Human Science
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This commentary was prepared by Karmayogi of The Mother’s Service Society (India). See or MSS Research. The Comments column is intended for brief insightful remarks on the text. For longer comments or questions use the Talk page of this article or create a new article and add a link in the comments section of this page or under the appropriate heading on P&P project mainpage.

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With no greater events than these in the Longbourn family, and otherwise diversified by little beyond the walks to Meryton, sometimes dirty and sometimes cold, did January and February pass away. March was to take Elizabeth to Hunsford. She had not at first thought very seriously of going thither; but Charlotte, she soon found, was depending on the plan, and she gradually learned to consider it herself with greater pleasure as well as greater certainty. Absence had increased her desire of seeing Charlotte again, and weakened her disgust of Mr. Collins. There was novelty in the scheme, and as, with such a mother and such uncompanionable sisters, home could not be faultless, a little change was not unwelcome for its own sake. The journey would, moreover, give her a peep at Jane; and, in short, as the time drew near, she would have been very sorry for any delay. Everything, however, went on smoothly, and was finally settled according to Charlotte's first sketch. She was to accompany Sir William and his second daughter. The improvement of spending a night in London was added in time, and the plan became perfect as plan could be.

  • A lull of two months was needed for the disquiet of Elizabeth to settle down.
  • Man hesitates, is irritated, refuses when luck moves towards him.
  • It was Charlotte who was serious in bringing Elizabeth to her home.
  • Charlotte was a source of good will to Elizabeth.
  • Darcy abused Elizabeth because she was unwilling to go to Hansford. Elizabeth’s dynamism was in the abuse which she delighted in. Elizabeth resents getting a favour at Collin’s place, through Charlotte from one who abused her.
  • The proposal viewed from Time, Space, person, attitude, relative position is abhorrent to Elizabeth though it is a miracle in her life.
  • The next proposal is after Jane’s engagement, at Longbourn, after her rebuttal of Lady Catherine, in soft tones, for her own merits of having abused him. She is rewarded for her strength to abuse which is acceptable to her when she considers she brought Bingley to Jane.
  • All this was possible when Wickham is moved away once for all from her mind and environment.
  • Elizabeth was not enamoured of travel, though we are not told she travels a lot.
  • Outside her house she can be ill at ease, especially to receive a proposal at a defenceless moment.
  • Elizabeth’s desire to see Charlotte is indirectly a desire to respond to Darcy
  • Charlotte’s invitation gains momentum by the circumstances at home. This is how the atmosphere is prepared
  • Note Darcy could propose at Hunsford, not at Meryton.
  • His second proposal was given at Meryton, outside their house. By that time Jane’s good will is strongly established, Lydia neutralized, Bingley’s strength added to the family

The only pain was in leaving her father, who would certainly miss her, and who, when it came to the point, so little liked her going, that he told her to write to him, and almost promised to answer her letter.

  • Elizabeth’s personality is shaped by her father. Therefore she feels the pain of going away from him which Jane had not felt in leaving for London.
  • Mr. Bennet’s promise to reply Elizabeth is extraordinary in his indolent position.

The farewell between herself and Mr. Wickham was perfectly friendly; on his side even more. His present pursuit could not make him forget that Elizabeth had been the first to excite and to deserve his attention, the first to listen and to pity, the first to be admired; and in his manner of bidding her adieu, wishing her every enjoyment, reminding her of what she was to expect in Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and trusting their opinion of her -- their opinion of everybody -- would always coincide, there was a solicitude, an interest, which she felt must ever attach her to him with a most sincere regard; and she parted from him convinced that, whether married or single, he must always be her model of the amiable and pleasing.

  • Wickham, at parting, after deserting her for Miss King, addresses her on all her concerns till she looks upon him as the one Man to be adored. He is a consummate rascal
  • On her journey, her mind dwells only on Wickham

Her fellow-travellers the next day were not of a kind to make her think him less agreeable. Sir William Lucas, and his daughter Maria, a good-humoured girl, but as empty-headed as himself, had nothing to say that could be worth hearing, and were listened to with about as much delight as the rattle of the chaise. Elizabeth loved absurdities, but she had known Sir William's too long. He could tell her nothing new of the wonders of his presentation and knighthood; and his civilities were worn out, like his information.

  • Wickham does not hesitate to do any heinous act, nor can he emotionally suffer for that. He is shameless, free from conscience or compunction.
  • No one has taken notice of it till his elopement.
  • Elizabeth was the first to listen to him. She had done so as she was aware of the fact that Wickham brings news of Darcy.
  • He made the greatest impression on her and wants to maintain it.
  • On Page 136 in her description of Wickham and on P.199 in her description of her own genius, Elizabeth is at her psychological best.
  • She was prepared to admire him even after his marriage.
  • Elizabeth’s playfulness comes out of her love of absurdities.
  • It is one reason Collins proposes to her.
  • Love of absurdity attracts an absurd proposal from Darcy.
  • One can enjoy absurdities, not its repetition ad infinitum.
  • An empty head comes alive when there is an occasion for its absurdity to find expression.
  • What delights him is the mental sensation of speaking.
  • Elizabeth loved absurdities as they are occasions for causeless joy

It was a journey of only twenty-four miles, and they began it so early as to be in Gracechurch Street by noon. As they drove to Mr. Gardiner's door, Jane was at a drawing-room window watching their arrival; when they entered the passage she was there to welcome them, and Elizabeth, looking earnestly in her face, was pleased to see it healthful and lovely as ever. On the stairs were a troop of little boys and girls, whose eagerness for their cousin's appearance would not allow them to wait in the drawing-room, and whose shyness, as they had not seen her for a twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower. All was joy and kindness. The day passed most pleasantly away: the morning in bustle and shopping, and the evening at one of the theatres.

