The 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.
“…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.
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.