From Chapter 43 in “Pride and Prejudice”, Elizabeth Bennet and the Gardiners are at Pemberley where they are joined in their walk about the grounds by Mr. Darcy. It appears that Mr. Darcy’s attitude towards the Gardiners is quite civil.
Elizabeth said nothing, but it gratified her exceedingly; the compliment must be all for herself. Her astonishment, however, was extreme, and continually was she repeating, "Why is he so altered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for me -- it cannot be for my sake that his manners are thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change as this. It is impossible that he should still love me."
In the margin of my paperback, I wrote, “Do reproofs really work?” Under that I wrote, “On a healthy mind!”
To understand my thinking, you must realize that I have known quite a few people, and I won’t mention their gender, to whom one could talk for a million years and they would not hear you. They “know” everything! But then I realized that Mr. Darcy was not suffering from the ailments of those persons I know. It amazes me how many of human nature’s idiosyncrasies appear in Jane Austen’s novels. It says one more time that people have not changed in hundreds of years.
When will we ever learn?
Linda the Librarian
Pic: Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth) and the Gardiners, PP 1995, from this site.