Mr. Darcy Quotes

Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3. This describes the reaction to Fitzwilliam Darcy and his friend Charles Bingley at the Meryton ball, attended by the Bennet sisters and their mother. Aside from Darcy’s handsome looks, what makes a big impression on the ballgoers is that he is wealthy and worth ten thousand pounds a year. But very quickly they make up their minds from Darcy’s manner that he is insufferably proud and behaves as if he is superior to those around him. From the start they develop a dislike of and a prejudice against him. He is "unworthy" to be compared to his friend Charles Bingley, they decide. Darcy is believed to be partly based on Irish politician and lawyer Thomas Lefroy, who had a flirtation and spent some time with Jane Austen during a break from studying law. Austen’s lack of wealth is believed to have played a part in the pair not ending up together. After Lefroy died in 1869 one of his nephews wrote to Austen’s nephew James Edward Austen Leigh to say: "My late venerable uncle…said in so many words that he was in love with her, although he qualified his confession by saying it was a boyish love."

Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6. Elizabeth may not have been handsome enough for Mr. Darcy to dance with at the Meryton ball, where he found her appearance just "tolerable." But now he sees Elizabeth in a new light as she and Jane spend more time with the residents of Netherfield. Observing Elizabeth close up, Darcy develops an attraction for her, despite having said earlier that she lacked the manners of his class. Now he finds himself drawn to her intelligent expression, her beautiful dark eyes, her pleasing figure and her playful personality. Darcy is mortified by his discovery, because it injures his pride – at the Meryton assembly he was "above his company, and above being pleased." Elizabeth is fully aware of his attentions, but to her he is still the disagreeable man who didn’t think she was attractive enough to dance with.