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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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Elizabeth's impatience to acquaint Jane with what had happened could no longer be overcome; and at length, resolving to suppress every particular in which her sister was concerned, and preparing her to be surprised, she related to her the next morning the chief of the scene between Mr. Darcy and herself.

  • Darcy’s proposal to her apart from news, in this context has a personality of its own and will press for expression.

Miss Bennet's astonishment was soon lessened by the strong sisterly partiality which made any admiration of Elizabeth appear perfectly natural; and all surprise was shortly lost in other feelings. She was sorry that Mr. Darcy should have delivered his sentiments in a manner so little suited to recommend them; but still more was she grieved for the unhappiness which her sister's refusal must have given him.

  • Jane’s response is characteristic of her.
  • There was no great surprise for Jane, as Elizabeth was holding back Jane’s part. So, the energy of surprise is not there.
  • Jane does not for a moment regret Elizabeth lost a great chance. Neither money, nor marriage is so valuable to her as Elizabeth’s happiness.
  • The mother is obsessed by their marriages.
  • No girl is equally worried, though they all want it.
  • Lydia said Bingley would choose her.
  • As they were not obsessed about marrying like the mother, three weddings take place all at once.
  • Jane was not astonished by Darcy’s proposal. She lost the surprise in other feelings one of which is the exposure of Wickham. It is due to two reasons: 1) Jane is incapable of a receptivity to Darcy’s wealth into her family and 2) The exposure of Wickham has pained the feminine heart to wonder enough at the proposal

"His being so sure of succeeding was wrong," said she, "and certainly ought not to have appeared; but consider how much it must increase his disappointment."

  • Jane disapproves of Darcy’s assurance of Elizabeth accepting him. She herself readily accepted Bingley as Charlotte did. No girl will put up her feminine tricks to Darcy’s wealth. They are too sensible to play hide and seek with them. Elizabeth acted so the second time. Jane’s web of appearance is so foolishly real that she finds fault with Darcy

"Indeed," replied Elizabeth, "I am heartily sorry for him; but he has other feelings, which will probably soon drive away his regard for me. You do not blame me, however, for refusing him?"

  • Jane’s response to Elizabeth’s refusal of Darcy is artificial if not unnatural. Her whole personality has this comic or ironic modesty of superstitious conviction of intelligence
  • Jane is an artificial personality of a mental attitude of naive goodness
  • It is a certain blindness. When perfect, even that has the strength of accomplishment

40 jane elizabeth Pride and Prejudice

"Blame you! Oh, no."

  • It is not in Jane to blame anyone for anything.
  • Jane knows no wrong to Elizabeth.

"But you blame me for having spoken so warmly of Wickham."


"No -- I do not know that you were wrong in saying what you did."

  • Till the age of 23 no stark evil was presented to Jane.
  • Meryton was a place of normal living. (p. 199)

"But you will know it, when I have told you what happened the very next day."


She then spoke of the letter, repeating the whole of its contents as far as they concerned George Wickham. What a stroke was this for poor Jane! Who would willingly have gone through the world without believing that so much wickedness existed in the whole race of mankind as was here collected in one individual. Nor was Darcy's vindication, though grateful to her feelings, capable of consoling her for such discovery. Most earnestly did she labour to prove the probability of error, and seek to clear one, without involving the other.


"This will not do," said Elizabeth; "you never will be able to make both of them good for anything. Take your choice, but you must be satisfied with only one. There is but such a quantity of merit between them; just enough to make one good sort of man; and of late it has been shifting about pretty much. For my part, I am inclined to believe it all Mr. Darcy's; but you shall do as you chuse."

  • Elizabeth is always definitive.
  • Darcy was wrong when she listened to Wickham.
  • Wickham was wrong when she read Darcy’s letter.
  • She sways to one side readily.
  • Elizabeth has decidedly chosen to label Darcy good but would not condemn Wickham by her words

40 jane Pride and Prejudice

It was some time, however, before a smile could be extorted from Jane.

  • Even if she is personally not involved, Jane even in her mind, would not consider a wrong situation.
  • Whether the situation is right or not, Jane remains neutral.

"I do not know when I have been more shocked," said she. "Wickham so very bad! It is almost past belief. And poor Mr. Darcy! Dear Lizzy, only consider what he must have suffered. Such a disappointment! And with the knowledge of your ill opinion too! And having to relate such a thing of his sister! It is really too distressing. I am sure you must feel it so."


"Oh! No, my regret and compassion are all done away by seeing you so full of both. I know you will do him such ample justice, that I am growing every moment more unconcerned and indifferent. Your profusion makes me saving; and if you lament over him much longer my heart will be as light as a feather."

  • Elizabeth does draw solid solace in Jane’s company.

"Poor Wickham; there is such an expression of goodness in his countenance! Such an openness and gentleness in his manner!"

  • Wickham has such a good looking countenance.
  • After his elopement, he retained a calm countenance.
  • Absence of conscience is an asset.
  • In trying to appear a paragon of perfection to the elder Mr. Darcy, he has developed such a countenance helped by absence of scruples.

