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Charles Bingley Quotes

From that moment I observed my friend’s behavior attentively; and I could then perceive that his partiality for Miss Bennet was beyond what I had ever witnessed in him. Your sister I also watched. Her look and manners were open, cheerful, and engaging as ever, but without any symptom of peculiar regard; and I remained convinced from the evening’s scrutiny, that though she received his attentions with pleasure, she did not invite them by participation of sentiment. If you have not been mistaken here, I must have been in an error. Your superior knowledge of your sister must make the latter probable. If it be so, if I have been misled by such error to inflict pain on her, your resentment has not been unreasonable. But I shall not scruple to assert that the serenity of your sister’s countenance and air was such as might have given the most acute observer a conviction that, however amiable her temper, her heart was not likely to be easily touched. That I was desirous of believing her indifferent is certain; but I will venture to say that my investigations and decisions are not usually influenced by my hopes or fears. I did not believe her to be indifferent because I wished it; I believed it on impartial conviction, as truly as I wished it in reason.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 35. Darcy in his letter to Elizabeth explains his part in the breakup of Jane and his friend Charles Bingley. He states that he believed Jane did not love Bingley – he interpreted Jane’s reserve as indifference as a lack of love. He now admits that his first impressions of Jane were mistaken.

They shook hands with great cordiality; and then till her sister came down, she had to listen to all he had to say, of his own happiness, and of Jane’s perfections; and in spite of his being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity, to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 55. Charles Bingley asks for Elizabeth’s best wishes on his engagement to Jane. Elizabeth is happy for both of them. She believes that Bingley’s hopes of their happiness together is based not just on love, but on reason also. She refers to their compatibility, shared tastes and Jane’s "super-excellent" temperment. Elizabeth has learned the lesson of the dangers of a marriage based solely on passion from the disastrous example of her young sister Lydia’s blind infatuation for Wickham. Elizabeth also doesn’t share Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s view on marriage, that it should be arranged within your class to promote the material prosperity of the families, with no regard to the individuals involved. We gain this insight into the aristocratic lady’s thinking on marriage in the next chapter in the famous battle of wills between her and Elizabeth. For Elizabeth a good marriage is best achieved with a mix of love and reason. This very considered view on love and marriage is what makes Jane Austen so much more than a simple romance novel writer. She satirizes the conventional romantic novel, exposing the risks of "love at first sight" and promoting a love that grows from a knowledge of the other’s character.
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