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Pride & Prejudice: Chapter 33

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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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More than once did Elizabeth, in her ramble within the Park, unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was brought, and, to prevent its ever happening again, took care to inform him at first that it was a favourite haunt of hers. How it could occur a second time, therefore, was very odd! Yet it did, and even a third. It seemed like wilful ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, for on these occasions it was not merely a few formal enquiries and an awkward pause and then away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk with her. He never said a great deal, nor did she give herself the trouble of talking or of listening much; but it struck her in the course of their third rencontre that he was asking some odd unconnected questions -- about her pleasure in being at Hunsford, her love of solitary walks, and her opinion of Mr. and Mrs. Collins's happiness; and that in speaking of Rosings, and her not perfectly understanding the house, he seemed to expect that whenever she came into Kent again she would be staying there too. His words seemed to imply it. Could he have Colonel Fitzwilliam in his thoughts? She supposed, if he meant anything, he must mean an allusion to what might arise in that quarter. It distressed her a little, and she was quite glad to find herself at the gate in the pales opposite the Parsonage.

1
  • ‘Perverseness of mischance’ of frequently meeting Darcy in the park
  • Man goes on doing his work according to his mental idea. Life does not work according to that. When man deviates from the path of life, life takes initiative to keep the work on its path. Darcy came there by chance. Seeing Elizabeth there he wants to catch a glimpse of her as far as possible. Love is an emotion excited in one by another by which his whole being comes to one focus. She hints at that being her favourite walk, hoping he will avoid it. That makes him seek that spot more and more fully
  • “Some odd unconnected questions” asked by Darcy shows he was not functioning from his mind. His heart is unable to express
  • It is true his questions are odd, but there is a method in his oddity. All questions related to her only.
  • His wish is to lift her alone out of her sphere and into his, from the parsonage to Rosings. She, unlike the rest of her family, belongs there. By constantly talking of others, she reveals that she is not willing to be so lifted. To have her, Darcy will have to accept her family. Hence, his struggle.
  • Why is the idea of a Fitzwilliam proposal "distressing?" Possibly because she would not have a reason to refuse but does not really wish to marry him or perhaps because it means that Darcy is not interested in her. Elizabeth is in love but is determined to protect herself by refusing to acknowledge it.
  • It is not perverseness of mischance by which she meets Darcy.
  • He comes there to meet her, knowing it is her haunt.
  • She told him it is her favourite lane to prevent him from coming there, while it became the reason for his coming there.
  • In the context of sanction of life, whatever we do will be turned to the purpose of life.
  • Wilful ill-nature, voluntary penance are her phrases to describe his meeting. In reality, he was undergoing them to reach her.
  • He scarcely spoke as he was too full of intense emotions for her.
  • His questions were odd, unconnected, reflecting not his ideas but the state of his emotions.
  • His asking whether she would stay there again in a visit is not odd, unconnected but one to ensure his meeting there.
  • He had himself, not the Colonel, in his thoughts.

She was engaged one day as she walked in reperusing Jane's last letter, and dwelling on some passages which proved that Jane had not written in spirits, when, instead of being again surprised by Mr. Darcy, she saw, on looking up, that Colonel Fitzwilliam was meeting her. Putting away the letter immediately, and forcing a smile, she said -- "I did not know before that you ever walked this way."

11
  • It is again when she goes to Jane’s letters that the Colonel gives her news of Darcy’s mission.
  • Obviously Darcy, who meets her there, never mentioned it to the Colonel.
  • Fitzwilliam gave her the news of Darcy saving a friend when she was perusing Jane’s letter

33 janes letter Pride and Prejudice

"I have been making the tour of the park," he replied, "as I generally do every year, and intend to close it with a call at the Parsonage. Are you going much farther?"

13

"No, I should have turned in a moment."

15

And accordingly she did turn, and they walked towards the Parsonage together.

16

"Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday?" Said she.

17
  • Elizabeth asks Fitzwilliam if he leaves on Saturday. She is anxious Darcy should not leave at once maybe without proposing to her. The subconscious fully knows the future and reaches the surface in a language that it permits

"Yes -- if Darcy does not put it off again. But I am at his disposal. He arranges the business just as he pleases."

18
  • ‘Darcy arranges the business as he pleases’. Darcy is one who enjoys the exercise of power. He is an aristocrat who is not a gentle man

"And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, he has at least great pleasure in the power of choice. I do not know anybody who seems more to enjoy the power of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy."

