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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 43

Summary

As she arrives at Pemberley with the Gardiners, Elizabeth is thoroughly enchanted by the architecture and surrounding natural beauty of the place. For a moment she thinks it would be pleasant to be the mistress of Pemberley. They are greeted by the housekeeper, who shows them around; Elizabeth is impressed with all she sees. She also listens carefully to the housekeeper who generously praises Darcy as a sweet-tempered and benevolent young man. She claims he is an excellent landlord, unselfish, kind, and humane; she also explains that he is a devoted brother to his sister. Elizabeth momentarily feels sorry for having rebuffed Darcy. Then she thinks about his letter and his criticism of her ‘low’ relations, which make her angry again.

The tour of the house is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Darcy. Elizabeth is a bundle of nerves because she does not want Darcy to think that she has thrown herself in his way. He, however, seems calm and unaffected by her presence even though he speaks kindly to her. Elizabeth, after regaining her composure, introduces Darcy to the Gardiners; she cannot suppress her pleasure in showing him that some members of her family are intelligent and sensible. Darcy, showing no signs of his previous arrogance, is very cordial to the Gardiners; he even invites Mr. Gardiner to fish in his stream. He then suggests that Elizabeth meet his sister.


The Gardiners find the charming Darcy far from being an insolent and disagreeable man; they tell Elizabeth that they are amazed that he could have been cruel to Wickham. Without disclosing the source of her information, Elizabeth exonerates Darcy by telling the truth that she has learned from Darcy. It is obvious that Elizabeth is becoming less prejudiced. She spends the rest of the day thinking about Darcy and his sister, Georgiana.

Notes

Elizabeth’s visit to Pemberley is contrived by the author for several purposes. First, it creates a sense of wonder in Elizabeth for Darcy. She finds everything about Pemberley - the architecture, the grounds, the furnishings, to be lovely; she realizes that the home is a clear expression of Darcy’s taste and wealth. She is also struck by Pemberley’s grandeur and feels "that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!" Elizabeth is becoming less prejudiced! Secondly, at Pemberley, Elizabeth hears all kinds of good things about Darcy, which begin to color her thinking. The housekeeper reveals that he is a kind and generous landlord, a devoted brother, and a promising and unselfish young man. Elizabeth realizes that this is a very different picture of the arrogant man that she has rejected. Thirdly, Elizabeth’s visit puts her into direct contact with Darcy again. The accidental encounter embarrasses Elizabeth because she is aware of the "impropriety of her being found there". But, Darcy puts her at ease and is very cordial with the Gardiners. Elizabeth is wonder-struck at his kind and gentlemanly behavior. She is further impressed when her aunt and uncle, people of good sense, reveal that they really like Darcy.

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