Lady is conceited from Collins.
  • (The Lady may be conceited. To perceive that makes the Lady deliver her conceit on to Elizabeth. Perception has that power.)

"Her daughter, Miss de Bourgh, will have a very large fortune, and it is believed that she and her cousin will unite the two estates."

141
  • Lady Anne Darcy who is the rival to Elizabeth is there very much in the news.

This information made Elizabeth smile, as she thought of poor Miss Bingley. Vain indeed must be all her attentions, vain and useless her affection for his sister and her praise of himself, if he were already self-destined to another.

142
  • Not only is Caroline pushed out from Darcy but Anne too is pushed out by Elizabeth entering the picture.

"Mr. Collins," said she, "speaks highly both of Lady Catherine and her daughter; but from some particulars that he has related of her ladyship, I suspect his gratitude misleads him, and that in spite of her being his patroness, she is an arrogant, conceited woman."

144

"I believe her to be both in a great degree," replied Wickham; "I have not seen her for many years, but I very well remember that I never liked her, and that her manners were dictatorial and insolent. She has the reputation of being remarkably sensible and clever; but I rather believe she derives part of her abilities from her rank and fortune, part from her authoritative manner, and the rest from the pride of her nephew, who chuses that every one connected with him should have an understanding of the first class."

145
  • It is Darcy’s arrogance and conceit that Wickham presents to her through Lady Catherine.
  • Rather, it is Elizabeth’s arrogance or still Wickham’s arrogant scandal about Darcy.
  • Wickham’s cleverness again acts cunningly here. He does not accuse the Lady first. He only takes up Elizabeth’s thread. He is a consummate diplomat

Elizabeth allowed that he had given a very rational account of it, and they continued talking together with mutual satisfaction till supper put an end to cards, and gave the rest of the ladies their share of Mr. Wickham's attentions. There could be no conversation in the noise of Mrs. Philips's supper party, but his manners recommended him to everybody. Whatever he said, was said well; and whatever he did, done gracefully. Elizabeth went away with her head full of him. She could think of nothing but of Mr. Wickham, and of what he had told her, all the way home; but there was not time for her even to mention his name as they went, for neither Lydia nor Mr. Collins were once silent. Lydia talked incessantly of lottery tickets, of the fish she had lost and the fish she had won; Mr. Collins, in describing the civility of Mr. and Mrs. Philips, protesting that he did not in the least regard his losses at whist, enumerating all the dishes at supper, and repeatedly fearing that he crouded his cousins, had more to say than he could well manage before the carriage stopped at Longbourn House.

147
  • Wickham’s presentation is on a par with Antony’s oration over the dead body of Julius Caesar.
  • The rest of the time is needed for the curing of the construction till supper.
  • Note it was Lydia before the conversation and it is Lydia after the conversation. Lydia envelops the atmosphere.
  • Every lady awaits for some attention from Wickham, so charming is he.
  • He spoke softly in pleasing, captivating phrases as a result of the best of upbringings.
  • Being poor in Pemberley he could know the value of captivating manners which need Darcy had not.
  • Lydia and Collins were full of words and noise, all that they have.
  • Lydia goes with Collins in the actions in the return journey. From there, Collins lands in Charlotte, who is not at Mrs. Phillips, through Elizabeth. Lydia – Elizabeth – Wickham – Lydia – Collins – Elizabeth – Charlotte is the chain of persons from now till his proposal to Charlotte. Lydia ending up with Wickham and Charlotte with Collins is a parallel we have to discover.
  • Lydia is shameless because of lack of culture.
  • Charlotte cannot afford to value culture because of poverty.
  • Lydia represents Charlotte at Mrs. Phillips. So the four men and four women meet. Only Charlotte is represented by proxy by Lydia in view of her excess energy.
  • Noise of Lydia and Collins shows the absence of 1. Truth, 2. culture, and 3. shame.
  • The empty head making incessant noise is the way it feels itself valuable.
  • Elizabeth has made a conquest, in her opinion, but in truth, she effectively walked into the fatal trap of Wickham’s falsehood. Charm succeeds. There is no stopping it

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