Colonel Fitzwilliam is about thirty years old and, though he is not very handsome,
his manners make him popular. A week after the arrival of her nephews,
Lady Catherine ‘condescends’ to invite Mr. Collins’ guests to a party
at Rosings on Sunday evening. Colonel Fitzwilliam is attracted to Elizabeth
and converses with her animatedly. The mutually engrossed couple draws
the attention of Darcy and Lady Catherine. The latter has no qualms about
rudely interrupting their conversation, calling out questions to them.
Fitzwilliam asks Elizabeth to play the piano, and she agrees; Lady Catherine,
however, rudely continues to talk while Elizabeth is performing. Disgusted
by his aunt’s churlish manner, Darcy stands by the piano to pay attention
to Elizabeth. During the evening, Elizabeth cannot see any signs of love
between Darcy and Miss de Borough.
Darcy seems a little jealous of the fact that his cousin and Elizabeth are
engrossed in conversation. He is also horrified at his aunt’s rude behavior.
Lady Catherine continuously interrupts Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth’s
conversation. She insults Elizabeth by suggesting that she should practice
the piano more often and by saying she is free to use the servants’ room,
where she "will not be in the way". Lady Catherine’s crude behavior
embarrasses Darcy, just as Mrs. Bennet’s oafish behavior often embarrasses
Elizabeth. Lady Catherine’s loud talking while Elizabeth is playing the
piano totally exasperates Darcy. When he stands by the piano in order
to hear better, Elizabeth accuses him of trying to unsettle her. In this
scene, as in many others, Elizabeth misunderstands Darcy.
Since the rest of the party has gone out, the next morning Elizabeth sits
alone, writing a letter to Jane. Darcy suddenly walks in. Both of them
are at loss for words, but Elizabeth finally asks about the abrupt departure
of the Bingleys from Netherfield. Darcy does not say much, but he tells
her that Bingley may dispose of Netherfield. Their conversation is interrupted
by the entry of Charlotte and her sister. After Darcy departs, Charlotte
tells Elizabeth of her notion that Darcy is in love with her. Elizabeth
laughs at the suggestion. Darcy and Fitzwilliam begin to often come to
the parsonage. Although Darcy usually says little, Charlotte notices that
he often looks at Elizabeth.
Darcy’s frequent visits to the parsonage and his awkward reticent manner suggest that he is in love with Elizabeth; Elizabeth, however, is as blind to his affection as she is to his goodness. Even when Charlotte suggests Darcy’s love, Elizabeth only laughs at the notion.
The contrast between Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy is further portrayed. Fitzwilliam,
with his informed mind, is nothing more than a superior version of Wickham.
Ironically, Elizabeth judges him to be a superior person to Darcy.
Elizabeth, rambling in the park, often meets Darcy unexpectedly. On these
occasions, he walks with her and asks odd questions about her likes and
dislikes. Once she meets Fitzwilliam while she is strolling, and they
speak of Darcy. Fitzwilliam tells her that recently Darcy has saved a
friend from an unwise marriage, and he suspects this friend to be Bingley.
Elizabeth is pained over hearing the news. She is furious with Darcy for
ruining her sister’s life. She later feigns a headache so she will not
have to accompany the others to Rosings; angry with Darcy for his interference
in Jane’s life, she does not want to see him.
When she strolls in the park, Elizabeth sometimes encounters Fitzwilliam or Darcy, who walk with her. It is obvious that Fitzwilliam adores Elizabeth; but he cannot contemplate marrying her, for as the younger son, he has neither wealth nor property to offer.
The mystery of Bingley’s abrupt departure from Netherfield is solved. Colonel
Fitzwilliam unknowingly tells Elizabeth that Darcy has stopped a friend,
probably Bingley, from an unwise marriage. Elizabeth is agitated over
the news and hates Darcy as never before for meddling in Jane's life.
It is a part of Austen’s dramatic stratagem that Darcy’s proposal should
follow immediately after this revelation.
Cite this page:
TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Pride and Prejudice".
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