Life is a plane of force, and each act expresses a force. Each force wants to continue and perpetuate itself. Speech is an act. It has a force. That force accomplishes something. Speech generates a force or power for accomplishment. Repeatedly we see in the story that spoken words are fulfilled, often in unexpected ways. This often occurs when the spoken word reflects a subconscious awareness in the speaker of a situation that is ripe to precipitate. Bringing the situation to conscious self-expression acts as an additional impetus, thereby precipitating action. The magnitude and direction of the consequence depends on the strength of the person, the person’s motive, the context in which it is spoken, and the preparedness of the atmosphere. In any case, speaking is an act that puts forth energy and that energy invariably has a result at the level of thought, word or act. The result may be opposite or unrelated to the intention of the person who speaks.
In some instances the speaker possesses a subconscious knowledge of what is likely to occur and unintentionally gives expression to it, thereby adding impetus to its occurrence.
Bingley’s five minute departure: When Mrs. Bennet visits Jane and Eliza during their stay at Netherfield, Bingley describes himself as one who is capable of quitting Netherfield in five minutes. He speaks rightly about his character. He is perfectly capable of acting in this manner and actually does it. That afternoon Bingley and Darcy return to this topic to debate the merits of Bingley’s character. Eliza joins the discussion and says, “we may as well wait, perhaps till the circumstance occurs” They do not have to wait long. Within a few days, Bingley suddenly leaves on a brief trip to London. Darcy, Caroline and her sister decide to follow him and they persuade him not to return.
Wickham’s jilt: After Elizabeth brings Wickham home and introduces him to her father, Mr. Bennet comments “Wickham will jilt you creditably.” That is exactly what Wickham does. He immediately drops Elizabeth to go for Mary King. Mr. Bennet finds Wickham very charming, but subconsciously feels he is not a reliable and stable person who will be true to Eliza. Bennet’ words have a power. Since his intention is only the good of his daughter, it turns out that Wickham’s jilting is for her own good.
Eliza replies to Mr. Bennet: “Thank you Sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy me.” She subconsciously feels that Wickham is physically and vitally the most attractive, charming and agreeable person she could possible find, but that she may have to be satisfied with someone less attractive but otherwise more appropriate. That too comes true. She settles for Darcy, for whom she never felt the intense infatuation she felt for Wickham. At the level at which Wickham is agreeable to her, he is the most agreeable man, and Darcy is definitely less agreeable.
Collins’ insult: Collins insults Eliza during his proposal to her when he says she may never get another proposal. Eliza ends up with Darcy. Collins ends up with plain Charlotte, who probably would not get another proposal. Collins is subconsciously aware that he is one who will only get a girl who no one else would propose to. He wants Eliza, so he suggests that she is of that type. Collins words have the power to get him a girl of this description. Eliza’s superior presence and inner value raise Collins’ feeling of inferior and subconscious knowledge of his own future, not hers.
Mrs. Gardiner’s preference: When Mrs. Gardner comes and she hears from Elizabeth how Jane has been disappointed because Bingley has ceased to court her, she wants to express the feeling that Eliza would be better able to cope with it. “It had better happen to you Lizzy.” It does happen to Eliza with Wickham! Mrs. Gardiner has the same awareness as Mr. Bennet. In her case, it may be based on her conscious understanding that a man in Wickham’s position cannot afford to marry Eliza.
Words have a power. It does not mean that the whole sequence of causality is explained by one statement, but these examples illustrate what the observant can see time and again in life. Words have a power to fulfill themselves, even if not in the way they were intended.
Speech generates a powerful vibration that can pass from one to another.
Eliza is unable to control her anger in speaking to Charlotte about Darcy at Netherfield ball. Moments later Eliza is mortified to hear Mrs. Bennet speaking uncontrollably about Jane’s prospects for marriage to Bingley, which Darcy overhears. Eliza fails to quiet Mrs. Bennet and blushes with shame when Darcy overhears. Eliza’s own uncontrolled vital speech is expressing through Mrs. Bennet. After Darcy’s proposal and letter, Eliza will come to feel equally ashamed of her own speech. They share the same trait.
Speech can be a negative force that acts in life, though not necessarily in the direction or manner intended by the speaker.
Sir Lucas’ verbal intervention: When Eliza is dancing with Darcy at the Netherfield ball, she teases him and almost gets into a quarrel with him over Wickham. Just as their discussion is heating up, Sir Lucas comes and interrupts them. He prevents them from quarreling by mentioning the marriage prospects for Jane and Bingley. Darcy gets alarmed by that information. Actually, he is alarmed by the growing intensity of his attraction to Eliza and must find a way to control it. The atmosphere of quarrel between Eliza and Darcy is transferred to the marriage prospects of Jane and Bingley, which get cancelled soon after the ball is over. The energy of Eliza speaking to Darcy expresses. She was trying to hurt and prod him. She never expected that that energy was going to land on Jane’s marriage. Because the social atmosphere sanctions and fosters the relationship between Eliza and Darcy, life comes to prevent them from coming to a serious quarrel, and Darcy’s attention is directed elsewhere. The energy of Lucas’ speaking expresses too, but in the opposite way from which he intended. Instead of fostering two marriages, it forestalls both.
Collins’ proposal: Mrs. Bennet has no capacity to bring about the marriage of Elizabeth and Collins. The very fact that she tries for such a perverse match seems suggestive of a mother’s ill-will for her second daughter, who is least like herself and least under her influence. Mrs. Bennet arranges for Collins to be alone with Elizabeth. When it becomes clear that Elizabeth has refused him, Mrs. Bennet abuses and threatens Eliza: “If you go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all – and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead.—I shall not be able to keep you—and so I warn you.---I have done with you from this very day…I should never speak to you again..” Having no capacity or reason, Mrs. Bennet uses the only energy she has to accomplish her goal. She insists on speaking. The first result is that he runs away from the house and proposes to Charlotte three days later. Collins, who would have been ideally suited for Mary, runs away because Mrs. Bennet is not able to contain that energy and she expresses this way. Because she speaks the words saying that Elizabeth may never get another proposal, the next day Jane’s marriage, which Mrs. Bennet is trying to promote, suffers a set back. Caroline’s letter comes saying that Bingley has left Netherfield. Mrs. Bennet is trying to make a marriage she has no power to accomplish. When she insists on it in spite of the clear refusal of life, it comes back to her as the loss of the other daughter’s marriage as well. Mrs. Bennet says she is done trying to marry Elizabeth and, very shortly after that, Elizabeth gets a proposal from Darcy.
Eliza’s uncalled for comment about Charlotte’s marriage: When Darcy calls at the parsonage in Hunsford, Eliza tells him she is not sure Charlotte’s marriage to Collins was the wisest thing she did. Later Lady Catherine says the same thing about Darcy’s interest in Eliza. Eliza’s negativity comes back to her from Lady Catherine.
Speech can be a premature act that dissipates energy and cancels or postpones results.
When Bingley goes to London and does not come back, Mrs. Bennet speaks out. “I never want to see him again.” Within a year after Jane and Bingley are married, they move away from Netherfield. Mrs. Bennet’s words sanction their moving away from Herefordshire.
Mrs. Bennet has said she is done with Lizzy and done with supporting her. After marriage, Eliza settles at Pemberley where Mrs. Bennet feels intimidated to even set foot. Words have that power.