21
  • Elizabeth understands him rightly. That is why, after transformation he is able to please Elizabeth and for her every one of her family

"He likes to have his own way very well," replied Colonel Fitzwilliam. "But so we all do. It is only that he has better means of having it than many others, because he is rich, and many others are poor. I speak feelingly. A younger son, you know, must be inured to self-denial and dependence."

23
  • Fitzwilliam acknowledges the truth of Elizabeth’s statement and goes further in recognising the natural human tendency to wield power. It is an acknowledgement of Darcy’s incapacity to honour William’s preferences

"In my opinion, the younger son of an earl can know very little of either. Now, seriously, what have you ever known of self-denial and dependence? When have you been prevented by want of money from going wherever you chose, or procuring anything you had a fancy for?"

28
  • In England, the law of primogeniture gives all the property to the eldest and the younger sons are only brought up with education and culture
  • Earls usually have upwards of £10,000 a year income. So the younger sons grow up in affluence. To Elizabeth whose father was at £2000 a year, even the younger sons of an earl are far too wealthy. She points out that situation but Fitzwilliam was thinking of his marriage and the money part of it. Having grown up in affluence they cannot suddenly switch over to poor ways of life. This passage brings out the social difference between Darcy and Elizabeth. William’s fancy has caught Elizabeth but he cannot marry her as she has no money

"These are home questions -- and perhaps I cannot say that I have experienced many hardships of that nature. But in matters of greater weight, I may suffer from the want of money. Younger sons cannot marry where they like."

31
  • The Colonel is candid about marriage and money.

"Unless where they like women of fortune, which I think they very often do."

34

"Our habits of expence make us too dependant, and there are not many in my rank of life who can afford to marry without some attention to money."

35

"Is this," thought Elizabeth, "meant for me?" And she coloured at the idea; but, recovering herself, said in a lively tone, "And pray, what is the usual price of an earl's younger son? Unless the elder brother is very sickly, I suppose you would not ask above fifty thousand pounds."

36
  • As she provokes Darcy, here she draws him out on marriage portion.
  • Fitzwilliam hurt her pride just as Darcy did though in a more circrumscribed manner. Actually, he may be hinting that Darcy, unlike himself, is free to make her an offer. She, of course, remains willlfully blind. She does not want a relationship which engages her feelings and, hence, makes her "uneasy."

He answered her in the same style, and the subject dropped. To interrupt a silence which might make him fancy her affected with what had passed, she soon afterwards said --

39
  • She thinks aloud about Darcy’s ways of securing a companion and asks why he should not marry. On her mind is Darcy’s marriage. It makes her think of Miss Darcy and unconsciously touches upon a sensitive event in Miss Darcy’s life. It is worth noting in a few days that event was described to her and in a few months, that event came to her family

33 col arrives Pride and Prejudice

"I imagine your cousin brought you down with him chiefly for the sake of having somebody at his disposal. I wonder he does not marry, to secure a lasting convenience of that kind. But perhaps his sister does as well for the present, and, as she is under his sole care, he may do what he likes with her."

41
  • Her thoughts naturally go to Darcy.

"No," said Colonel Fitzwilliam, "that is an advantage which he must divide with me. I am joined with him in the guardianship of Miss Darcy."

44

"Are you, indeed? And pray what sort of guardians do you make? Does your charge give you much trouble? Young ladies of her age are sometimes a little difficult to manage, and if she has the true Darcy spirit, she may like to have her own way."

46

As she spoke she observed him looking at her earnestly; and the manner in which he immediately asked her why she supposed Miss Darcy likely to give them any uneasiness, convinced her that she had somehow or other got pretty near the truth. She directly replied --

50
  • Unconsciously she touched upon a sensitive information about Miss Darcy. Emotions discover news undisclosed by mind.
  • The Colonel suspects she has heard of the elopement.
  • Elopement in the air makes her touch upon it.

"You need not be frightened. I never heard any harm of her; and I dare say she is one of the most tractable creatures in the world. She is a very great favourite with some ladies of my acquaintance -- Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley. I think I have heard you say that you know them."

52

"I know them a little. Their brother is a pleasant, gentlemanlike man -- he is a great friend of Darcy's."

56

"Oh! Yes," said Elizabeth drily -- "Mr. Darcy is uncommonly kind to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious deal of care of him."

58

"Care of him! -- Yes, I really believe Darcy does take care of him in those points where he most wants care. From something that he told me in our journey hither, I have reason to think Bingley very much indebted to him. But I ought to beg his pardon, for I have no right to suppose that Bingley was the person meant. It was all conjecture."

