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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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Mrs. Gardiner's caution to Elizabeth was punctually and kindly given on the first favourable opportunity of speaking to her alone: after honestly telling her what she thought, she thus went on --

1
  • No one can be pleasant in handling an unpleasant subject.
  • Punctuality, kindness, honesty are beside the point when the personality is negatively touched.
  • Negative characters do a thing warned against. Elizabeth is not negative, though her liking for Wickham is not one that one can be given up easily. It is more than a passing fancy. As he has no truth or strength, she could break away from him later
  • Elizabeth was brought up in a house of £2000 a year. How could she live and bring up children in £200 a year? Her father does not seem to object to Wickham. He actually resisted Darcy tooth and nail

"You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love merely because you are warned against it; and therefore I am not afraid of speaking openly. Seriously, I would have you be on your guard. Do not involve yourself or endeavour to involve him in an affection which the want of fortune would make so very imprudent. I have nothing to say against him; he is a most interesting young man; and if he had the fortune he ought to have, I should think you could not do better. But as it is, you must not let your fancy run away with you. You have sense, and we all expect you to use it. Your father would depend on your resolution and good conduct, I am sure. You must not disappoint your father."

2
  • People go and do the exact thing they are warned against.
  • The advice gives energy, not understanding.
  • By sensibility the advisor means the listener would identify with her own senses.
  • Mrs. Gardiner has an emotional rapport with Elizabeth.
  • It is through that she takes Elizabeth to Darcy weaning her from Wickham.
  • She warns Elizabeth of want of fortune, in reality it is want of truth.
  • Fancy can take possession of anyone.
  • Sense and fancy do not go together.
  • Mrs. Gardiner appeals to her father, not what is right or good.
  • This is the very first warning Elizabeth gets in the whole complex matrix.
  • Her father has already revealed his feelings by telling Elizabeth that she should let Wickham be the man to jilt her. She may amuse herself with Wickham but not get serious about him.

"My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed."

10
  • Elizabeth makes light of the advice.

"Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise."

11

"Well, then, you need not be under any alarm. I will take care of myself, and of Mr. Wickham too. He shall not be in love with me, if I can prevent it."

12
  • Even in replying she loves to mention his name. 26.13

"Elizabeth, you are not serious now."

15

"I beg your pardon, I will try again. At present I am not in love with Mr. Wickham; no, I certainly am not. But he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable man I ever saw -- and if he becomes really attached to me -- I believe it will be better that he should not. I see the imprudence of it. -- Oh! That abominable Mr. Darcy! -- My father's opinion of me does me the greatest honor, and I should be miserable to forfeit it. My father, however, is partial to Mr. Wickham. In short, my dear aunt, I should be very sorry to be the means of making any of you unhappy; but since we see every day that where there is affection, young people are seldom withheld by immediate want of fortune from entering into engagements with each other, how can I promise to be wiser than so many of my fellow-creatures if I am tempted, or how am I even to know that it would be wisdom to resist? All that I can promise you, therefore, is not to be in a hurry. I will not be in a hurry to believe myself his first object. When I am in company with him, I will not be wishing. In short, I will do my best."

16
  • There is truth in Elizabeth saying she is not in love with him at that moment. For all the closeness they enjoy, Wickham has not shown any tendency to develop any intimacy with her.
  • He does not mean to be intimate and his character can charm but will not grow intimate.
  • Elizabeth takes the occasion to say he is the most agreeable man.
  • There is truth, again, in her saying ‘if he really becomes attached to me’ as there is none at present however much she may wish for it.
  • Just at that moment she exclaims ‘Oh that abominable Darcy’.
  • It is Darcy who is in her mind.
  • She points out that her father is partial to Wickham.
  • Obviously this is the first occasion, the only occasion, when her life is described in the context of love of Wickham. She enjoys it fully.
  • The issue is put squarely before her. She seeks the force of its danger.
  • She DOES have the sense of her not being the first object of his attention.
  • “I will take care of Wickham too,” says Elizabeth. Here she fancies that even if she gives him up, he would not give her up. A total illusion
  • “At present I am not in love with Wickham,” says Elizabeth. It is not true. She is head over heels in love with him. ‘Oh, that abominable Darcy’. Perhaps see thinks Darcy made him poor depriving him of the living. In a subtle sense, her exclamation about Darcy is her attraction to him
  • The long facetious explanation of Elizabeth to her aunt is really a loud thinking of how she cannot give him up

26 gardiner Pride and Prejudice

"Perhaps it will be as well if you discourage his coming here so very often. At least, you should not remind your mother of inviting him."

