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Pride & Prejudice: Chapter 54

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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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Comment

As soon as they were gone Elizabeth walked out to recover her spirits; or, in other words, to dwell without interruption on those subjects that must deaden them more. Mr. Darcy's behaviour astonished and vexed her.

1
  • This situation offers a definition of astonishment.
  • An event occurs in a context of Time and Space, attitude supplied energy from temperament for its motive. One who is ignorant of all this, in another set of different circumstances, looking at it, feels astonishment.
  • Astonishment is avowed assertion of outrageous attitudes.
  • Elizabeth wants every event to be settled in a way it gives her pleasure. Jane is revived

54 jane elizabeth Pride and Prejudice

"Why, if he came only to be silent, grave, and indifferent," said she, "did he come at all?"

3

She could settle it in no way that gave her pleasure.

4
  • Elizabeth wants to settle it in some way that gives her pleasure!
  • Wonderfully practical and rational.
  • Feminine rationality, woman’s practicality.

"He could be still amiable, still pleasing to my uncle and aunt, when he was in town; and why not to me? If he fears me, why come hither? If he no longer cares for me, why silent? Teasing, teasing, man! I will think no more about him."

5
  • Mrs. Bennet assumes all the world is there to act according to her wishes and produce the results she wants when she does the very opposite.
  • How is the daughter different?
  • Are we different?
  • Where are we tending to?

Her resolution was for a short time involuntarily kept by the approach of her sister, who joined her with a cheerful look, which shewed her better satisfied with their visitors than Elizabeth.

10
  • Jane makes her philosophy practical.

"Now," said she, "that this first meeting is over, I feel perfectly easy. I know my own strength, and I shall never be embarrassed again by his coming. I am glad he dines here on Tuesday: it will then be publicly seen that on both sides, we meet only as common and indifferent acquaintance."

11

"Yes, very indifferent indeed," said Elizabeth laughingly. "Oh, Jane! Take care."

13

"My dear Lizzy, you cannot think me so weak as to be in danger now."

15

"I think you are in very great danger of making him as much in love with you as ever."

16

They did not see the gentlemen again till Tuesday; and Mrs. Bennet, in the meanwhile, was giving way to all the happy schemes which the good-humour and common politeness of Bingley, in half an hour's visit, had revived.

17

On Tuesday there was a large party assembled at Longbourn; and the two, who were most anxiously expected, to the credit of their punctuality as sportsmen, were in very good time. When they repaired to the dining-room, Elizabeth eagerly watched to see whether Bingley would take the place which, in all their former parties, had belonged to him, by her sister. Her prudent mother, occupied by the same ideas, forbore to invite him to sit by herself. On entering the room he seemed to hesitate; but Jane happened to look round, and happened to smile: it was decided -- he placed himself by her.

18
  • The imagination of the physical is vivid.
  • In all cases, it destroys.
  • In this case, Jane is married in spite of her mother, as the atmosphere is rich.

Elizabeth, with a triumphant sensation, looked towards his friend. He bore it with noble indifference, and she would have imagined that Bingley had received his sanction to be happy, had she not seen his eyes likewise turned towards Mr. Darcy, with an expression of half-laughing alarm.

22

His behaviour to her sister was such, during dinner-time, as shewed an admiration of her, which, though more guarded than formerly, persuaded Elizabeth that, if left wholly to himself, Jane's happiness, and his own, would be speedily secured. Though she dared not depend upon the consequence, she yet received pleasure from observing his behaviour. It gave her all the animation that her spirits could boast; for she was in no cheerful humour. Mr. Darcy was almost as far from her as the table could divide them. He was on one side of her mother. She knew how little such a situation would give pleasure to either, or make either appear to advantage. She was not near enough to hear any of their discourse; but she could see how seldom they spoke to each other, and how formal and cold was their manner whenever they did. Her mother's ungraciousness made the sense of what they owed him more painful to Elizabeth's mind; and she would, at times, have given anything to be privileged to tell him that his kindness was neither unknown nor unfelt by the whole of the family.

