Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet Quotes
"How despicably I have acted!" she cried; "I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable mistrust! How humiliating is this discovery! Yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind! But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself." (36.10)
Ouch. Who needs enemies when you've got yourself for a friend? Here, Lizzy berates herself for her "vanity"—not the vanity of thinking she's hot stuff or anything, but the vanity of thinking that she's actually a good judge of character (her "discernment"). Instead, she's been swayed by Wickham's pretty face and his flirty attentions.
"I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me. […] Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude," replied Elizabeth, "have any possible claim on me, in the present instance. No principle of either would be violated by my marriage with Mr. Darcy. And with regard to the resentment of his family, or the indignation of the world, if the former were excited by his marrying me, it would not give me one moment's concern—and the world in general would have too much sense to join in the scorn." (56.64-69)
Elizabeth doesn't use the word "pride" here, but that's exactly what she's talking about: acting in a way that's consistent with her own (high) opinion of herself. And that's got to be a good feeling.
"I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its being created."
"I am," said he, with a firm voice.
"And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?"
"I hope not." (18.28-30)
Well, this isn't actually true. But we have to say, Darcy might just be the least prejudiced person in the novel. Sure, he doesn't take to Lizzy immediately—but he's definitely right about her family being complete fools.