  • Elizabeth was looking for Jane’s health. Jane was not broken-hearted enough for it to tell on her health. It is only a disappointment
  • Intense affection of children keeps them away by shyness

27 gardiners Pride and Prejudice.jpg

Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt. Their first subject was her sister; and she was more grieved than astonished to hear, in reply to her minute enquiries, that though Jane always struggled to support her spirits, there were periods of dejection. It was reasonable, however, to hope that they would not continue long. Mrs. Gardiner gave her the particulars also of Miss Bingley's visit in Gracechurch Street, and repeated conversations occurring at different times between Jane and herself, which proved that the former had, from her heart, given up the acquaintance.

  • Jane was not in love to distraction.
  • Her good nature is seen in the children liking her.
  • ‘All was joy and kindness’, a symptom that she was to receive a proposal.
  • When one is in love, mention of the lover even in denial is sweet.
  • Elizabeth has implicit trust in Jane, but, still, she checks with her aunt on the visit of Caroline.
  • She is thoroughgoing.

Mrs. Gardiner then rallied her niece on Wickham's desertion, and complimented her on bearing it so well.

  • Mrs. Gardiner readily sees Wickham is mercenary. Attachment of partiality prevents Elizabeth from seeing it
  • Elizabeth’s defence of Wickham is a marvel, apparently rational and logical. But it is rationality of blindness
  • Wickham could take in even the shrewd Mrs. Gardiner

27 mrsgardiner Pride and Prejudice.jpg

"But, my dear Elizabeth," she added, "what sort of girl is Miss King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary."

  • Elizabeth puts up a very able defence with one flaw.

"Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin? Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, because it would be imprudent; and now, because he is trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, you want to find out that he is mercenary."

  • Her own arguments that defend Wickham fully defend Charlotte whose action was despicable to Elizabeth.
  • This is the best possible illustration that the vital can be justifiably irrational.

"If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King is, I shall know what to think."


"She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. I know no harm of her."

  • She sees no harm in Miss King as she is generous-hearted, capable of hard rational judgement in all other matters.
  • It is also due to a further fact that Elizabeth finds Miss King lucky in Wickham’s attentions.

"But he paid her not the smallest attention till her grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune."


"No -- why should he? If it were not allowable for him to gain my affections because I had no money, what occasion could there be for making love to a girl whom he did not care about, and who was equally poor?"

  • Human motives have two ends, the lower is negative and the higher is positive. So one starts with mercenary motive and rises to prudence. It is so with obstinacy and firmness; discretion and valour.
  • As they only appear opposite while they are two stages in the same journey, we understand the unity of life.
  • The greatest emphasis falls on the human decision, decision that chooses values, human choice for the reason of its capacity to change the character of its course.
  • The clear logic of a clever mind that is faced with life is seen in her.
  • The vital cannot be true or rational nor the human.
  • In her own emotions Elizabeth is righteous.
  • Children are unable to concede their parents’ errors like this.
  • As long as one is selfish, this is his invincible ‘reason’.
  • 1208. Elizabeth is more than self-righteous. She assumes the zeal of one whose philosophy is something is right because he does it.

"But there seems indelicacy in directing his attentions towards her so soon after this event."

  • Even the delicacy he was devoid of is all right for Elizabeth.

"A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those elegant decorums which other people may observe. If she does not object to it, why should we?"

  • Elizabeth stretches her imaginative defence of Wickham to Miss King’s no objection which is no logical argument. A woman agreeing to be ravished does not justify rape.

"Her not objecting, does not justify him. It only shews her being deficient in something herself -- sense or feeling."


"Well," cried Elizabeth, "have it as you choose. He shall be mercenary, and she shall be foolish."

  • To every angle of the view of Mrs. Gardiner, Elizabeth has a defence.
  • Collins’ proposal has become a famous comic scene in literature.
  • This page can equally be famous for the irrationality of one in love.

"No, Lizzy, that is what I do not choose. I should be sorry, you know, to think ill of a young man who has lived so long in Derbyshire."


"Oh! If that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all."

  • Manners, the pleasant exterior, have so much inner potential even when it espouses evil.
  • Elizabeth in her frustration recognised that Wickham is no longer capable of a mental object for her. To that measure of liberation from falsehood, the invitation to Derbyshire comes. It is an invitation to Darcy.

"Take care, Lizzy; that speech savours strongly of disappointment."


Before they were separated by the conclusion of the play, she had the unexpected happiness of an invitation to accompany her uncle and aunt in a tour of pleasure which they proposed taking in the summer.

  • The invitation to Derbyshire, where her matrimonial fate will be sealed, is given to Elizabeth when Wickham was officially dismissed from her mind by Mrs. Gardiner

27 elizabeth happy Pride and Prejudice.jpg

"We have not quite determined how far it shall carry us," said Mrs. Gardiner, "but, perhaps, to the Lakes."


No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, and her acceptance of the invitation was most ready and grateful. "My dear, dear aunt," she rapturously cried, "what delight! What felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! What hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of anything. We will know where we have gone -- we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers."

  • Her ready acceptance of the invitation announces the happy end of her marriage.
  • The rapturous delight releases itself not from the lakes, but from her own glorious future.
  • Her words, ‘You give me fresh life and vigour’ are characteristic.
  • Vitally man is all, rocks are nothing.
  • Physically rocks can excel human interest.
  • Elizabeth has the keen faculty to know what she has seen precisely.
  • She certainly stands out from the general travelers.
  • ‘Her first effusion’ is another indicative phrase.
  • Her rapture and effusion are not for Darcy, but for Pemberley.
  • Darcy’s centre of consciousness is in his physicality.
  • ‘Hours of transport’ is another such phrase.

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