Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet Quotes
"And your defect is to hate everybody."
"And yours," he replied with a smile, "is willfully to misunderstand them." (11.30-32)
Lizzy thinks that Darcy hates everyone; Darcy thinks Lizzy purposefully doesn't understand them. Who's the worse communicator?
"I will answer for it, he never cared three straws about her—who could about such a nasty little freckled thing?"
Elizabeth was shocked to think that, however incapable of such coarseness of expression herself, the coarseness of the sentiment was little other than her own breast had harboured and fancied liberal! (39.13-15)
This is a really great moment, pointing out how that Lydia isn't some kind of totally alien outsider in her family. She's more like their irrepressible id, the side of all of them that's is interested in comfort, pleasure, food, and sex. It's not that Lydia thinks differently than others; it's just that she actually says what she's thinking. The girl just talks with no filter.
"Yes, very different. But I think Mr. Darcy improves upon acquaintance."
"Indeed!" cried Mr. Wickham with a look which did not escape her. "And pray, may I ask?—" But checking himself, he added, in a gayer tone, "Is it in address that he improves? Has he deigned to add aught of civility to his ordinary style?—for I dare not hope," he continued in a lower and more serious tone, "that he is improved in essentials."
"Oh, no!" said Elizabeth. "In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was. […] When I said that he improved on acquaintance, I did not mean that his mind or his manners were in a state of improvement, but that, from knowing him better, his disposition was better understood."
Wickham's alarm now appeared in a heightened complexion and agitated look. (41.33-38)
We hear you. What about this totally innocent conversation could possibly make Wickham freak out? Well, with so many rules about how and what one person can say to another in public, just a slight shift away from the standard is enough to convey a whole bunch of extra meaning—like, "I know you're a liar and a cheat."