Summary: Prejudice meets pride when middle-class Elizabeth Bennet encounters well-to-do Mr. Darcy, a dashing young man who has come into town accompanying Meryton newcomer Mr. Bingly. He (Mr. Darcy, not Mr. Bingly) is stiff and haughty but eventually falls in love with sassy Lizzie. She hates him passionately but soon realizes that she might be having feelings (other than disgust) for him, too. But will Mr. Darcy get over his pride and humble himself enough to really woo her? Will Miss Bennet overcome her prejudice and just let Mr. Darcy love her? Yes. No. Maybe.
After countless attempts of reading and of only being able make it through to Chapter 2, I was finally able to finish this book through and through. It was the pacing and the prose that made me want to surrender. I felt that the story moved too slowly. And there was too much conversing. Sometimes I didn’t know who was speaking; sometimes I didn’t know who were the people actually present in the scene.
But because I wanted to know why this book made so many women sigh and swoon, I trudged on diligently until I got to the 61st chapter — until I got to the very end.
I must say, despite having to “trudge through”, I liked the book. Very much.
Favourite lines (some spoilers are up ahead):
The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news. (Chapter 1, on Mrs. Bennet)
He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again. (Chapter 3, on Mr. Darcy)
“That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy.” (Chapter 6)
“But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out.” (Chapter 6)
He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention. (Chapter 11, Mr. Darcy falls in love)
Mr. Darcy corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on Elizabeth, when they were suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger. (Chapter 15, Haha! I am Team Darcy!)
He had ruined for a while every hope of happiness for the most affectionate, generous heart in the world; and no one could say how lasting an evil he might inflicted. (Chapter 33, one of Elizabeth’s prejudices against Mr. Darcy)
“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (Chapter 34, Mr. Darcy makes his confession. And all the women swoon.)
She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. (Chapter 50, Ayii!)
There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects. (Chapter 58)
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 was too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” (Chapter 60)
“I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” There you go. Sigh. Swoon.
If you have the patience for classics, read it and fall in love all over again.