24
  • Left wholly to himself, Elizabeth feels, Bingley would marry Jane.
  • Left wholly to himself, Bingley will ask Darcy to choose his bride.
  • To Elizabeth her grievances are in the background. Her centre of interest is now in Jane. Without knowing Darcy is watching Jane closely, she is watching Bingley

54 elizabeth jane Pride and Prejudice

She was in hopes that the evening would afford some opportunity of bringing them together; that the whole of the visit would not pass away without enabling them to enter into something more of conversation than the mere ceremonious salutation attending his entrance. Anxious and uneasy, the period which passed in the drawing-room, before the gentlemen came, was wearisome and dull to a degree that almost made her uncivil. She looked forward to their entrance as the point on which all her chance of pleasure for the evening must depend.

31

"If he does not come to me then," said she, "I shall give him up for ever."

34
  • She demands he should come to her or she would give him up
  • She felt gratitude to him. This is not the way gratitude expresses itself. It is the demand of the woman who knows he needs her

The gentlemen came; and she thought he looked as if he would have answered her hopes; but, alas! The ladies had crowded round the table, where Miss Bennet was making tea, and Elizabeth pouring out the coffee, in so close a confederacy, that there was not a single vacancy near her which would admit of a chair. And on the gentlemen's approaching, one of the girls moved closer to her than ever, and said, in a whisper --

35
  • After knowing everything Darcy has done, Elizabeth now demands of him the behaviour of an ardent lover, not allowing any scope for reasons beyond her knowledge.
  • The ladies crowd around and prevent the men from coming near Elizabeth. It is exactly the way life responds to her demand

54 elizabeth Pride and Prejudice

"The men shan't come and part us, I am determined. We want none of them; do we?"

38

Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. She followed him with her eyes, envied every one to whom he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to help anybody to coffee, and then was enraged against herself for being so silly!

40
  • Life is not supportive. The young lady whispers.
  • He goes away.

"A man who has once been refused! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love? Is there one among the sex who would not protest against such a weakness as a second proposal to the same woman? There is no indignity so abhorrent to their feelings!"

42
  • When you cannot direct your anger at anyone, it turns against you.
  • Her sense of justice sees she is silly. She remembers that he was once refused and has a right to distance himself
  • Her little regret brings him to her for a minute

She was a little revived, however, by his bringing back his coffee-cup himself; and she seized the opportunity of saying, "Is your sister at Pemberley still?"

46

"Yes, she will remain there till Christmas."

47
  • Darcy has changed it is true, he helped Lydia is also true, he has come with Bingley, but after the elopement for him to propose to a girl who has violently refused him, even if he wants to, nothing in him will permit.

"And quite alone? Have all her friends left her?"

48
  • Darcy may want to talk to Elizabeth, his voice will fail him.
  • His voice may rise and he will end up talking of other things.
  • He may again propose, she may not listen.
  • In all sincerity if everything goes all right, God knows why.
  • She will again refuse without her volition.
  • The obstacles must be reversed.
  • They cannot be removed.
  • The reversal must have the sanction of earlier acts.
  • Not enough Life, Time, Space, energy, Karma must sanction.
  • All these are seen in a cheerful face, a buoyant voice which rogues like Wickham easily acquire.
  • Genuine Sincerity to Perfection is unfailing.
  • In an atmosphere that is not hostile, but unhelpful, one may successfully move mountains and the answer will be a particle.
  • “Is your sister at Pemberley still?”
  • She finds her thoughts frozen.
  • It never occurs to her there may be inhibiting conditions for him.

"Mrs. Annesley is with her. The others have been gone on to Scarborough these three weeks."

50

She could think of nothing more to say; but if he wished to converse with her, he might have better success. He stood by her, however, for some minutes in silence; and, at last, on the young lady's whispering to Elizabeth again, he walked away.

