Skep's Place


Chapter 11: A Little Too Much Ado About Books

The following evening, Jane is finally well enough to hang out with everybody, and she and Mr. Bingley pretty much spend the whole time just talking to each other. Mr. Hurst, meanwhile, continues not being a character by falling asleep on the couch after discovering nobody wants to play cards.

Everybody else takes up reading for the evening. This is something Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy would do naturally; Miss Bingley, however, only picks up a book because Mr. Darcy does, and even then she takes Part 2 to whatever Darcy is reading.

a picture of Miss Bingley

Miss Caroline Bingley

After an exaggerated production from Miss Bingley extolling her great love of reading—which ultimately gets zero likes—she gets bored and starts meandering around the room, wagging her hips and trying to get Mr. Darcy's attention. Again, this fails to impress; desperate now, Miss Bingley asks Elizabeth to join her stroll. Elizabeth agrees, and this does get Darcy to look up at them. Eventually, he too is asked to join them on their walk; but he declines, saying there's no benefit to him doing so. Despite Elizabeth telling Miss Bingley not to indulge him, the latter's curiosity wins out. Elaborating, Mr Darcy points out that there's only two reasons for them to be strutting around the room like idiots: either they're sharing secrets, in which case he would just get in the way; or they're trying to show off that feminine swagger, in which case he has a much better view from where he's seated.

Miss Bingley wonders to Elizabeth how they should repay Mr. Darcy for such uncouth language; Elizabeth suggests teasing him right back, but Miss Bingley insists that poking fun at a man of Mr. Darcy's temperament can't be done. Elizabeth laments this; she loves to laugh at people.

Mr. Darcy tries to assure her that anybody looking for a joke can find one. Elizabeth rejects this, saying that it's only good sport to make fun of silly people who deserve it; however, Darcy doesn't have any particularly funny flaws. Although she does crack a smile when Mr. Darcy later boasts that pride isn't a flaw when it's earned.

Miss Bingley starts to get annoyed at not being part of the conversation, and asks Elizabeth what she has determined about Mr. Darcy's character. Elizabeth replies, he says he's perfect, so I guess he's perfect.

To this, Mr. Darcy says he made no such claim. He admits that, in fact, he's the kind of guy who will hold a grudge forever if he's crossed. Elizabeth recognizes that this a valid character flaw, but still not a particularly funny one, so she's still helpless to pick on him. Mr. Darcy then posits that every person has some character defect that they can never truly overcome.

"Such as how you dislike everybody?" asks Elizabeth.

"And like how you misunderstand everybody," replies Darcy.

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