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.
The two gentlemen left Rosings the next morning, and Mr. Collins having been in waiting near the lodges, to make them his parting obeisance, was able to bring home the pleasing intelligence of their appearing in very good health, and in as tolerable spirits as could be expected, after the melancholy scene so lately gone through at Rosings. To Rosings he then hastened, to console Lady Catherine and her daughter; and on his return brought back, with great satisfaction, a message from her ladyship, importing that she felt herself so dull as to make her very desirous of having them all to dine with her.
The snob lives a vicarious life.
His centre of life is his boss or superior.
As it is a vital life, it lives on the excess energy coming from above.
Collins is one such, a snob.
He feels all the emotions his superiors feel.
Also, he imagines emotions, service, pleasures they do not feel.
The squeamishness, obsequiousness issue out of this loyalty.
This is the nether side of loyalty, submission in the follower, the subordinate, the children, the wife, the citizen at large.
One golden rule works everywhere: it is ultimately what determines is Man’s personality.
Man’s personality has size, strength, intensity, structure, constitution, motives, skills, etc.
This is what he inherits and pours into the mould of his own.
Each man is unique in everything, he calls it his own.
Nature fixes it, he nourishes it, he has the freedom to leave Nature behind and move into consciousness or being.
Nature has smaller directing units of society, community, family.
The snob becoming an individual is a landmark in social evolution.
In the snob, lazy man, idiot, madman, one can find the greatest personal organisation.
In all great works of Shakespeare, there comes a fool, known for his wisdom. The creation of such a character in any fiction can be done only by great writers. He can emerge only into a great story. To know the story from his own point of view is to know it as exhaustively as the author has conceived. In Pride and Prejudice, in this sense, Mr. Collins is the most central character. Next in importance comes Mrs. Bennet who has raw energy untempered by any values of the Mind.
Mr. Collins’ sendoff to the two gentlemen and his reporting about it to Charlotte is one such episode. We see Mr. Collins in full performance.
Eating in rich houses is an occasion to overcome dullness.
Mr. Collins is a dull man, a personification of dullness, trying to remove the dullness from a household of organised dullness. Authority is organised dullness.
Elizabeth could not see Lady Catherine without recollecting that, had she chosen it, she might by this time have been presented to her as her future niece; nor could she think, without a smile, of what her ladyship's indignation would have been. "What would she have said? How would she have behaved?" Were questions with which she amused herself.
At Longbourn, Elizabeth heard Lady Catherine’s answers to her questions.
Their first subject was the diminution of the Rosings party. "I assure you, I feel it exceedingly," said Lady Catherine; "I believe nobody feels the loss of friends so much as I do. But I am particularly attached to these young men, and know them to be so much attached to me! They were excessively sorry to go! But so they always are. The dear colonel rallied his spirits tolerably till just at last; but Darcy seemed to feel it most acutely; more, I think, than last year. His attachment to Rosings, certainly increases."
Lady Catherine provides the example of one who sees her own emotions in others
Lady Catherine’s observations are a good example of how one can live in one’s own world oblivious of what the other person thinks.
‘Darcy seemed to feel it most acutely.’ – Yes, about what?
Mr. Collins had a compliment, and an allusion to throw in here, which were kindly smiled on by the mother and daughter.
Mr. Collins serves as a snob, cad, henchman
Lady Catherine observed, after dinner, that Miss Bennet seemed out of spirits, and immediately accounting for it herself, by supposing that she did not like to go home again so soon, she added --
Lady Catherine’s interpretation of Elizabeth being out of spirits truly reflects her own character, not the situation.
Lady Catherine sees in the dispirited Elizabeth sadness about leaving Rosings
"But if that is the case, you must write to your mother to beg that you may stay a little longer. Mrs. Collins will be very glad of your company, I am sure."
"I am much obliged to your ladyship for your kind invitation," replied Elizabeth, "but it is not in my power to accept it. I must be in town next Saturday."
"Why, at that rate, you will have been here only six weeks. I expected you to stay two months. I told Mrs. Collins so before you came. There can be no occasion for your going so soon. Mrs. Bennet could certainly spare you for another fortnight."
She expects Elizabeth and her family to obey her.
"But my father cannot. He wrote last week to hurry my return."
Lady Catherine cannot know how much Mr. Bennet misses Elizabeth.