"There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it."


"I never thought Mr. Darcy so deficient in the appearance of it as you used to do."

  • Jane, contrary to all of Meryton, never found fault with Darcy.

"And yet I meant to be uncommonly clever in taking so decided a dislike to him, without any reason. It is such a spur to one's genius, such an opening for wit, to have a dislike of that kind. One may be continually abusive without saying anything just; but one cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty."

  • Attitude of cleverness parts with the reason.
  • Cleverness likes dislike.
  • An extraordinary ability, even dislike, can rise to levels of genius when energy is supplied.
  • Rationality is balance, supplies no energy.
  • Dislike, as liking, is a source of energy.
  • A sudden supply of energy opens the wit.
  • Abuse is powerful, can supply its own energy.
  • Speed, energy, dynamism can reach their own high points.
  • Wit makes the mind resourceful and resourcefulness supplies energy.
  • Hence the importance of the human choice.
  • Choice takes sides.
  • Attitudes like dislike can rise in intensity.
  • One performs and then rationalizes.
  • It is the usual rationalization available.
  • Rationality, the choice to be rational, before the performance is not heard of.
  • “It is a spur to one’s genius”. The genius in one can find expression by a deep liking of some one or a dislike
  • The wit in one finds a release when one laughs at another

"Lizzy, when you first read that letter, I am sure you could not treat the matter as you do now."

  • The first reading made no sense either way.
  • Prejudice leads to bitterness is the central theme of the story
  • Jane sees life’s warning of hasty ill will as it happened with Elizabeth with Darcy about Wickham. This is her central personality. She gets reinforcement for her attitude

"Indeed, I could not. I was uncomfortable enough. I was very uncomfortable. I may say unhappy. And with no one to speak to of what I felt, no Jane to comfort me and say that I had not been so very weak and vain and nonsensical as I knew I had! Oh! How I wanted you!"

  • Uncomfortable feeling can lead to unhappiness.
  • Stirring energies make one uncomfortable. Accepting that view settles into the emotion of unhappiness.
  • Jane is an essential part of her emotional existence.

"How unfortunate that you should have used such very strong expressions in speaking of Wickham to Mr. Darcy, for now they do appear wholly undeserved."


"Certainly. But the misfortune of speaking with bitterness is a most natural consequence of the prejudices I had been encouraging. There is one point on which I want your advice. I want to be told whether I ought, or ought not, to make our acquaintance in general understand Wickham's character."

  • Whether one should expose a bad character like Wickham is a broad question. Here we see the girls have refrained from exposing him out of feminine tenderness for falsehood. One gets the result for his attitude

40 elizabeth Pride and Prejudice

Miss Bennet paused a little and then replied, "Surely there can be no occasion for exposing him so dreadfully. What is your own opinion?"

  • Jane as well as Elizabeth easily discover reasons not to expose Wickham.
  • Under no circumstance will they expose him.

"That it ought not to be attempted. Mr. Darcy has not authorised me to make his communication public. On the contrary, every particular relative to his sister was meant to be kept as much as possible to myself; and if I endeavour to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me? The general prejudice against Mr. Darcy is so violent, that it would be the death of half the good people in Meryton to attempt to place him in an amiable light. I am not equal to it. Wickham will soon be gone; and therefore it will not signify to anybody here what he really is. Some time hence it will be all found out, and then we may laugh at their stupidity in not knowing it before. At present I will say nothing about it."

  • Liking, whether of a man or woman, leader or boss or friend stands in the way of public exposure.
  • Those who study human nature can examine one placed in such a position. On any showing, he will end up with the idea of not exposing.
  • Consider the context of self-exposure.
  • No one will consider it.
  • If anyone does consider it, he will end up exposing another.
  • Self-criticism, past consecration, reversal of oneself are not elements of human nature.
  • One like Wickham will not be exposed till the entire tide turns against him.
  • Even in Meryton very few people would remember his past now that he was married.
  • Except those who were personally aggrieved, no one would speak out.
  • Between men and women, whether the scoundrel is a man or woman, even the violated woman will not make a grievance of it.
  • “Greek Tragedy” is a Holmes story.
  • A man murders a brother of his love.
  • After the murder, the woman says she would do anything for him.
  • Liking does not hurt.
  • It is an occasion to serve one’s own falsehood.

"You are quite right. To have his errors made public might ruin him for ever. He is now, perhaps, sorry for what he has done, and anxious to re-establish a character. We must not make him desperate."


The tumult of Elizabeth's mind was allayed by this conversation. She had got rid of two of the secrets which had weighed on her for a fortnight, and was certain of a willing listener in Jane, whenever she might wish to talk again on either. But there was still something lurking behind, of which prudence forbad the disclosure. She dared not relate the other half of Mr. Darcy's letter, nor explain to her sister how sincerely she had been valued by his friend. Here was knowledge in which no one could partake; and she was sensible that nothing less than a perfect understanding between the parties could justify her in throwing off this last incumbrance of mystery. "And then," said she, "if that very improbable event should ever take place, I shall merely be able to tell what Bingley may tell in a much more agreeable manner himself. The liberty of communication cannot be mine till it has lost all its value!"