59
  • Elizabeth makes Wickham, the Colonel talk about what she wants.
  • Her will is silent, but very powerful.
  • Fitzwilliam lets the cat out of the bag. In the normal course of things Elizabeth meeting Darcy is not on the agenda, news of Darcy’s triumph in Bingley’s life does not have any chance of reaching her. Life makes these events possible because Darcy’s passion for Elizabeth creates the energy. Such an energy acts through the subtle structure of social life. Some patches of them and their negative counterparts are, Collins’s idea of good will for Mr. Bennet’s family; Charlotte’s good will for Elizabeth; Lady Catherine’s anxiety to secure Darcy as her son-in-law; Collins’s anxiety to demonstrate to Elizabeth the great boon she missed; Wickham’s hopes to benefit from Darcy’s connections still; Mrs. Bennet’s eagerness to get Lydia married; Caroline’s hope in Darcy, etc. They all act at several levels 1) Normal social channels; 2) Known psychological aspirations of people; 3) Society’s negative resources like gossip; 4) People’s capacity for self-deception; and 5) Life’s determinism according to the goals of the Time
  • When a news concerns someone, it presses to find expression. As William’s news directly concerns Elizabeth, it comes to his memory and finds utterance.
  • Darcy prevented Bingley’s marriage because he was unable to control his passion for Elizabeth. He exercised control over what can be controlled.
  • Maybe. He may have been genuinely concerned for his friend who would not only be stuck with unpleasant in laws but charged with providing for them when Mr. Bennet dies. Darcy, as Elizabeth acknowledges, had good reason to doubt Jane's feelings. He knew his friend's emotions to be fickle. It was the observance (and not merely Elizabeth's assurrances) of Jane's feelings which led him to change his mind. By then he had probably determined to take on the financail burden for the family.

"What is it you mean?"

64

"It is a circumstance which Darcy, of course, would not wish to be generally known, because if it were to get round to the lady's family it would be an unpleasant thing."

65
  • The Colonel, inadvertently, is giving the news to the lady’s family.
  • News goes where it is intended for whatever reason.

"You may depend upon my not mentioning it."

66

"And remember that I have not much reason for supposing it to be Bingley. What he told me was merely this: that he congratulated himself on having lately saved a friend from the inconveniences of a most imprudent marriage, but without mentioning names or any other particulars, and I only suspected it to be Bingley from believing him the kind of young man to get into a scrape of that sort, and from knowing them to have been together the whole of last summer."

67
  • Bingley is seen by Fitzwilliam as one without discretion

33 walk Pride and Prejudice

"Did Mr. Darcy give you his reasons for this interference?"

69

"I understood that there were some very strong objections against the lady."

70

"And what arts did he use to separate them?"

71

"He did not talk to me of his own arts," said Fitzwilliam, smiling. "He only told me what I have now told you."