Lady Catherine is unable to comprehend Mr. Bennet’s need for his daughter
"Oh! Your father of course may spare you, if your mother can. Daughters are never of so much consequence to a father. And if you will stay another month complete, it will be in my power to take one of you as far as London, for I am going there early in June for a week; and as Dawson does not object to the barouche-box, there will be very good room for one of you -- and indeed, if the weather should happen to be cool, I should not object to taking you both, as you are neither of you large."
Lady Catherine’s desire to extend Elizabeth’s stay there indicates that Elizabeth is to enter that family soon
Left alone Elizabeth’s dwelling on the letter would have crushed her. She is taken to Rosings as a diversion
Lady Catherine offers to take Elizabeth to London – Earlier sign of Elizabeth’s marriage.
"You are all kindness, madam; but I believe we must abide by our original plan."
Lady Catherine seemed resigned. "Mrs. Collins, you must send a servant with them. You know I always speak my mind, and I cannot bear the idea of two young women travelling post by themselves. It is highly improper. You must contrive to send somebody. I have the greatest dislike in the world to that sort of thing. Young women should always be properly guarded and attended, according to their situation in life. When my niece Georgiana went to Ramsgate last summer, I made a point of her having two men-servants go with her. Miss Darcy, the daughter of Mr. Darcy, of Pemberley, and Lady Anne, could not have appeared with propriety in a different manner. I am excessively attentive to all those things. You must send John with the young ladies, Mrs. Collins. I am glad it occurred to me to mention it; for it would really be discreditable to you to let them go alone."
It is certainly a wonder that the Lady resigned without being angry.
"My uncle is to send a servant for us."
Again the Lady’s offer to send a servant was refused. The Lady is anxious to establish her superiority.
"Oh! -- Your uncle! -- He keeps a man-servant, does he? I am very glad you have somebody who thinks of those things. Where shall you change horses? -- Oh! Bromley of course. If you mention my name at the Bell, you will be attended to."
Lady Catherine had many other questions to ask respecting their journey, and as she did not answer them all herself, attention was necessary, which Elizabeth believed to be lucky for her; or, with a mind so occupied, she might have forgotten where she was. Reflection must be reserved for solitary hours; whenever she was alone, she gave way to it as the greatest relief; and not a day went by without a solitary walk, in which she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections.
Small minds take great interest in every detail. Great minds do not ever neglect it.
Unpleasant recollections are the result of imperfect understanding.
Mr. Darcy's letter she was in a fair way of soon knowing by heart. She studied every sentence; and her feelings towards its writer were at times widely different. When she remembered the style of his address, she was still full of indignation; but when she considered how unjustly she had condemned and upbraided him, her anger was turned against herself; and his disappointed feelings became the object of compassion. His attachment excited gratitude, his general character respect; but she could not approve him; nor could she for a moment repent her refusal, or feel the slightest inclination ever to see him again. In her own past behaviour there was a constant source of vexation and regret; and in the unhappy defects of her family, a subject of yet heavier chagrin. They were hopeless of remedy. Her father, contented with laughing at them, would never exert himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his youngest daughters; and her mother, with manners so far from right herself, was entirely insensible of the evil. Elizabeth had frequently united with Jane in an endeavour to check the imprudence of Catherine and Lydia; but while they were supported by their mother's indulgence, what chance could there be of improvement? Catherine, weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia's guidance, had been always affronted by their advice; and Lydia, self-willed and careless, would scarcely give them a hearing. They were ignorant, idle, and vain. While there was an officer in Meryton, they would flirt with him; and while Meryton was within a walk of Longbourn, they would be going there for ever.
It is his letter that first forged a relationship with her.
It requires such a powerful abuse to open her mind to social realities. Had she tried to marry an army officer, so that he would remain in her own sphere, no opening would be necessary.
For her to rise to Pemberley, a hard opening is necessary.
She has come to cherish an abusive string of arbitrary words.
Elizabeth studied the emotions inversely expressed by crude facts.
She studied the letter now to see how well Darcy loved her, wherefrom the love originated, what in her evoked the love.
Indignation is the heat required to open the closed seals of blindness.
Surely it is welcome, but if her anger had disappeared, in its place there was a chance of love being born.
She felt sorry for his disappointment.
This is a distant, faint, inner readiness to accept him, not love.
His attachment excited gratitude.
Gratitude is an expansive inner emotion of joy.
His general character evoked respect.
She has a respect for him knowing his respect for her.
It is mutual.
Respect has its glory when it is all from one side.
She could not approve of him.
We approve of manners, which he is devoid of.
