Monthly Archives: April 2014

My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter Z

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVE I can’t believe this month is coming to a close. The 2014 April A to Z Challenge was one crazy ride. My theme, “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice,” kept me busy. It was the “good” sort of busy though…full of focus and inspiration. I want to thank all of you who have read and/or commented on my posts throughout the month. It’s been a delight!

Long May Pride & Prejudice Be Read!

 

ZZ is for Zombies

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I wonder how many of you who’ve stuck with me over the course of the month knew that I was going to use Zombies for my Z word. When I decided that Pride & Prejudice was going to be my theme, I had very little trouble sorting out the words I would use for each post. I guess I could have chosen terms like Zeal or Zest to mark the end. Either of those words might be used to describe the characters, setting, or plot of the story, but they just wouldn’t wrap up the alphabet for me like Zombies does.

pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

If you are a fan of Pride & Prejudice, you’ve likely heard of the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The book is a lighthearted parody of the original story with the added bonus of zombies thrown into the mix. Now, I’m not recommending the book (unless you are into the bloody mess that seems to follow the walking dead). I wanted to use it to point out that Pride & Prejudice and all of Jane Austen’s stories are still going strong. There is a whole world of adaptations all centered on the work of our dear Jane. I’ve read a lot of it. There are continuations, re-tellings, a mystery series, websites full of fan fiction and hours of video. My favorites are the ones that follow the same formula Jane Austen set in place. That’s because, if you’ve read my posts you know, the best parts of the story for me are the misunderstandings that get in the way of the romance. There isn’t so much of that once Elizabeth and Darcy say I do.

Austenland

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Of all the adaptations out there that I enjoy, there are ones that I love. As reading material, I’m going to recommend Austenland by Shannon Hale. This is the story of a modern day Pride & Prejudice fan who watches the DVD with Colin Firth on a loop (hmmm…sounds familiar). She’s given a vacation at a Jane Austen themed resort and begins her search for her own Mr. Darcy. It was made into a good movie, but the book is wonderful. I have it permanently on my bedside table for light reading whenever I’m in need of a good laugh and a swoon.

Lost in Austen

BBC’s Lost in Austen

In the medium of videos, I’m going to suggest the BBC’s miniseries Lost In Austen. This one is about a Pride & Prejudice fan who reads the book almost every night. When Elizabeth Bennet appears in her bathroom (shocking), they switch places. The girl works to keep the story moving along while she tries to get back home. There are some hilarious revelations plus a delightful wet shirt scene with Mr. Darcy that makes this my favorite Pride & Prejudice video after the 1995 BBC version (Sorry Colin Firth, Elliot Cowan is my favorite Mr. Darcy).

Since both of these recommendations have the lead living the fantasy of Pride & Prejudice, you might think I’d wish to do the same. That’s not true. I already have the man I love. Besides, who would want to wear a corset? Ugh. I just love a good love story and I always will.

Thank you Miss Austen.

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter Y

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge is where a few thousand bloggers post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. My theme is:  “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.” Y

Y is for Young

“Young ladies of her age are sometimes a little difficult to manage…” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

Being a Young Adult fiction writer, I think I should point out that Pride & Prejudice is ALL about the young people. Anyone….ehmm….old in the story (save the Gardiners who are angels from Heaven) is pretty much ridiculous. Case in point: Mr. & Mrs. Bennet plus good ‘ole Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

youthful

The Bennet Sisters from the 2005 Pride & Prejudice Film

Instead of harping about what importance youth was to Jane Austen’s storyline, I thought I would share some quotes containing the word YOUNG and/or YOUTH from the book.

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England…” –Mrs. Bennet to Mr. Bennet on page one of the book.


“He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she, “sensible, good-humored, lively, and I never saw such happy manners!” –Jane to Elizabeth about Bingley.


“Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner.” –Sir William Lucas offers up Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy as a dancing partner as she crosses the room.


