The Fact Is That You Were Sick of Civility

Elizabeth’s spirits soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. “How could you begin?” said she. “I can comprehend your going on charmingly when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?”

“I cannot fix the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew I had begun.”

“My beauty you had early withstood, and as for my manners — my behaviour to you was at least always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you pain than not. Now be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence?”

“For the liveliness of your mind, I did.”

“You may as well call it impertinence at once. It was very little less. The fact is that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking and looking and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused and interested you because I was so unlike them. Had you not been really amiable, you would have hated me for it; but in spite of the pains you took to disguise yourself, your feelings were also noble and just, and in your heart you thoroughly despised the persons who so assiduously courted you.”

– Jane Austen

{From the penultimate chapter of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ Lizzy and Darcy look back on how they got where they are. I love this conversation. Although, note this: Lizzy says all the things that she (and all high-spirited women) want to be true about intelligent ment – they love women that challenge them. And Darcy never contridicts them, but he never agrees with them either. He only really talks about the events of the last week. Why, do you think?}

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3 responses

  1. Because Mr. Darcy is 1) directed that way by Elizabeth herself, as he does once speak of how she attended upon Jane at Netherfield, 2) still a little unsure how to respond to some of Elizabeth's "impertinent" speeches, and 3) a smart man. (And yes, I did look up the chapter just now. And no, it is not the proper time of day to be doing such things.)

  2. Oh, Mr. Darcy.That's all I have to say.

  3. Good point. I forget sometimes just how shy Darcy is, and how unused he is to dealing with people like Elizabeth, which is one of her points.

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