28

"As I did the other day," said Elizabeth, with a conscious smile; "very true, it will be wise in me to refrain from that. But do not imagine that he is always here so often. It is on your account that he has been so frequently invited this week. You know my mother's ideas as to the necessity of constant company for her friends. But really, and upon my honour, I will try to do what I think to be wisest; and now I hope you are satisfied."

30
  • Wickham is not there as often as she would wish.
  • She does wish him always there.
  • It is true Wickham is more often invited for Mrs. Gardiner’s sake.
  • It is also true when Elizabeth’s enthusiasm expands because of the aunt’s arrival, he comes more often.
  • Elizabeth gives her word to her aunt honestly.
  • She was to maintain it later. The truth of the promise does it.

Her aunt assured her that she was; and Elizabeth having thanked her for the kindness of her hints, they parted; -- a wonderful instance of advice being given on such a point without being resented.

35
  • Mrs. Gardiner is wise, kind and honest.
  • Otherwise she could not have advised Lizzy on this point.
  • Advice on such a point is not resented. Elizabeth is extraordinarily capable of comprehending her situation so as not to resent the wisdom of her aunt
  • She loves her aunt but that does not mean she is open with her as her aunt correctly notes in her letter about Darcy.

Mr. Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon after it had been quitted by the Gardiners and Jane; but as he took up his abode with the Lucases, his arrival was no great inconvenience to Mrs. Bennet. His marriage was now fast approaching, and she was at length so far resigned as to think it inevitable, and even repeatedly to say, in an ill-natured tone, that she "wished they might be happy." Thursday was to be the wedding day, and on Wednesday Miss Lucas paid her farewell visit; and when she rose to take leave, Elizabeth, ashamed of her mother's ungracious and reluctant good wishes, and sincerely affected herself, accompanied her out of the room. As they went downstairs together, Charlotte said --

36
  • It is significant Mr. Collins and Mrs. Gardiner missed each other.
  • Elizabeth is shifting from Collins to Darcy.
  • Mrs. Bennet till the end hopes that Collins’s wedding will not take place. For different reasons Elizabeth too had wishes of that description
  • This is an instance where one resents the good fortune coming to them
  • Mrs. Bennet responds like this to Darcy’s visits to her. Mr. Bennet violently reacts to Elizabeth’s engagement. Miss Bennet is incredulous about the same

26 charlotte Pride and Prejudice

"I shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza."

40

"That you certainly shall."

41

"And I have another favour to ask. Will you come and see me?"

42
  • Elizabeth has that soothing atmosphere which can neutralise the irksome behaviour of Mr. Collins.
  • Somehow, somewhere Charlotte wishes to do a kind turn to Lizzy.

"We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire."

44

"I am not likely to leave Kent for some time. Promise me, therefore, to come to Hunsford."

45
  • As Darcy thrust himself on Lizzy, Charlotte does so now. 26.46

Elizabeth could not refuse, though she foresaw little pleasure in the visit.

47

"My father and Maria are to come to me in March," added Charlotte, "and I hope you will consent to be of the party. Indeed, Eliza, you will be as welcome to me as either of them."

48
  • Charlotte already sees the future relationship.
  • Charlotte does not complain of Mr. Collins to Elizabeth. Elizabeth has denied her that pleasure by her “Impossible”.
  • Also she has the dignity of the wife of that period.