72
  • Elizabeth believes that Bingley is seriously attached to Jane and arts are needed for Darcy to wean him away.
  • The truth is Bingley is too subservient to Darcy as Darcy is a strong dominating character of wealth and status, if not rank. Bingley is a sophisticated snob as Collins is an unsophisticated one. It is not in his power to act on his own against the perceived will of Darcy. Even Darcy cannot persuade him to do it.
  • Darcy’s speaks of his serving a friend without mentioning Bingley’s name, which is a great restraint. A gentlemen will not even speak this much. More, a gentleman will not interfere in another’s life unless applied for
  • Elizabeth was powerfully disturbed. It is this disturbance that bursts forth at Darcy proposal. Her violent abuse is caused by his uncivilised, boorish pride. She later says to Jane (P.199) that when she was abusing Darcy for no reason her own genius came to express itself creatively. Life has a balance and it can be represented in a tabular column where each side is balanced by the other. Let us start from this point of disturbance. Mrs. Bennet is vulgarly pushy to ‘catch’ Bingley. Elizabeth is violently passionate about Jane’s happiness. Jane and Elizabeth are modest in their manners, not in their behaviour. Darcy is saturated with forceful passion for Elizabeth. This odd mixture is graphically represented by the clownish behaviour of haughty Collins. Lydia gives a pitch to this scenario by her boisterousness. Mary is shamelessly displaying. Mr. Bennet’s sarcasm about Bingley’s dance, lace of the women, Jane being crossed in love, Wickham jilting Elizabeth, Gardiner’s sense of superiority, Lady Catherine’s empty authority all are apiece. The links to the opposite side are the goodwill of Collins, Charlotte, Jane’s sweet inoffensive behaviour that charms the sisters, Lady Catherine’s officious attention to Elizabeth, Collins, etc., Fitzwilliam breeding, Mr. Gardiner’s upbringing, Wickham’s captivating softness, Mrs. Forster’s friendship of Lydia. This is a fabric which gives way often. The first breakdown is the physical illness of Jane. Next is a near breakdown when Collins rudely intrudes on Darcy and later his clownish proposal to Elizabeth, which are social aberrations. Darcy’s proposal is a vital breakdown. Lydia’s elopement is a social breakdown. The links are Jane’s sweetness, Charlotte’s good will, Mr. Bennet’s assertion against his wife, Darcy’s desire to please Elizabeth, Lady Catherine plays a double role of vulgar abuse of Elizabeth and as a link to bring Darcy to her. Surveying the positive and negative traits, posting them on the two sides of a tabular column and writing down the links at each stage, one sees the rhythm of life that maintains the balance. It creates fresh balances at each step by the human choice.
  • Examples of such human choice:
    • Mr. Bennet’s willingness to visit Bingley to oblige his wife. It is not the British custom of introduction.
    • Caroline’s invitation to Jane.
    • Sending Jane on a horse.
    • Ungentlemanly comment of ‘she is tolerable.’
    • Bingley’s choice to obey Darcy.
    • Elizabeth’s readiness to believe the lies of Wickham.
    • Mrs. Gardiner’s taking Elizabeth to Pemberley.
    • Darcy’s changed behaviour and introduction of his sister to Elizabeth.
    • Caroline’s officious interference in Darcy-Elizabeth’s relationship.
    • Darcy’s interference with Bingley.
    • Mr. Bennet’s refusal to visit Bingley a second time.
    • Darcy’s quest for Lydia.
    • Wickham’s willingness to marry Lydia.
    • Darcy’s reversal with Bingley.
    • Darcy’s desire to win Elizabeth at all costs.
    • Lady Catherine’s visit to Longbourn.
    • Elizabeth’s coming to her senses.
    • Jane’s disillusionment.
    • Mr. Bennet’s owning the responsibility for Lydia’s elopement and his decision to return the money to his brother-in-law.
    • Collins’s two letters of abuse to Mr. Bennet.
    • Elizabeth’s willingness to visit Pemberley.
    • Charlotte’s invitation to Elizabeth.
    • Reynold’s information to Elizabeth about Wickham going wield.
    • Wickham’s initiative to lie about Georgiana, the living, £3000. His prodding Elizabeth after his wedding about these things.
    • Caroline’s sneer at Elizabeth about the militia.
    • Darcy’s attempt to hide his love for Elizabeth.
    • Wickham’s absence from the Netherfield ball.
    • Caroline’s ruse with Darcy to hide Jane’s presence in London.

Elizabeth made no answer, and walked on, her heart swelling with indignation. After watching her a little, Fitzwilliam asked her why she was so thoughtful.

74

"I am thinking of what you have been telling me," said she. "Your cousin's conduct does not suit my feelings. Why was he to be the judge?" 33 col reveals Pride and Prejudice

76

"You are rather disposed to call his interference officious?"

79
  • “interference officious”. Fitzwilliam triumphantly reported an anecdote of Darcy delighting in the penetration and social power of Darcy. It was an innocent boast at most by way of making conversation. It touched her at the most practically destructive spot of family sensitivity. Fitzwilliam was unaware of the short circuit he was causing. The truth of the matter is Darcy is just officious, domineering, and unjust. Elizabeth is unreasonably greedy in the extreme for her sister out of genuine good will while Jane by her mental conviction of character enables Elizabeth’s ambition to be unfeasible. Jane Austen, for her story, takes this fictional material of life and on its basis fashions a preposterous proposal of true irrepressible passion that is capable of reversing its behaviour to attain its end.
  • In this unsettled context, it is a credit to the British sense of fairness that she allows room for another interpretation, as they know no facts.
  • For romantic Elizabeth and, as his letter reveals, no less romantic Darcy, possible injury to personal feelings are at the heart of the matter. For the military man Fitzwilliam, it is the size of victory that counts.

"I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to decide on the propriety of his friend's inclination, or why, upon his own judgment alone, he was to determine and direct in what manner that friend was to be happy. But," she continued, recollecting herself, "as we know none of the particulars, it is not fair to condemn him. It is not to be supposed that there was much affection in the case."

