Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Chapter 56 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
"In marrying your nephew, I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter; so far we are equal." (56.51)
You tell her, girl. Lady Catherine has just come to tell her exactly why she's not worthy to marry Darcy, and Lizzy sums up exactly why she is: "He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter." Sure, he has more money—but her birth and character are just as good as him. Yep, this is maybe Shmoop's favorite line in all of Pride and Prejudice.
"Not so hasty, if you please. I have by no means done. To all the objections I have already urged, I have still another to add. I am no stranger to the particulars of your youngest sister's infamous elopement. I know it all; that the young man's marrying her was a patched-up business, at the expence of your father and uncles. And is such a girl to be my nephew's sister? Is her husband, is the son of his late father's steward, to be his brother? Heaven and earth! —of what are you thinking? Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?" (56.63)
To be fair, we sympathize with not wanting to be related to Wickham—but not because he's basically a servant's son; because he's a deceitful, gambling seducer. Either way, Lady Catherine's response is hilariously over the top: "Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted," as though Elizabeth is actually going to make the estate dirty.
"Miss Bennet I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a more reasonable young woman. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance I require." (56.56)
And by "reasonable young woman," Lady Catherine means "someone who, like everyone else, will do exactly what I say." Lady Catherine is ridiculous, of course, but these moments really show us how awesome Elizabeth is.