Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

December 7, 2009

I Love Jane Austen

I am re-reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice before I go to bed each night, and this passage reminded me of why I adore Jane Austen. This is from the part where the level-headed Elizabeth Bennet rejects the proposal of Mr. Collins, who is the man to inherit her family's estate - and though he is well-meaning - he really is an obsequious, silly, and nonsensical man.

Chapter 19

"Your portion is unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females."

"I do assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man. I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible. My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart."

"You are uniformly charming!" cried he, with an air of awkward gallantry; "and I am persuaded that when sanctioned by the express authority of both your excellent parents, my proposals will not fail of being acceptable."

To such perseverance in wilful self-deception Elizabeth would make no reply, and immediately and in silence withdrew; determined, if he persisted in considering her repeated refusals as flattering encouragement, to apply to her father, whose negative might be uttered in such a manner as to be decisive, and whose behavior at least could not be mistaken for the affectation and coquetry of an elegant female.
I love it!! Elizabeth Bennet is indeed a rational creature, and Mr. Collins completely irrational. And isn't it funny how you see the male/female misunderstandings? How many of us know the girl who plays hard to get? The one that every guy wants to date because she is the one he simply cannot have? Yes, human nature is funny...and Jane Austen makes it so much fun to read about!!

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