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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

Darcy surprises Elizabeth alone when he makes a morning visit to the parsonage. Their conversation is about Bingley's returning or not returning to Netherfield, and it is awkward. Charlotte, finding him there, thinks he must really be in love with Elizabeth. But when she looks for signs, she can't find them. His gaze is often fixed on Elizabeth but it does not seem to be an admiring one. The truth is that Darcy is troubled and doesn't know what to do about his feelings for Elizabeth.



CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

Darcy persists in his peculiar behavior. He often joins Elizabeth on her walks, but then he seems to have little to say. From Fitzwilliam she learns that Darcy keeps postponing their departure.

Fitzwilliam is clearly attracted to her, but he explains, somewhat in apology, that a younger son cannot marry whom he chooses. (He has to find a wife with more money than Elizabeth has.)

She mentions Darcy's sister, and Fitzwilliam tells her that he shares the guardianship of Georgiana with Darcy. She asks an idle question about whether the young girl gives her guardians much trouble. To her surprise, this evokes an anxious response from him.

Had Elizabeth heard any rumor of the kind? No, says Elizabeth, but his reaction suggests that her chance reference to trouble may have come close to the truth.

Then Fitzwilliam unwittingly tells Elizabeth something she is not supposed to know. He says that Darcy recently saved a friend from an unwise attachment. There was no criticism of the young lady, he understands, only of her family.

Elizabeth is sure that the friend he refers to is Bingley, the young lady is Jane, and the family is her own. Her suspicion has been confirmed: Darcy deliberately came between Bingley and Jane. Her anger rises. Back in the parsonage, she bursts into tears, and this brings on a headache. The last person she wishes to see is Darcy, and she has been invited to tea at Rosings. She claims to be ill and begs to be excused.

NOTE: At this point all comedy has now been put aside. The story has taken a dramatic turn.

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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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