Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chapter Thirty-three, Part Two

Originally published 11/26/2006.

Continued from last post.

...To interrupt a silence which might make him fancy her affected with what had passed, she soon afterwards said:

"I imagine your cousin brought you down with him chiefly for the sake of having someone at his disposal...

This continues the theme of before.

...I wonder he does not marry, to secure a lasting convenience of that kind...

Bang. Whiz. Shazzam! Yo, feminists! Get this? Or did you blink and miss it? Implicit in Lizzy's statement here is that a wife is at her husband's disposal. Lizzy takes it as a matter of course, which means she does not think it demeaning in general (though she might think so at the moment, if it were Darcy as the husband). You may object, claiming that Lizzy is jesting. I would agree that Lizzy is having some fun, but the assumption is still implicit within the joke.

...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."

"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."

"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,...

There's an understatement.

...and if she has the true Darcy spirit, she may like to have her own way."

Lizzy clearly means "her own way" as opposed to Fitzwilliam's and Darcy's way. What think you of Lizzy's comments here? I think it's a tad out of line. She's "answering a matter before she hears it." All she has is the "testimony" of Wickham. Biblical justice requires two or more witnesses to convict. To convict Georgiana of pride and wilfulness on the basis of one witness is not wise.

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...

We know about Darcy's letter, so I think it's pretty safe to guess that Fitzwilliam is worried over whether word of Georgiana's fling with Wickham is generally known.

...She directly replied:

"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."

Backpedalling on Lizzy's part. This is diplomacy.

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


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

Implying, naturally, that Bingley, perhaps, ought to be a bit less needful of such care.

"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."


"What is it you mean?"


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

Fitzwilliam, in a rather stark irony. Lizzy is of the lady's family.

"You may depend upon my not mentioning it."

Lizzy, with a promise she does keep. The only person she ever tells is Darcy, which could hardly be supposed to be breaking her promise, since Darcy was intimately connected with the matter. Note: the BBC does not have this promise, and also has Lizzy talking to Charlotte all about this conversation later. In context, therefore, the BBC does not do violence to Lizzy's character, since they don't have her promising to do something she doesn't do. Lizzy is the soul of discretion, and does not tell Jane, or anyone else.

"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."

Fitzwilliam, trying to cover his tracks in order to prevent Lizzy from jumping to conclusions.

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

Lizzy, with a most understandable question.

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


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

Lizzy, attempting to find out the truth of the matter. She asks a question designed to find out for sure. Lizzy, naturally, having more information that Fitzwilliam, is better able to determine if the situation is what she already strongly suspects.

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

Why is Fitzwilliam smiling? Perhaps he sees, from his perspective (keep in mind he does not know who the girl was), that Lizzy is asking very penetrating questions, and might even be flattered.

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.

"I am thinking of what you have been telling me," said she. "Your cousin's conduct does not suit my feelings...

Hardly an exaggeration.

...Why was he to be the judge?"

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


"I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to decide on the propriety of his friend's inclination, or why, upon his own judgement alone, he was to determine and direct in what manner his friend was to be happy...

This is definitely an attack on Darcy.

...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."

Lizzy conceals that she knows who the lady is. As such, she is lying. I cannot condone her statement here. Interesting, her comment, "not to be supposed that there was much affection in the case." It's ironic. I think Lizzy is talking about Bingley, but her statement turns out to be true from the perspective of appearances. Recall that Darcy does not think Jane loves Bingley. Lizzy is correct in the province of appearance.

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

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,...

Very wise, probably. She would likely lash out, to everyone's hurt.

...and therefore, abruptly changing the conversation talked on indifferent matters until 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...

She does Darcy an injustice. Darcy is clever, and upright in many ways. Such men, especially if they are as wealthy as Darcy is, will always have much influence.

...That he had been concerned in the measures taken to separate 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...

I interpret this to mean that if it wasn't Darcy's vanity that was the cause of Jane's suffering, it was his pride and caprice.

...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.

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

This is not true; it is Lizzy's prejudice getting in the way. These were objections, though Darcy overcomes them in his own case. We know that his objections were much more to the point.

"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...

She is quite right here, and here sisterly partiality does not happen to lead her astray, though I think Jane much more capable of such an error than Lizzy.

...Neither could anything be urged against my father, who, though with some peculiarities, has abilities Mr. Darcy himself need not disdain, and respectability which he will probably never reach."...

This is not true. Darcy did object to the father, though not as much as to the mother and the younger sisters.

...When she thought of her mother, her confidence gave way a little;...

And rightly so.

...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 connections, than from their want of sense;...

You can see here what a disservice Lizzy does to Darcy. She really does think him devoid of every proper feeling.

...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.

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.

Next chapter: how not to propose to a lady.