  • The decision to protect falsehood comforts.
  • Jane is not only a willing listener, but listens without serious contradiction.
  • She could not inform Jane about Bingley as it raises hopes without ensuring their fulfillment.
  • Also, Darcy’s ruse would have to be told. She cannot do it.
  • Later, Bingley who admitted his ignorance of her stay in London omitted to mention Darcy’s role.
  • The suppression of this ruse is necessary to preserve the regard of Jane for Darcy even though she might pardon him.
  • Revelation will remove the flavour of the regard.
  • At each level of accomplishment, there are minor or insignificant acts that accomplish or by omitting they accomplish.
  • More than doing the right thing, NOT doing the wrong thing needs greater wisdom.
  • Lifelong joy of a man, accomplishing a global project often depends on such a thing.
  • Edwina thus accomplished Indian freedom.
  • Nehru thus created the loss of Kashmir.
  • The development of Indian Freedom from 1910 to 1947 has such landmarks at every turning point.
  • He who sees such details in any problem will become the master at that level.
  • Now that Elizabeth unburdened herself, the tumult of her mind was allayed. Had she decided to expose Wickham it would have been powerfully disturbed and the social cataclysm of elopement would not have been there

She was now, on being settled at home, at leisure to observe the real state of her sister's spirits. Jane was not happy. She still cherished a very tender affection for Bingley. Having never even fancied herself in love before, her regard had all the warmth of first attachment, and, from her age and disposition, greater steadiness than first attachments often boast; and so fervently did she value his remembrance, and prefer him to every other man, that all her good sense, and all her attention to the feelings of her friends, were requisite to check the indulgence of those regrets which must have been injurious to her own health and their tranquillity.

  • Secret and Sensitivity: Elizabeth withholds the news that Bingley values Jane and only Darcy stopped the relations. In this is she insincere to Jane or is she sensitive to her? As everywhere, it depends on the attitude not the propriety
  • One’s sensibility must be honoured. Otherwise injury done once remains forever

"Well, Lizzy," said Mrs. Bennet one day, "what is your opinion now of this sad business of Jane's? For my part, I am determined never to speak of it again to anybody. I told my sister Philips so the other day. But I cannot find out that Jane saw anything of him in London. Well, he is a very undeserving young man -- and I do not suppose there is the least chance in the world of her ever getting him now. There is no talk of his coming to Netherfield again in the summer; and I have inquired of everybody, too, who is likely to know."

  • Mrs. Bennet is one who opens up these wounds and destroys any remaining possibility.
  • Once Mrs. Bennet enters the picture, accomplishment waits for her to exhaust all her resources.
  • The woman is at a disadvantage in a marriage alliance. She has to wait for the man to propose. The weak party in a negotiation is like a woman. Mrs. Bennet speaks of Jane dying of a broken heart. Jane does not think so. She holds on to her position and expects no one to help her. From her point of view she exhausts her energy positively through appropriate values. The energy acting through values becomes spiritual energies. Exhausting them positively accomplishes the work
  • The conversation on this page, as everywhere else, fully describes the level of Mrs. Bennet’s mind. This is her intellectual maximum
  • That she is ashamed of the entail is a complete lie. Her own marriage belies it

40 mrs bennet Pride and Prejudice

"I do not believe that he will ever live at Netherfield any more."


"Oh, well! It is just as he chooses. Nobody wants him to come. Though I shall always say that he used my daughter extremely ill; and if I was her, I would not have put up with it. Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart; and then he will be sorry for what he has done."


But as Elizabeth could not receive comfort from any such expectation, she made no answer.


"Well, Lizzy," continued her mother, soon afterwards, "and so the Collinses live very comfortable, do they? Well, well, I only hope it will last. And what sort of table do they keep? Charlotte is an excellent manager, I dare say. If she is half as sharp as her mother, she is saving enough. There is nothing extravagant in their housekeeping, I dare say."


"No, nothing at all."


"A great deal of good management, depend upon it. Yes, yes. They will take care not to outrun their income. They will never be distressed for money. Well, much good may it do them! And so, I suppose, they often talk of having Longbourn when your father is dead. They look upon it quite as their own, I dare say, whenever that happens.

  • Mrs. Bennet dwells on the entail like that.
  • On this page she is again on the entail.

"It was a subject which they could not mention before me."

  • Darcy’s second proposal waits for Collins’ letter on Darcy.

"No; it would have been strange if they had: but I make no doubt they often talk of it between themselves. Well, if they can be easy with an estate that is not lawfully their own, so much the better. I should be ashamed of having one that was only entailed on me."

  • When Pemberley enters by one door the entail, Mrs. Bennet’s wailing on the entail, he who represents the entail, must leave through the other door.
  • Events are so arranged that the one that enters demands another to enter with it and quit the place.

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