How to Trust (Pride and Prejudice Vol III, Ch 5)

One thing I’ve noticed with this book is that, besides playing with irony, Austen loves to get our hopes up, only to smash them to smithereens.  We have constantly seen Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy be set up in the most perfect ways, only for everything to suddenly and swiftly go downhill.  I think that, in the chapters we have just read, that Austen provides this scenario not to pull the two apart, but bring them closer together.

I thought it was pretty strange that Lizzy’s family was able to just pop in to someone’s residence, but a little bit of research revealed that most people could do that if they arranged it properly, and would be able to snoop around the lands of their wealthy family of choice.  After a strange turn of events, Lizzy and Darcy are back in love, and as soon as it seems that Darcy might ask her a very important question, things, once again, go downhill.

She burst into tears as she alluded to it, and for a few minutes could not speak another word… At length, she spoke again, “I have just received a letter from Jane, which such dreadful news… My youngest sister… has eloped; has thrust herself into the power of –of Mr. Wickham… You know him too well to doubt the rest.  She has no money, no connections, nothing that can tempt him to – she is lost forever…When I consider… that I might have prevented it! – I who knew what he was… but explained some part of it only… to my own family! Had his character been known, this could not have happened. But it is all, all too late now.”

During this speech by Lizzy, she reveals something about her relationship with Darcy and creates something.  First of all, the fact that she said anything at all to him shows that, to some extent, she trusted him.  He obviously recognized that she trusted him, and this brought their relationship a step up.  She also knows that he was not too pleased with her family, and this was a huge scandal.  She trusted him enough to know that he would take care of this sensitive information, and be happy that she shared it with him.  Although Lizzy has her doubts about whether or not he will be okay with this, I think that Darcy will still love Lizzy all the same.

Lizzy also created a bond between herself and Darcy by telling him this.  Not only does she trust him, but by telling him sensitive family information, she is showing him that she sees him as part of her family, even if she herself does not realize this.  Darcy, on the other hand, must be able to plainly see this, and has the option now of either accepting the invitation to be a closer friend to her, or leave.  I think he will pick the first option.

Although Austen creates this scenario to make it look like things are going downhill, I believe that, in fact, things are going quite well, and this event marks the growth of Lizzy and Darcy’s relationship.

-Paulie 🙂

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