The wedding took place: the bride and bridegroom set off for Kent from the church door, and everybody had as much to say, or to hear, on the subject as usual. Elizabeth soon heard from her friend; and their correspondence was as regular and frequent as it had ever been; that it should be equally unreserved was impossible. Elizabeth could never address her without feeling that all the comfort of intimacy was over; and though determined not to slacken as a correspondent, it was for the sake of what had been rather than what was. Charlotte's first letters were received with a good deal of eagerness; there could not but be curiosity to know how she would speak of her new home, how she would like Lady Catherine, and how happy she would dare pronounce herself to be; though, when the letters were read, Elizabeth felt that Charlotte expressed herself on every point exactly as she might have foreseen. She wrote cheerfully, seemed surrounded with comforts, and mentioned nothing which she could not praise. The house, furniture, neighbourhood, and roads, were all to her taste, and Lady Catherine's behaviour was most friendly and obliging. It was Mr. Collins's picture of Hunsford and Rosings rationally softened; and Elizabeth perceived that she must wait for her own visit there, to know the rest.

50
  • A deeper relationship to be effective, the surface friendship must recede.
  • The determination not to slacken writing confirms the deeper relationship.
  • Really it is for the sake of what is to come.
  • Charlotte must really be cheerful for her to write cheerfully.
  • She wanted comforts which she got.
  • Charlotte went to Collins. Just then Jane went seeking her Collins.
  • When confidence is shaken in one important issue, intimacy is lost forever. Confidence generates intimacy.
  • That is Elizabeth's immature assumption. Relationship change and the friendship survives because of their mutual attachment.
  • The real psychological strength of Charlotte is she who is a channel for luck to Elizabeth somewhere recognises that Elizabeth brings her good luck
  • The physical forgets persons once they are out of sight. The vital loses all interest once the touch is lost. Mind does so by a changed understanding. Only the Spirit, on all occasions, endeavours to keep the contact
  • In human life, there are more objects than emotions

Jane had already written a few lines to her sister to announce their safe arrival in London; and when she wrote again, Elizabeth hoped it would be in her power to say something of the Bingleys.

57
  • Jane was to overcome her false faith in Caroline for her to marry.
  • At the same time Elizabeth’s visit to Hunsford helps her to overcome her false belief in a rational marriage.
  • When there is love, invariably, one runs across the other. The fact that Jane has not seen Bingley anywhere in London is a clear statement that neither had love in any measure of intensity. On Jane’s part, it is plainly marriage. On the part of Bingley it is surely a very strong attraction. Had it not been crossed, it would not have risen in intensity enough to mature into a wedding
  • “I enquired after their brother,” says Jane. Compare this with Bingley at Lambton unable to utter Jane’s name to Elizabeth. She was buried into the phrase, “all your sisters”. Bingley is more delicate than Jane in this respect is. Hers was a physical need, his was an emotional requirement. The physical can be indelicate
  • All advance of intimacy started from Caroline. The rule is he who has not taken initiative will never be the loser. Jane is meticulous in that regard even in her opinions. That is her strength and that wins her at the end
  • Wickham assumed Elizabeth would have fortune. Caroline and her sister likewise assumed a certain social status to their family. Both were disappointed. Friendship is between equals. Jane is not their equal
  • This is the first time Jane is disillusioned. Even here she tries to justify her confidence
  • Jane feels for certain Bingley knows of her being in town. The other man’s point of view is a great attitude, not easily assumed by all. There is a factor of Caroline hiding her presence in London. The complexities of life arise from such events
  • Assuming Bingley knows of her presence, the mind goes on building further assumptions that he is partial to Miss. Darcy. Analysis is thus vitiated by non-facts
  • Jane talks of duplicity. Never, not even in the worst cases does she use such language. It is this insight being true, that enabled events to turn right at the end
    26 elizabeth reads letter Pride and Prejudice

Her impatience for this second letter was as well rewarded as impatience generally is. Jane had been a week in town without either seeing or hearing from Caroline. She accounted for it, however, by supposing that her last letter to her friend from Longbourn had, by some accident, been lost.

58

"My aunt," she continued, "is going to-morrow into that part of the town, and I shall take the opportunity of calling in Grosvenor Street."

61
  • Jane takes the initiative to meet Caroline. It will not work.
  • Charlotte’s marriage is by her initiative but she manages to let the apparent initiative in the hands of Collins.