“It is amazing to me how young ladies can have patience to be very accomplished as they all are.” –Bingley to room at Netherfield when Elizabeth was staying there to be near an ill Jane.


“But I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared to admire them.” Mr. Collins to Mrs. Bennet upon arriving at Longbourne.


“I do assure you that I am not one of those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) who are daring as to risk their happiness on the chance of being asked a second time.” –Elizabeth to Mr. Collins upon refusing his marriage proposal.


“You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and will jilt you creditably.” Mr. Bennet to Elizabeth regarding how a female likes to be crossed in love.


“But really, ma’am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusements, because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early.” Elizabeth speaking her mind to Lady Catherine.


“The situation of your mother’s family, though objectionable, was nothing in comparison of that total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father.” Darcy to Elizabeth regarding his concerns in marrying her.


“She is my youngest girl, but one, my youngest of all is lately married; and my eldest is somewhere about the ground, walking with a young man, who I believe, will soon become part of the family.” Mrs. Bennet to Lady Catherine, bragging.


“I am no stranger to the particulars of your youngest sister’s infamous elopement. I know it all; that the young man’s marrying her was a patched-up business, at the expense of your father and uncle.” Lady Catherine to Elizabeth when she came to insist Elizabeth not marry Darcy.


“If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure.” Mr. Bennet to the house after Jane and Elizabeth have become engaged.

I searched for these quotes, picking the ones that most intrigued me. Afterwards I laid them out in sequential order and discovered something. Reading them this way almost tells the whole story. Obviously, youth is important to the book. It is the lives of these young people, some more mature than others, that are the focus of Pride & Prejudice.

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter X

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge is where a few thousand bloggers post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. My theme is:  “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.”

X

X is for seX

“To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence–Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked –” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

I know I’m cheating by using the X at the end of the word. I also know I’m cheating because there is no ‘sex’ in Pride & Prejudice. Technically, the word SEX is in the novel six times. Of course Jane Austen used it to describe gender, but hey…I’m no monument to justice (Moonstruck reference).

One thing I love so much about Pride & Prejudice is that no sex is necessary to carry off the romantic story. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a well written romp as much as anyone, but this book has stood the test of time without it. Besides, I know there is sex happening in the story. Come on. The Bennets have five daughters. There had to be something going on behind the scenes…at least at Longbourne. And…just what do we think Lydia and Wickham were doing holed up in London? I doubt they were playing cards.

Just because we don’t get any graphic details it doesn’t mean that Jane Austen deprives us of sexual tension. From the very beginning of seeing Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth found him attractive – yet rude. Though he wasn’t moved upon first seeing her, the more Darcy was in Elizabeth’s company the more he found her to have “fine eyes.” At a gathering early in the story Jane Austen describes the growing feelings Darcy has for Elizabeth.

“Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley’s attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticize. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware;–to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.

He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation with others.”

Uhmm…Darcy is in REAL trouble.

The-Kiss

Elizabeth and Darcy, 2005 Pride & Prejudice Film

Later when he can deny his feelings no longer his proposal, though full of anger, was also full of passion. That opening line lays it all on the table. “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Elizabeth takes longer to come around, but after reading his letter her coldness towards him begins to melt. At Pemberly she stares longingly at Darcy’s smiling portrait and then enjoys seeing him in person. When she finally has forgiven all his misdeeds, she is eager for reconciliation. At Longbourne, near the end of the story, Darcy accompanies Bingley on his visit to see Jane. Elizabeth is beside herself with her want for Darcy.

“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!

‘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!”

It is these moments, these subtle gems thrown in on occasion that are the real passion in the story. Jane Austen didn’t need to be explicit. The flames of the sexual tension are so hot, who needs a wild romp? Maybe I should have titled this post:

My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter X is for lack of X-Rating!

 

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter W

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge is where a few thousand bloggers post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. My theme is:  “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.”

