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We can’t help but wonder along with Elizabeth, who “had never been blind to the impropriety of her father's behaviour as a husband,” if Mrs. Even Elizabeth, as much as she loves her father and as much as he respects her, admits she “could not have formed a very pleasing opinion of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort” based on her parents’ marriage.But once her pride subsides, she recognizes the truth and the validity of Darcy’s concerns.
Like Elizabeth, but for different reasons, I’m fortunate that my first impressions of the man who would become my husband were wrong, too. We never looked back (as I have written about here).
When as a Lydia Bennet-esque college freshman, I first spotted the man, marriage was far from my mind—and he appeared to be someone who might regard it the same way. You Can Judge a Man by the Size of His Library In Austen’s world, size matters. While stuck at Netherfield because her sister has fallen ill there, the hospitable Mr.
But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley." Indeed.
In the provincial world of Austen’s novels, small-mindedness is among the greatest of personal and social follies, for which an expansive library serves as a counterbalance.
Bingley offers Elizabeth access to his books, to “all that his library afforded.” Elizabeth assures him she is content with what she has.
He admits, “I wish my collection were larger for your benefit and my own credit; but I am an idle fellow, and though I have not many, I have more than I ever looked into."Then coy Miss Bingley attempts to converse with Darcy while he is engaged in reading.But Darcy has recognized, wisely, that he is marrying into a family and he does so with open eyes and readiness—as much as that is possible—to accept that fact of life.Indeed, my own “happily ever after” has, after many years, come to mean a household that includes my aging parents.What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Later, after Elizabeth has shed her initial false impressions about Darcy, she recollects the evolution of her feelings toward him.She explains that her love for Darcy “has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began.As a satirist, even if a gentle one, Austen offers rather unromantic corrections to vices and foibles, many of which range far beyond the surface themes of love and marriage. These two illustrate magnificently by negative example just how crucial respect for one another is to marital bliss. The first half of the novel is an accumulation of false impressions, particularly Elizabeth’s misperceptions (leading to the titular prejudice) about the seemingly, titularly, proud Darcy.Indeed, like most early novels, Austen’s contend with the seismic social shifts birthed by modernity, particularly the rise of the individual. Ironically, Elizabeth’s confident assessment of Mr. Darcy as proud stems greatly from her own pride in her keen, but not infallible, perceptiveness.Darcy’s fetching library serves as metaphor for a variety of qualities in a marriage partner today which might counteract contemporary excesses and limitations: broad-mindedness in an age of identity politics and narrow partisanship, integrity in an era of brutal pragmatism, strong work ethic in a culture of shortcuts, steadiness in a swirl of passing fancies.While countless other qualities might substitute for those represented by Darcy’s library, these attracted me to my husband and have deepened my love for him more over the years. Bennet married, we learn later, out of youthful imprudence and passion.Darcy’s objections to the marriage between his friend Bingley and Elizabeth’s sister Jane, he explains in the letter, owed “to that total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed by [Mrs.Bennet], by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father. It pains me to offend you.” It does offend Elizabeth—at first.