She wrote again when the visit was paid, and she had seen Miss Bingley. "I did not think Caroline in spirits," were her words; "but she was very glad to see me, and reproached me for giving her no notice of my coming to London. I was right, therefore; my last letter had never reached her. I inquired after their brother, of course. He was well, but so much engaged with Mr. Darcy that they scarcely ever saw him. I found that Miss Darcy was expected to dinner. I wish I could see her. My visit was not long, as Caroline and Mrs. Hurst were going out. I dare say I shall soon see them here."

62
  • Caroline is a liar. In England the history of lost letters was then unknown.
  • Caroline would have allowed Jane to meet Miss Darcy if there had been any truth in Bingley’s interest in Georgiana.

Elizabeth shook her head over this letter. It convinced her, that accident only could discover to Mr. Bingley her sister's being in town.

71
  • Mrs. Gardiner cancelled any accidental meeting of Jane and Bingley.
  • Caroline could have suspected Jane of following Bingley.

Four weeks passed away, and Jane saw nothing of him. She endeavoured to persuade herself that she did not regret it; but she could no longer be blind to Miss Bingley's inattention. After waiting at home every morning for a fortnight, and inventing every evening a fresh excuse for her, the visitor did at last appear; but the shortness of her stay, and yet more, the alteration of her manner, would allow Jane to deceive herself no longer. The letter which she wrote on this occasion to her sister will prove what she felt.

73
  • Small triumphs of life are more fascinating than the large victories of life. Caroline may enjoy thwarting Elizabeth and Jane overmuch.
  • As every advance to Jane was on Caroline’s side, finally Jane married Bingley. The significance of an initiative cannot be wiped out even by her who took it.
  • The effort Jane takes in this letter to maintain the appearance of her neutrality is great.
  • Its reward too is great.

"My dearest Lizzy will, I am sure, be incapable of triumphing in her better judgment, at my expense, when I confess myself to have been entirely deceived in Miss Bingley's regard for me. But, my dear sister, though the event has proved you right, do not think me obstinate if I still assert that, considering what her behaviour was, my confidence was as natural as your suspicion. I do not at all comprehend her reason for wishing to be intimate with me; but if the same circumstances were to happen again, I am sure I should be deceived again. Caroline did not return my visit till yesterday; and not a note, not a line, did I receive in the mean time. When she did come, it was very evident that she had no pleasure in it; she made a slight, formal apology for not calling before, said not a word of wishing to see me again, and was in every respect so altered a creature, that when she went away, I was perfectly resolved to continue the acquaintance no longer. I pity, though I cannot help blaming her. She was very wrong in singling me out as she did; I can safely say that every advance to intimacy began on her side. But I pity her, because she must feel that she has been acting wrong, and because I am very sure that anxiety for her brother is the cause of it. I need not explain myself farther; and though we know this anxiety to be quite needless, yet if she feels it, it will easily account for her behaviour to me; and so deservedly dear as he is to his sister, whatever anxiety she may feel on his behalf is natural and amiable. I cannot but wonder, however, at her having any such fears now, because, if he had at all cared about me, we must have met long, long ago. He knows of my being in town, I am certain, from something she said herself; and yet it would seem, by her manner of talking, as if she wanted to persuade herself that he is really partial to Miss Darcy. I cannot understand it. If I were not afraid of judging harshly, I should be almost tempted to say that there is a strong appearance of duplicity in all this. But I will endeavour to banish every painful thought, and think only of what will make me happy -- your affection, and the invariable kindness of my dear uncle and aunt. Let me hear from you very soon. Miss Bingley said something of his never returning to Netherfield again, of giving up the house, but not with any certainty. We had better not mention it. I am extremely glad that you have such pleasant accounts from our friends at Hunsford. Pray go to see them, with Sir William and Maria. I am sure you will be very comfortable there. -- Your's, etc."

77
  • To avoid Jane, it is not necessary for Bingley to quit Netherfield. Bingley could have cooled off. Darcy knows Bingley’s affection would not cool off and his own liking will become a passion.
  • Their effort to be away from Netherfield shows the strength of the real possibility.
  • To Jane, Elizabeth’s affection is equal to that of her aunt and uncle.
  • To her, appearances matter. Bingley suits that character.