W

W is for Wickham (the Wicked)

“Mr. Wickham was the happy man towards whom almost every female eye was turned.” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

It seems like ages since I first wanted to write this post. In vain I have struggled (see what I did there?) to keep Wickham out of my other posts. He deserved his own…and I had to wait until near the end of the month to tell you how ardently I love, though not admire, Wickham (HA! I did it again).

The many faces of Wickham!

bbcWickham

Adrian Lukis as Wickham in 1995 BBC mini-series

FILMwickham

Rupert Friend as Wickham in 2005 film version

LINwickham

Tom Riley as Wickham in Lost In Austen (my favorite)

George Wickham comes to Meryton following Mr. Collins arrival at Longbourne and well after Mr. Darcy snubs Elizabeth during the ball at the assembly halls. He is to join the militia and, with his good looks and happy manners, Wickham becomes the darling to all the Bennet clan (well, the females anyway). Here is how Jane Austen describes him: “His appearance was greatly in his favour; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address. The introduction was followed up on his side by a happy readiness of conversation—a readiness at the same time perfectly correct and unassuming.”

Wickham, who was the son of the late Mr. Darcy’s steward, grew up with Fitzwilliam Darcy. He, a favorite of Darcy’s father, was promised a living as a clergyman. He explains to Elizabeth that Darcy was so jealous of his relationship with the father that the life he was to have was denied him. She and all the village of Meryton are happy to believe any words against Darcy, so Wickham spreads his venom far and wide.

We don’t learn until later that Mr. Wickham isn’t what he appears. When he quickly changes his affections from Elizabeth to the girl that inherited 10,000 pounds we should become suspicious. In the letter Darcy writes Elizabeth, he describes exactly what sort of snake Wickham is and how he would have used Darcy’s young sister. Elizabeth feels lucky to escape Wickham unscathed…that is until he seduces Lydia.

I think George Wickham’s wickedness comes from not being able to live within his own means. Though he denied it, he never wanted to join the clergy. He was quite happy to have Darcy buy him off instead of working for a living. Then when that money was gone, Wickham moved on to a scheme to steal away with the young Georgiana Darcy to ensure he got a hand on her fortune. It all comes from a love of money. Wickham was given a life, as a child, that he wouldn’t have had otherwise. He grew accustomed to the finer things and wasn’t willing to relinquish them.

The truth is, Wickham is the complete opposite of Darcy; the anti-Darcy. In the beginning he is charming and charismatic, but ends up showing himself vile. Darcy, on the other hand, starts out being rude and selfish but redeems himself like the perfect man we all know him to be. Elizabeth said it best, “There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.”

If Darcy is the character we love to love, then Wickham has to be the one we love to hate. What are your thoughts on George Wickham?

 

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter V

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge is where a few thousand bloggers post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. My theme is:  “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.”V

V is for Vogue

 “Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better.” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

fashion2

Who wears it best? What was vogue in the 1800s.

I am sorry to admit it, for I wouldn’t want to wear those clothes, but I love the fashion or ‘vogue’ of the Regency period. The men with their cravats and the empire waists on the ladies’ dresses set my heart to flutter. Just thinking about it makes me want to pull out my DVDs and watch Elizabeth fall in love with Mr. Darcy all over again.

The special thing about the clothes for the gentry is that they look so noble. I know the women are wearing corsets that force them into uncomfortable positions. It certainly isn’t fair. At the same time the men must be sweltering in jackets and top hats during the summer months. Nonetheless, the look is elegant. There is a certain “class” to the upper class of that period.

Again, I don’t want to go back to that time period. I just have an appreciation for well made bonnets and hessian boots. It is enough for me to watch period productions like Pride & Prejudice. I wouldn’t want to live them.

For a detailed explanation of the clothes during the Regency Period, please see Candice Hern’s website. She does a much better job explaining the clothing than I ever could. Why re-invent the wheel?

Let me know what YOU think.

