Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Chapter 32 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
But why Mr. Darcy came so often to the Parsonage, it was more difficult to understand. It could not be for society, as he frequently sat there ten minutes together without opening his lips; and when he did speak, it seemed the effect of necessity rather than of choice—a sacrifice to propriety, not a pleasure to himself. He seldom appeared really animated. (32.29)
Mr. Darcy is actually taking Lizzy's advice here and practicing talking to people he doesn't know well. (It doesn't seem to be going very well.) But she's so convinced that he's an arrogant jerk, she doesn't even see what he's doing.
"I certainly have not the talent which some people possess," said Darcy, "of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done."
"My fingers," said Elizabeth, "do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault—because I will not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution."
Darcy smiled and said, "You are perfectly right. You have employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you can think anything wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers." (32.24-26)
Here is another one of these philosophical conundrums. How much effort should a person make to be pleasant to strangers? Shouldn't it just be enough (like Darcy thinks) to do lots of good things and not worry too much about outward appearances and being a polite human?