This letter gave Elizabeth some pain; but her spirits returned as she considered that Jane would no longer be duped by the sister at least. All expectation from the brother was now absolutely over. She would not even wish for any renewal of his attentions. His character sunk on every review of it; and as a punishment for him, as well as a possible advantage to Jane, she seriously hoped he might really soon marry Mr. Darcy's sister, as by Wickham's account, she would make him abundantly regret what he had thrown away.

97
  • Elizabeth could not bring herself to curse Bingley for his inattention.
  • It keeps the door open for him to return.
  • A touch of realism pleases Elizabeth
  • What inspires Elizabeth is her subtle awareness that Jane has removed the obstacle from her side for the final consummation

Mrs. Gardiner about this time reminded Elizabeth of her promise concerning that gentleman, and required information; and Elizabeth had such to send as might rather give contentment to her aunt than to herself. His apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over, he was the admirer of some one else. Elizabeth was watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it and write of it without material pain. Her heart had been but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied with believing that she would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it. The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the young lady to whom he was now rendering himself agreeable; but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in his case than in Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him for his wish of independence. Nothing, on the contrary, could be more natural; and while able to suppose that it cost him a few struggles to relinquish her, she was ready to allow it a wise and desirable measure for both, and could very sincerely wish him happy.

101
  • Wickham deserted Elizabeth for Miss King.
  • Jane sees the duplicity of Caroline.
  • As long as Elizabeth nurtured the illusion of Wickham’s unaltered goodness, Jane could harbour her illusion about Caroline.
  • Wickham’s movement towards Elizabeth and later away from Elizabeth have left marked changes in her life.
  • In the case of Charlotte it was her mind that responded whereas in his case her mind is not free.
  • A good example of rationality.
  • Longbourn in the background made her bitter with Charlotte.
  • Perhaps Elizabeth always had subconscious reserve about Wickham’s poor income.
  • She wrote about Wickham’s desertion without material pain. Her love of Wickham is so ethereal that nothing he does will hurt her. She only knows joy in anything he is connected with. She could not bring herself to condemn him. To feel pain is to condemn his actions.
  • ‘She would have been his only choice had fortune permitted it’
  • Charlotte is foolish to her, but not Wickham in going to £10,000
  • Her view is on any showing Wickham must only be adored
  • Elizabeth is wrong about the pure emotion of evil. Love that is pure cannot wish evil or turn into hate. She did love him. Her love is of that character. She could not hate him for anything he does to her
  • She is not even jealous of Miss. King. She has good opinions about her. That certainly is great
  • To her she is comparatively insignificant with his greatness
  • Even in his going away, he is a handsome young man to her

All this was acknowledged to Mrs. Gardiner; and after relating the circumstances, she thus went on: -- "I am now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been much in love; for had I really experienced that pure and elevating passion, I should at present detest his very name, and wish him all manner of evil. But my feelings are not only cordial towards him; they are even impartial towards Miss King. I cannot find out that I hate her at all, or that I am in the least unwilling to think her a very good sort of girl. There can be no love in all this. My watchfulness has been effectual; and though I should certainly be a more interesting object to all my acquaintance were I distractedly in love with him, I cannot say that I regret my comparative insignificance. Importance may sometimes be purchased too dearly. Kitty and Lydia take his defection much more to heart than I do. They are young in the ways of the world, and not yet open to the mortifying conviction that handsome young men must have something to live on as well as the plain."

107
  • It is true Elizabeth never felt that elevating passion of love.
  • Had she been in love, his desertion would have devastated her, throwing her into a depression.
  • It should enable her to wish him well.
  • Bitter hatred will be the response of low passionate attachment.
  • That Elizabeth was able to think of Miss King a very good sort of girl, shows her clear headedness.
  • Elizabeth’s mortifying conviction about money does show at bottom she is one capable of marrying Pemberley than her sound common sense.
  • To Kitty and Lydia Wickham is an agreeable companion not a prospective husband.
  • She is painfully aware of ‘her comparative insignificance’ because it is true.
  • The importance she had for Wickham is really too dear.
  • Mr. Collin’s proposal was a preparation in life to marry Darcy later.
  • Wickham’s desertion was a psychological encumbrance removed for Darcy to step in later.
  • Mr. Gardiner acts as a good angel in her life.

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