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter U

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge is where a few thousand bloggers post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. My theme is:  “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.”

U

U is for Universal Truth

Truth-Universal“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”  –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

And so begins Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. This amazing first sentence is considered one of the most famous opening lines in all of English literature. It is much quoted and parodied, from advertisements to television shows. “A truth universally acknowledged” is synonymous with Pride & Prejudice itself.

One outstanding benefit of this sentence is that it takes us, the readers, immediately into the story. We know that there is a wealthy SINGLE man. We also know that he is going to get a wife…whether he knows he wants one or not.

We also know that this is going to be a story full of humor. The ironic comedy of the second line clears up any question, “However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering the neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.” Not only is the wealthy man going to marry, but he is going to marry one of the town’s daughters. Case closed.

The REAL universal truth that the narrator is trying to get at is the opposite of what is stated. Men of wealth and status in England of the Regency period did not necessarily have to have a wife. The need for a marriage with the benefits of money and rank fell on the ladies of the land. Their means to support themselves was so limited, it was crucial for the women to marry well.

I love that Jane Austen took jabs at the social conventions of her day. She, who never married and who felt the need to write anonymously, knew what the limitations for her life as a woman were. The good news is that she seemed to be able to laugh at it.

 

What are your takes on the universal truth? I’d love to read your comments.

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter T

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge  is where a few thousand bloggers post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. My theme is:  “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.”

Go Vols!

T is for Travel

“Where there is fortune to make the expense of traveling unimportant, distance becomes no evil.”  –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

While most of Pride & Prejudice takes place in and around the village of Meryton, travel plays an important part of the story. When Jane Austen was alive, travel of a real distance meant taking a horse and carriage. It took a long time to go even the distance of thirty miles in a slow moving carriage, so people tended to stay put. This means that any traveling done in the writing must be significant to the story.

Of the Bennet girls, Jane is the first to go anywhere in the book. She leaves Longbourne with her Uncle and Aunt Gardiner to stay at their home in London for an extended visit. During this time Jane tries to further her acquaintance with Caroline Bingley. She learns once and for all that Charles Bingley’s sisters are not her friends and is led to believe that Mr. Bingley has no feelings for her.

While Jane is away, Elizabeth travels to spend some weeks with her friend Charlotte and Charlotte’s new husband, Mr. Collins. There she’s exposed to the domineering Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy’s aunt, and again is forced into the company of Mr. Darcy. It is during this trip that Mr. Darcy botches up a proposal of marriage to Elizabeth. She also learns the truth about the man she considered a family friend. Mr. Wickham is not the gallant figure he seems, though she is duty bound not to expose him.

After Elizabeth comes home, it is Lydia’s turn to leave Longbourne. She hopes to follow the officers to Brighton under the guise of spending time with her friend. Even though Elizabeth begs her father not to let her go, Mr. Bennet would rather not have Lydia moping within earshot. He doesn’t heed Elizabeth’s advice. The youngest Bennet goes off to sow her oats.

It’s then Elizabeth’s turn to travel with her Uncle and Aunt. They’re supposed to spend time in the lake country, but decide to take a shorter trip to Derbyshire where Mrs. Gardiner spent her youth. This is where Mr. Darcy’s estate, Pemberly, is located. Of course, the travelers run into Mr. Darcy. He is so changed from the arrogant man she knew in Meryton, that Elizabeth has a hard time reconciling this person with who he used to be. He even takes delight in introducing her to his sister. Everything begins to point towards a happy ending when Elizabeth receives word that Lydia has run off with Wickham while staying in Brighton. Elizabeth leaves Darcy fearing that the ruin her sister is facing blemishes the rest of the family. She is certain Mr. Darcy will have no further use for her.

The travel that Jane Austen used in Pride & Prejudice was not just a change of scenery because she was bored with Meryton. Travel is like the journey that every protagonist takes throughout a story. They have to change to grow. The story of Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy and all the supporting characters grow as they make their journeys.