She did not repent her refusal.
There was absolutely no ground or scope fro her to reach him.
She had no slight inclination to see him.
That sentiment already made her miss him.
His memory reminds her of her inferior status.
Till that moment, there was no basis in her past behaviour of her seeking him.
It was all from his side. He wanted to dance, he took initiative to meet her more than once.
None of them contain any positive energy to overcome the negative contacts.
‘Vexation, regret, chagrin’ cannot seek his company.
Hopeless of remedy’ – She has no end from which a beginning can be made.
‘Wild giddiness of sisters’ – Shame arising as sensation organises as the emotion of shyness.
Mrs. Bennet is that evil. How can she be self-conscious?
Elizabeth could not see it till she read the letter.
Elizabeth cannot restrain Lydia as long as she has the same vibration deep down.
Her mother’s indulgence of Lydia is seen in her adoration of Wickham. To expect a girl or boy of 20 to resist that charm is meaningless.
Grace came as Darcy, ripped open her mind, let luck into it. Any other girl would either readily shift to Darcy or would be pining for Wickham.
No wonder Jane Austen did not marry.
Had Lydia not been out, she would have been less intolerable.
Mrs. Bennet does not miss a single social opportunity to enjoy, even if she has to oppose it.
As she is enjoying life as it presents to her, the question of hearing does not arise. Hearing means the first step to thinking.
Most of the population then was so. They submit to the society and grow into social culture. Mrs. Bennet does not submit to anything. In her life she met with an extraordinary success. Her alternatives were to raise her to that level of culture or enjoy that potential at her own level.
Mr. Bennet with his education and wealth was totally blind to her stupidity. It was impossible for him not to know of her folly. She was married for her beauty. What works is her energy. Not that she could not be controlled. Of course, she could not be improved. He never tried to control her. All her unseemly assertions were needed for him to understand his decision on his marriage. It came to him in the elopement.
Any foolish girl like Lydia, left to herself, will act only like her.
By memorising Darcy’s letter Elizabeth let Darcy into her in the form of words, crude words he alone would write. Now it is not the crudeness that lingers in her, but the Man who wrote the words
His feelings became the object of compassion as it was roused without her own participation, rather by her rejection
His attachment excited gratitude. Gratitude is in response to grace which acts on its own. As he acted on his own, gratitude rises in her
His character evoked respect. His willingness to reply her, write at length, are aspects of high character. He was free to spurn her
She was not regretting her refusal, as she was not mercenary
She had no inclination to see him again. The bitterness of the confrontation did not seek a revival. Meeting him would remind her of the lowness of her family. Her mother was insensible of the evil. Elizabeth is insensible of her being the daughter of a wild boar
Anxiety on Jane's behalf was another prevailing concern; and Mr. Darcy's explanation, by restoring Bingley to all her former good opinion, heightened the sense of what Jane had lost. His affection was proved to have been sincere, and his conduct cleared of all blame, unless any could attach to the implicitness of his confidence in his friend. How grievous then was the thought that, of a situation so desirable in every respect, so replete with advantage, so promising for happiness, Jane had been deprived, by the folly and indecorum of her own family!
The only gain for Elizabeth out of Darcy’s proposal is Jane’s prospects improved.
That Elizabeth has not thought of Jane’s loss in terms of her family’s indecorous behaviour reveals her blindness.
Elizabeth realises the truth of Darcy’s accusations about her family. She also realises her folly with regard to Wickham. It is this realisation that contributed to the final resolution of the elopement and the marriages
When to these recollections was added the developement of Wickham's character, it may be easily believed that the happy spirits which had seldom been depressed before, were now so much affected as to make it almost impossible for her to appear tolerably cheerful.
Their engagements at Rosings were as frequent during the last week of her stay as they had been at first. The very last evening was spent there; and her ladyship again inquired minutely into the particulars of their journey, gave them directions as to the best method of packing, and was so urgent on the necessity of placing gowns in the only right way, that Maria thought herself obliged, on her return, to undo all the work of the morning, and pack her trunk afresh.
It is significant she too was not to leave when Darcy left. She is given a week there to restore her emotional equilibrium.
Attention to details in old age especially in others’ affairs, is a legacy of their own early life lapses.
When they parted, Lady Catherine, with great condescension, wished them a good journey, and invited them to come to Hunsford again next year; and Miss De Bourgh exerted herself so far as to curtsey and hold out her hand to both.
Aristocrats are fully conscious of the value of their attention to others.