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Free Study Guide: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Free BookNotes

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: PRINTABLE STUDY NOTES

CHAPTER 43

Summary

As she arrives at Pemberley with the Gardiners, Elizabeth is thoroughly enchanted by the architecture and surrounding natural beauty of the place. For a moment she thinks it would be pleasant to be the mistress of Pemberley. They are greeted by the housekeeper, who shows them around; Elizabeth is impressed with all she sees. She also listens carefully to the housekeeper who generously praises Darcy as a sweet-tempered and benevolent young man. She claims he is an excellent landlord, unselfish, kind, and humane; she also explains that he is a devoted brother to his sister. Elizabeth momentarily feels sorry for having rebuffed Darcy. Then she thinks about his letter and his criticism of her ‘low’ relations, which make her angry again.

The tour of the house is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Darcy. Elizabeth is a bundle of nerves because she does not want Darcy to think that she has thrown herself in his way. He, however, seems calm and unaffected by her presence even though he speaks kindly to her. Elizabeth, after regaining her composure, introduces Darcy to the Gardiners; she cannot suppress her pleasure in showing him that some members of her family are intelligent and sensible. Darcy, showing no signs of his previous arrogance, is very cordial to the Gardiners; he even invites Mr. Gardiner to fish in his stream. He then suggests that Elizabeth meet his sister.

The Gardiners find the charming Darcy far from being an insolent and disagreeable man; they tell Elizabeth that they are amazed that he could have been cruel to Wickham. Without disclosing the source of her information, Elizabeth exonerates Darcy by telling the truth that she has learned from Darcy. It is obvious that Elizabeth is becoming less prejudiced. She spends the rest of the day thinking about Darcy and his sister, Georgiana.

Notes


Elizabeth’s visit to Pemberley is contrived by the author for several purposes. First, it creates a sense of wonder in Elizabeth for Darcy. She finds everything about Pemberley - the architecture, the grounds, the furnishings, to be lovely; she realizes that the home is a clear expression of Darcy’s taste and wealth. She is also struck by Pemberley’s grandeur and feels "that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!" Elizabeth is becoming less prejudiced! Secondly, at Pemberley, Elizabeth hears all kinds of good things about Darcy, which begin to color her thinking. The housekeeper reveals that he is a kind and generous landlord, a devoted brother, and a promising and unselfish young man. Elizabeth realizes that this is a very different picture of the arrogant man that she has rejected. Thirdly, Elizabeth’s visit puts her into direct contact with Darcy again. The accidental encounter embarrasses Elizabeth because she is aware of the "impropriety of her being found there". But, Darcy puts her at ease and is very cordial with the Gardiners. Elizabeth is wonder-struck at his kind and gentlemanly behavior. She is further impressed when her aunt and uncle, people of good sense, reveal that they really like Darcy.


CHAPTERS 44 - 45

Summary

Darcy and his sister Georgiana call on Elizabeth and the Gardiners the next day. Georgiana is a graceful, well-formed, and attractive girl of sixteen. Because she is unassuming and diffident, some people erroneously judge her to be proud. Instead, she turns out to be lovely and charming.

It is obvious to the Gardiners that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth, but they have doubts about the love being reciprocated by Elizabeth.

Bingley arrives, and Elizabeth is gratified by his inquiries about her family and his disappointment at not having seen Jane for so long. She closely watches the interaction between Georgiana and Bingley and cannot discern any signs of a romantic attachment between them. She feels happy and hopeful for Jane. After the guests leave, Elizabeth lies awake and thinks of Bingley and Darcy.

Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner pay a return call to Pemberley the next morning. Georgiana receives them warmly, but the Bingley sisters are glacial in their welcome. When Caroline Bingley watches Darcy closely, especially when he speaks to Elizabeth, it is plain to her that he is in love with the Bennet girl. She is green-eyed with envy and tries to hide her jealousy by remarking to Elizabeth about the loss the Bennets must feel at the transfer of the militia. This is an obvious allusion to Elizabeth’s initial infatuation for Wickham and her sister’s scatter brained red-coat chasing. Darcy blushes at the uncouth remark, and Georgiana is upset by the rudeness of the slur. Elizabeth, however, manages to remain calm. When Elizabeth has left, Caroline makes a negative comment about her appearance; Darcy retorts that he considers Elizabeth to be one of the most handsome women he knows.

Notes

These chapters show that Darcy is still in love with Elizabeth; and she also begins to fall in love with him. Elizabeth’s realization of love, however, is an outcome of a careful process of "determining her feelings". Her love is not senseless like Lydia’s or instant like Jane’s. Elizabeth will soon be thankful to Darcy, "not merely for having once loved her, but for still loving her well enough to forgive all the petulance and acrimony of her manner in rejecting him, and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejection".

Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, is introduced for the first time. She is a coy, sweet, and gentle girl who Darcy loves dearly. She is a sharp contrast to the snobbish and unpleasant Bingley sisters. During Elizabeth’s visit to Pemberley, Caroline shows her jealousy and makes rude remarks about Wickham and the Bennets. Georgiana and Darcy are upset at the comment, especially since Lydia had eloped with Wickham. Elizabeth, however, stays calm and unperturbed in spite of the insult. Darcy is obviously impressed by her demeanor.


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