What are you thoughts on travel in Pride & Prejudice? Others, besides the Bennets and travel throughout the story. Do these other journeys have as much to bear on the story as those of the three Bennet girls?

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter S

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge  is a month-long event where I, and more than 2000 other bloggers, will post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. The theme of my posts will be “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.” Click the link above or the A to Z badge in my sidebar to visit other participants.

SS is for Sisters

“All! — What, all five out at once? Very odd! — And you only the second. — The younger ones out before the elder are married! — Your younger sisters must be very young?”

“Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Perhaps she is full young to be much in company. But really, Ma’am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusement because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early. — The last born has as good a right to the pleasures of youth, as the first. And to be kept back on such a motive! — I think it would not be very likely to promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind.”  –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

 

Today’s post is about sisters. In particular, the five Bennet girls: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine (Kitty) and the youngest Lydia. It is on these girls, their lack of fortune and their mother’s will to get them married well that the plot of Pride and Prejudice focuses.

BennetSisters

The five Bennet sisters, as seen in BBC 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini-series

I have already done full posts individually on Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. They are the two oldest, the most significant to the story and are best friends. Each couldn’t be more unalike, but they care greatly for each other. I’ll not say more about them except they are the most sensible Bennet girls.

The third Bennet daughter is Mary. She is described as ”being the only plain one in the family.” To make up for that, Mary “worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments” and “was always impatient for display.” Unfortunately, her abilities never reach her hopes. It’s Mary’s need to shine at singing and playing the pianoforte that are one part of the embarrassment Elizabeth feels at the Netherfield Ball.

Kitty (short for Catherine) is the fourth child, but she is more of a follower than a leader to her younger sister. She is described as “weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia’s guidance.” The story finds her mostly trailing behind Lydia in every scheme. She resents that Lydia gets to go visit their friend in Brighton and she is to be left behind.

Lydia may be the youngest Bennet girl, but in this story she is the most crucial to the story after Elizabeth and Jane. The description of her says that she is “a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good-humoured countenance; a favourite with her mother, whose affection had brought her into public at an early age. She had high animal spirits, and a sort of natural self-consequence…” It is Lydia’s self assurance combined with a lack of discipline from her parents that lands her in the dire situation with Wickham. She has no care beyond her own comfort. Spoiled and beyond silly, Lydia is a hinge that helps allow the door of criticism on Elizabeth’s family to swing open.

In a time where females of their station were supposed to be “accomplished” at all sorts of entertainments, the Bennet girls seem to be almost free spirits. They are all different, but rally together as family. It’s their lively spirit and what I would call realistic normalcy that makes me love these sisters so much.

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter R

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge  is a month-long event where I, and more than 2000 other bloggers, will post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. The theme of my posts will be “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.” Click the link above or the A to Z badge in my sidebar to visit other participants.

RR is for Rosings Park

“…I have often told her, to come to Rosings every day, and play on the pianoforte in Mrs. Jenkinson’s room. She would be in nobody’s way, you know, in that part of the house.”  –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

Rosings Park is the de Bourgh family estate in Pride & Prejudice. This is where Lady Catherine, maternal aunt of Mr. Darcy, reigns (to the point of bullying) over all. It is also here, at Mr. Collin’s rectory adjoining the garden, that Elizabeth comes to stay with her friend Charlotte.

RosingsPark_Belton House

Belton House near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England was featured as “Rosings Park” in the BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series

Mr. Collins, Charlotte, her younger sister Maria and Elizabeth are invited to dine at the great estate on more than one occasion. He is so in awe of Rosings Park and his “esteemed patroness” that he worries “the sight of such rooms, so many servants, and so splendid a dinner might not wholly overpower them.” Though the estate is quite grand, it’s safe to say that there was no real danger.

