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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

Comedy is again the mood as the scene unfolds at Rosings. The manor house is grand without being tasteful. Pale, shy little Miss de Bourgh can scarcely utter a word. Lady Catherine talks steadily in a loud, aggressive voice. Her questions about Elizabeth's family, her sisters, their education or lack of it, are just short of offensive. She criticizes, advises, passes judgment. Elizabeth takes it all in good spirit; she is too amused to be offended. Lady Catherine is as ridiculous in her way as Mr. Collins is in his. We may wonder what Darcy thinks of his aunt.



CHAPTER THIRTY

Sir William leaves, and Elizabeth and Maria remain. Elizabeth enjoys her hours of quiet companionship with Charlotte and her long, solitary walks in Rosings park.

The visit is suddenly enlivened by the arrival of Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, who have come to visit their aunt. With no loss of time, the two gentlemen call on Charlotte and Elizabeth at the parsonage. Charlotte shrewdly observes that this promptness is a tribute to Elizabeth. The pace quickens, with a promise of surprises to come.

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

The scene is an evening at Rosings. Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam engage in lively conversation. Darcy listens, but Lady Catherine interrupts, wanting to know what they are talking about and insisting on being included. This effectively halts the conversation. Elizabeth is asked to play and sing. She does, and Darcy comes close, charmed by her unaffected performance. Lady Catherine criticizes Elizabeth's playing and tells her she should practice more. Elizabeth, watching carefully, can see no evidence that Darcy is interested in little Miss de Bourgh.

NOTE: The reader, of course, knows that Darcy is really interested in Elizabeth, and the way he is now behaving toward her suggests that his interest may soon lead to action.

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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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