There are those among us that could recite the so-called Hunsford Proposal—dismal and pathetic as it might have been—verbatim and with great flare. Mr. Darcy’s declaration of love is etched into our souls. Scenes from our favorite film adaptations—every raised brow, every clenched fist, and heaving breast—are easily recalled.
My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
At this juncture of Austen’s novel, Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet are yet at odds with one another. Although he is besotted with the young lady, Mr. Darcy can’t see beyond his pride. His sense of Miss Bennet’s “inferiority,” her family connections and other obstacles are degrading in his view. Still, he feels strongly enough to forge ahead with the alliance and is certain that the lady will throw herself at his feet! However, our dear girl does nothing of the sort.
Although Lizzy’s reaction is in keeping with the insulting proposal, her own view of the gentleman is not without fault. Her sense of pride has been wounded since she overheard Mr. Darcy’s first words at the Meryton assembly and his unexpected declaration only served to further sanction her ire.
Austen’s work is often characterized as lovesick fiddle-faddle; however, the truth of the matter is the author is more a sociologist than romance novelist. What happens after the failed Hunsford proposal can only be called brilliant, because it is here, where Austen’s sharp observations of the highs and lows of human nature come into play. And when our dear couple finally find themselves thrown together once again, the results are as satisfying as a resolving chord after several measures of dissonance and tension.
My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”
In my J.A.F.F, The Meyersons of Meryton, I introduce a new family to the Bennets of Longbourn. Thanks to his alliance with Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Moses Montefiore and his brother-in-law, Mr. Nathaniel Rothschild, Rabbi Meyerson comes to Hertfordshire to establish a synagogue for the small Jewish community. But there is more to the story as the good rabbi is withholding some important facts. His dear wife will be shocked at his disclosure. The Bennet family will also have to deal with the consequences—none more so than Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
Their wedding is postponed, and the unexpected (and undesired) arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Wickham causes the anxious bride to have more than her fair share of the jitters. The following scene finds Elizabeth sharing her troubling thoughts with her betrothed.
“What is the matter, Elizabeth? You have not been yourself. Pray, tell me, what have I done?”
She winced at his concern, feeling penitent and undeserving. Still, she owed him some reply. “You have done nothing, sir. I feel…that is to say—I feel that I am ill prepared, Mr. Darcy.”
“Are we back to mister, again?” he whispered.
His sweet murmuring sent shivers down her spine, but she hardened herself and would not succumb to his charm. “A woman has so few opportunities to decide for herself, Mr. Darcy. Pray allow me to reconcile my doubts. A woman ought not to enter the matrimonial state half-heartedly.”
“I was not expecting such a practiced homily, certainly not at a time such as this.”
“I am my mother’s daughter,” she said, lifting her chin with a decisive flair. “I am outspoken and given to fits of impertinence—and well you know it. You witnessed my unpardonable display with Lydia, did you not? Lady Catherine accused me of being lost to every feeling of propriety and delicacy. Perhaps she was right.”
“Good God, Elizabeth! What does my aunt have to do with any of this?”
“Under the circumstances, one cannot help but be sensible to the lady’s objections. Already you have had to intercede on my family’s behalf, thanks to Lydia’s passionate and foolish nature. Now our wedding must be postponed due to my father’s involvement in espionage and heaven knows what. In reviewing my own behavior, I cannot help but find myself wanting of those talents which, surely, Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley should possess. Seen in this prodigious light, can you not acknowledge that Lady Catherine might have good reason to object to your connection to Longbourn?”
Is that our dear girl? Is that the Lizzy we’ve grown to know and love? Some readers have found the protagonist of my variation to be untrue to Austen’s vision. In my defense, I can only say that I followed Austen’s example of observation and delved a bit deeper into this beloved character. We know Elizabeth Bennet enjoys long walks and appreciates nature. She is lively and a brilliant conversationalist. Unfortunately, she is also a bit proud and not a little prejudice in her own right. And under certain, dire circumstances, Miss Elizabeth Bennet can be riddled with a common, ugly human flaw: self doubt.
In keeping with Pride and Prejudice, a series of events take place that find our dear couple thrown together after a brief separation. Much like Austen, I created a scene where Mr. Darcy bares his soul—again. But this time Elizabeth believes.
I hope you enjoyed the post and take a chance on The Meyersons of Meryton! If you like the video, please give it a thumbs up on YouTube. Until next time~