Mr. Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam make their yearly visit to Rosings Park while Elizabeth is staying at the Collins’ home. The inhabitants at the rectory spend some time at the estate while the male visitors are in residence. It is during one of these visits that Elizabeth becomes friendly with Colonel Fitzwilliam and crosses wits with Mr. Darcy while she plays the pianoforte. It is one of my most favorite scenes in the whole book

Elizabeth to Colonel Fitzwilliam regarding Mr. Darcy: “The first time of my ever seeing him in Hertfordshire, you must know, was at a ball — and at this ball, what do you think he did? He danced only four dances! I am sorry to pain you — but so it was. He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting down in want of a partner. Mr. Darcy, you cannot deny the fact.”

“I had not at that time the honour of knowing any lady in the assembly beyond my own party.”

“True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ball room…”

“Perhaps,” said Darcy, “I should have judged better, had I sought an introduction, but I am ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers.”

“Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this?” said Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. “Shall we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers?”

“I can answer your question,” said Fitzwilliam, “without applying to him. It is because he will not give himself the trouble.”

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

“My fingers,”said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault — because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman’s of superior execution.”

Darcy smiled, and said, “You are perfectly right. You have employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you, can think anything wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers.”

Rosings offers Mr. Darcy his first real chance of seeing Elizabeth away from her family. And so, his good opinion increases. It isn’t long before he can no longer fight his feelings. It is also while on his visit to Rosings Park that Darcy makes his disaster of a proposal. Even if for no other reason than this, I will always love Rosings.

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My A to Z of Pride and Prejudice – Letter Q

Pride-and-Prejudice_LOVEThe April A to Z Blogging Challenge  is a month-long event where I, and more than 2000 other bloggers, will post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. The theme of my posts will be “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.” Click the link above or the A to Z badge in my sidebar to visit other participants.

 

Q

Q from Star Trek The Next Generation…the nerd side of me couldn’t resist.

Q is for Quarrelsome

“We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame annexed to that evening,” said Elizabeth; “the conduct of neither, if strickly examined, will be irreproachable.” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice

I have said it many times. I love a good argument in a story (in real life, not so much). When it’s between would be lovers who can’t seem to get out of their own way, all the better. So, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s sparring matches in Pride & Prejudice just delight me.

The first hint of an argument between Elizabeth and Darcy is when she refuses to dance with him after Sir William Lucas suggests it. The flame on that one is mostly on her end. Maybe it showed something of a spark in her gaze because that the evening Darcy decided she had ‘fine eyes.’

quarrel

Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley in 2005 Pride & Prejudice film

At Netherfield they go back and forth because Caroline Bingley encouraged Elizabeth to make her seem less attractive to Darcy. The two then disagree about ‘truly accomplished’ females and whether pride is a failing. Darcy comes out of it impressed with Elizabeth’s wit and intelligence. Again, his appreciation of her grows (Sorry Caroline).

The best quarrel takes place in Mr. Collins rectory when Darcy comes to visit her. She had just read a disturbing letter from Jane and heard Colonel Fitzwilliam brag about how Darcy kept his friend (Bingley) from a disadvantaged match (Jane). So, Elizabeth was primed to tear into him when he turned around and did something she never would have expected. He proposed marriage.

It was poorly done, in a backhanded compliment sort of way. Darcy asked her to marry him, but tempered it with regret that he loved her.

She told him no, of course and he took her rejection as wounded pride because he didn’t lie about his concerns. I’m sure she would have refused him anyway, but the fact that he insulted her and her family in the process made her less likely to spare his feelings. Elizabeth threw in his face his arrogance, his supposed misuse of Wickham and his total lack of concern for her sister Jane’s feelings. When it’s was over, he left humiliated and shocked.

These moments of disagreement between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are what keep me returning to Pride and Prejudice again and again and again. They are, in fact, the reason I love those moments in any book. Jane Austen set up the example by which every other disagreement between love interests in any story is to be judged.

What do you think about the fight scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth? Can you think of any others?

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