52
  • She is unable to speak further. Nor does he speak. After the engagement she tells him that she could not speak then because she was embarrassed. He too explained he was too full to speak. She can appreciate her difficulty but cannot make a similar allowance to him
  • Bingley and Darcy were at Longbourn for dinner. Jane fully recovered her spirits. Elizabeth’s anxiety is over. Mrs. Bennet is more than pleased. There is no mention of Mr. Bennet during their visit. This is a few days before Bingley’s proposal. Jane, even on that day vows she is not interested in him beyond being a friend

54 sisters Pride and Prejudice

When the tea-things were removed, and the card tables placed, the ladies all rose, and Elizabeth was then hoping to be soon joined by him, when all her views were overthrown by seeing him fall a victim to her mother's rapacity for whist-players, and in a few moments after seated with the rest of the party. She now lost every expectation of pleasure. They were confined for the evening at different tables, and she had nothing to hope, but that his eyes were so often turned towards her side of the room, as to make him play as unsuccessfully as herself.

54

Mrs. Bennet had designed to keep the two Netherfield gentlemen to supper; but their carriage was unluckily ordered before any of the others, and she had no opportunity of detaining them.

56
  • He stood by her for some minutes in silence.
  • All that that moment can achieve was only that.

"Well girls," said she, as soon as they were left to themselves, "what say you to the day? I think everything has passed off uncommonly well, I assure you. The dinner was as well dressed as any I ever saw. The venison was roasted to a turn -- and everybody said, they never saw so fat a haunch. The soup was fifty times better than what we had at the Lucas's last week; and even Mr. Darcy acknowledged that the partridges were remarkably well done; and I suppose he has two or three French cooks at least. And, my dear Jane, I never saw you look in greater beauty. Mrs. Long said so too, for I asked her whether you did not. And what do you think she said besides? 'Ah! Mrs. Bennet, we shall have her at Netherfield at last.' She did indeed. I do think Mrs. Long is as good a creature as ever lived -- and her nieces are very pretty behaved girls, and not at all handsome: I like them prodigiously."

57
  • To know at each moment the ups and downs of events is complete knowledge
  • Darcy is now satisfied about Jane’s love.
  • There is no more sanction for them to stay for supper.
  • Any action is more enjoyable in recollection.
  • It is unusual for Darcy to express any appreciation.
  • It shows the thaw and his sanction.

Mrs. Bennet, in short, was in very great spirits. She had seen enough of Bingley's behaviour to Jane to be convinced that she would get him at last; and her expectations of advantage to her family, when in a happy humour, were so far beyond reason, that she was quite disappointed at not seeing him there again the next day to make his proposals.

68
  • Lydia talks of getting husbands. It is her mother’s language.
  • Here we witness a few aspects.
    • Mrs. Bennet is jubilant.
    • Mrs. Long talks of Jane at Netherfield.
    • Such assertions come true bringing the results to the minimum.
    • Appreciation of her dinner is self-congratulation.
    • The desire to excel the known high point is human vanity.
    • Mrs. Bennet’s version and French cooks.
    • Mrs. Bennet likes the nieces of Mrs. Long.
    • As Darcy and Elizabeth watched Bingley, she too watched.
    • Miss Bennet sums up “Agreeable day”.

"It has been a very agreeable day," said Miss Bennet to Elizabeth. "The party seemed so well selected, so suitable one with the other. I hope we may often meet again."

70

Elizabeth smiled.

73

"Lizzy, you must not do so. You must not suspect me. It mortifies me. I assure you that I have now learnt to enjoy his conversation as an agreeable and sensible young man, without having a wish beyond it. I am perfectly satisfied, from what his manners now are, that he never had any design of engaging my affection. It is only that he is blessed with greater sweetness of address, and a stronger desire of generally pleasing, than any other man."

74
  • Elizabeth smiles at Jane’s remark seeing the change of attitude.
  • Jane is at her very best to maintain her neutrality in vain.
  • Darcy’s making up his mind relaxes the mother and the sisters.

"You are very cruel," said her sister; "you will not let me smile, and are provoking me to it every moment."

80

"How hard it is in some cases to be believed!"

81

"And how impossible in others!"

82

"But why should you wish to persuade me that I feel more than I acknowledge?"

83

"That is a question which I hardly know how to answer. We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth knowing. Forgive me; and if you persist in indifference, do not make me your confidante."

84

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