80

"That is not an unnatural surmise," said Fitzwilliam, "but it is lessening the honour of my cousin's triumph very sadly."

83
  • The Colonel is thinking of the triumph of Darcy while she has inwardly exploded.
  • Emotions love to relate this way – hurt ones and hurting ones – as the flow of spirit is great because of the differentials.
  • The more the listener is hurt, the greater is the urge to prod that hurt emotion.
  • Fitzwilliam is sorry that Darcy’s preeminence in his mind comes down not knowing how Elizabeth is burning inside
  • Though Bingley’s name is not mentioned, it is clear to her. And her surmise is correct. Jane Austen makes Darcy come at this moment to make the volcano burst into flames

33 elizabeth upset Pride and Prejudice

This was spoken jestingly; but it appeared to her so just a picture of Mr. Darcy, that she would not trust herself with an answer, and therefore, abruptly changing the conversation, talked on indifferent matters till they reached the Parsonage. There, shut into her own room, as soon as their visitor left them, she could think without interruption of all that she had heard. It was not to be supposed that any other people could be meant than those with whom she was connected. There could not exist in the world two men, over whom Mr. Darcy could have such boundless influence. That he had been concerned in the measures taken to separate Mr. Bingley and Jane she had never doubted; but she had always attributed to Miss Bingley the principal design and arrangement of them. If his own vanity, however, did not mislead him, he was the cause, his pride and caprice were the cause of all that Jane had suffered, and still continued to suffer. He had ruined for a while every hope of happiness for the most affectionate, generous heart in the world; and no one could say how lasting an evil he might have inflicted.

84
  • She was so explosive inside that any answer would break her self-control.
  • Hers was only a guess, a correct guess.
  • In right emotional contexts, guesses are appropriate.
  • She was drawn closest to Darcy by the most justifiable dislike maturing into hatred.
  • Their relationship is intimate but as the revolution was changing into evolution, LOVE begins at the other end of hatred.

"There were some very strong objections against the lady," were Colonel Fitzwilliam's words; and these strong objections probably were, her having one uncle who was a country attorney, and another who was in business in London.

91
  • On her own, the attorney uncle and the uncle in trade did not appear as objectionable to her.
  • ‘There were very strong objections against the lady’ says Fitzwilliam. It does not make Elizabeth ponder over those objections. She considers the welcome aspects of the family and wants them to be rewarded. If man had only one of the hundred endowments necessary, he would want the world to reward him for that.
  • Elizabeth’s solicitude for Jane is incomparable. She never thinks of her own marriage. Nor does Jane evince any substantial interest when she takes to Wickham. Elizabeth has pure good will for Jane
  • ‘An uncle as country attorney’. From her situation it is not possible for Elizabeth to know that her uncles are low in society. Rural folk do not have a way of knowing their inferior way of life. Only when they come into town and see them in comparison with the urban population, the contrast is glaring

33 elizabeth Pride and Prejudice

"To Jane herself," she exclaimed, "there could be no possibility of objection; all loveliness and goodness as she is! Her understanding excellent, her mind improved, and her manners captivating. Neither could anything be urged against my father, who, though with some peculiarities, has abilities which Mr. Darcy himself need not disdain, and respectability which he will probably never reach." When she thought of her mother, indeed, her confidence gave way a little; but she would not allow that any objections there had material weight with Mr. Darcy, whose pride, she was convinced, would receive a deeper wound from the want of importance in his friend's connexions, than from their want of sense; and she was quite decided at last that he had been partly governed by this worst kind of pride, and partly by the wish of retaining Mr. Bingley for his sister.

92
  • One thinks ONLY of one’s value, never his own defects.
  • Thinking of her mother as an objection to Darcy, she is vastly different now from the point when she read the letter.
  • Self-criticism is not a faculty of people.

The agitation and tears which the subject occasioned brought on a headache; and it grew so much worse towards the evening that, added to her unwillingness to see Mr. Darcy, it determined her not to attend her cousins to Rosings, where they were engaged to drink tea. Mrs. Collins, seeing that she was really unwell, did not press her to go, and as much as possible prevented her husband from pressing her; but Mr. Collins could not conceal his apprehension of Lady Catherine's being rather displeased by her staying at home.

96
  • She wishes to avoid Darcy, but he comes to see her.
  • Life insists on the direction of movement which will increase the intensity of energy.

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