"Go and see this Bingley if you must, though I warn you that none of our girls has much to recommend them; they are all silly and ignorant like their mother, the exception being Lizzy, who has something more of the killer instinct than her sisters." (1.18)
Mr. Bennet doesn't think much of his daughters (except for Elizabeth), which is kind of sad, since he trained them to be ferocious zombie hunters. We guess the slayer's life isn't for everyone, and most people seem not to want a wife who's gonna be out cutting off the heads of the undead.
"I am astonished, my dear," said Mrs. Bennet, "that you should be so ready to think your own children silly."
"If my children are silly, I must hope to be always sensible of it."
"Yes—but as it happens, they are all of them very clever. You forget how quickly they became proficient in those Oriental tricks you insisted on bestowing them."
"Being practiced enough to kill a few of the sorry stricken does not make them sensible, particularly when their skills are most often applied for the amusement of handsome officers."(7.6-9)
Mrs. Bennet is a little too quick to think her daughters are brilliant, while Mr. Bennet is pretty tough on them at times. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between?
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do; for I shall not have my best warrior resigned to the service of a man who is fatter than Buddha and duller than the edge of a learning sword."(20.17)
So much for Mom and Dad sending out the same message. Mr. Bennet is more than happy to step on his wife's toes when it comes to Elizabeth marrying Mr. Collins. Sure, it works out great for Elizabeth, but it's a little awkward when it comes to family unity.
Jane had been deprived, by the folly and indecorum of her own family! Oh! Could she only bring herself to dispense with the lot of them! (37.18)
Sometimes Elizabeth's family really gets her down. When she realizes that her mother and sisters (and even her father) are part of what cost Jane a chance at wedded bliss, Elizabeth can't help but contemplate how much easier life would be if she could just do away with all her pesky relations. A good beheading'll teach them.
"If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking [Lydia's] exuberant spirits, or reminding her of our blood oath to defend the Crown above all things, she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment. Her character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself or her family ridiculous, and a disgrace to the honour of our beloved master."(41.18)
Lydia's supposed to be acting like a warrior—or at a least a proper young lady. But she's just running around flirting with everyone and ruining the Bennet family reputation. Someone has got to put a stop to it before it's too late. (Spoiler alert: It won't be too late for a few more chapters.)
Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the impropriety of her father's behaviour as a husband. […] This had been especially arduous during their trips to China, which Mr. Bennet had supervised without the company of his wife, and during which he had taken many a beautiful Oriental to his bedchamber. Master Liu had defended this as acquiescence to local custom, and Elizabeth had more than once felt the sting of wet bamboo on her back for daring to question her father's propriety. But she had never felt so strongly as now the disadvantages that must attend the children of so unsuitable a marriage.(42.2)
Elizabeth knows her family situation isn't normal or happy. She's fought against this her whole life, and she doesn't want to repeat her parents' mistakes when she gets married. Looks like the student has become the master.
Elizabeth was wild to be at home—to hear, to see, to be upon the spot to share with Jane in the cares that must now fall wholly upon her, in a family so deranged, a father absent, a mother surely vomiting by now, and requiring constant attendance; and though almost persuaded that nothing could be done for Lydia. (46.25)
Even though her family is in total turmoil (and her mother is covered in vomit), Elizabeth wants to be home with them while they try to figure out where Lydia has been taken. Maybe the family that panics together stays together?
"My daughter and my nephew are formed for each other. Their fortune on both sides is splendid. They are destined for each other by the voice of every member of their respective houses; and what is to divide them? The upstart pretensions of a young woman whose sister was lately concerned in a scandalous elopement with the son of the elder Darcy's musket-polisher?"(56.48)
Lady Catherine appeals to her own sense of familial pride to try to get Elizabeth to back off Mr. Darcy. After all, no one in the Darcy family would want low-class Elizabeth hanging around Pemberley. We're not sure Lady Catherine is totally in sync with all her relations.
"Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble, and offer to kneel before you now and administer the seven cuts, that you might be honoured by trampling my blood."(58.5)
Mr. Darcy has saved the Bennet family from total ruin and disgrace, so Elizabeth can't help but thank him. But why would he do something like that again? It doesn't make sense. Unless, of course, he wanted to become part of that family. Oh…
Kitty, to her very material advantage, spent the chief of her time with her two elder sisters. In society so superior to what she had generally known, her improvement was great. She was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. When she announced that she should like to return to Shaolin, for two or three years, in hopes of becoming as fine a warrior as Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy was only too happy to pay for the whole.(61.5)
As soon as Kitty starts hanging out with her sensible relatives, she wises up. She even decides to start back up with her zombie training. Who knows what would have happened if she has kept hanging around with Lydia?
When he and Darcy were both boys of no more than seven years, the elder Darcy had taken a keen interest in their training. One day, during a daybreak spar, the young Wickham landed a severe kick, which sent Darcy to the ground. The elder Darcy implored Wickham to "finish" his son with a blow to the throat. When the boy protested, the elder Darcy—rather than punishing him for insolence, praised his generosity of spirit. The young Darcy, embarrassed more by his father's preference than his own defeat, attacked Wickham when his back was turned—sweeping his legs with a quarterstaff, and shattering the bones of both. It was nearly a year before he walked without the aid of a cane. (16.29)
Oh, the lies and the lying liars who tell them. This is a whopper that Mr. Wickham tells Elizabeth to demonstrate how cruel Mr. Darcy is. Later, we find out that Mr. Darcy did attack Mr. Wickham—but only to stop him from attacking a blind stable boy. For shame, sir.
"Jane, no one who has ever seen you together can doubt his affection. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. She may not be a warrior, but she has cunning enough. Dearest sister, I implore you—this unhappiness is best remedied by the hasty application of a cutlass to her throat." (21.31)
Elizabeth knows that Caroline Bingley is a big fat liar pants, even if Jane won't believe it. Elizabeth also suspects that all Jane's troubles would go away if only Caroline were dead. Hey, she's just saying.
"Caroline is incapable of willfully deceiving anyone; and all that I can hope in this case is that she is deceiving herself."
"Is it she who is deceived, or you? You forget yourself, Jane—you have allowed your feelings for Mr. Bingley to soften the instincts bestowed by our Oriental masters."(21.32-33)
Elizabeth reminds Jane that she's supposed to be a warrior, not some soft-hearted teddy bear. Caroline is obviously conning Jane, and Elizabeth calls her out on it. Remember your training, Jane.
"But perhaps," added [Mr. Darcy], pressing the pointed end against her neck, "these offenses might have been overlooked, had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design. These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination; by reason, by reflection, by everything. But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence."(34.22)
During their big fight-slash-proposal scene, Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth what he thinks is the truth—she might have said "yes" to him if only he'd lied a little. If he'd pretended to be more excited about marrying a lowly, middle-class girl, then they might be making out right now instead of clubbing each other with a poker. But Mr. Darcy hates lies. It's as simple as that.
There is but one part of my conduct in the whole affair on which I do not reflect with satisfaction; it is that I condescended to adopt the measures of art so far as to conceal from him your sister's being in town. […] Perhaps this concealment, this disguise was beneath me; it is done, however, and it was done for the best. (35.7)
Okay, so Mr. Darcy hates lies, but he did lie this one time. He confesses to Elizabeth that he fibbed to Mr. Bingley when Jane was in London. Yeah, that was kind of low, but it's over and done with, so no biggie, right?
By [Mrs. Younge's] connivance and aid, [Mr. Wickham] recommended himself to Georgiana, whose affectionate heart retained a strong impression of his kindness to her as a child, that she was persuaded to believe herself in love, and to consent to an elopement. She was then but fifteen, which must be her excuse. I joined them unexpectedly a day or two before the intended elopement, and then Georgiana, unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, acknowledged the whole to me. You may imagine what I felt and how I acted. Regard for my sister's credit and feelings prevented any public exposure; but my honor demanded a duel with Mr. Wickham, who left the place immediately. Mrs. Younge was of course savagely beaten in front of the other household staff. (35.11)
You try to deceive Mr. Darcy, and you get the crud beat out of you. Mrs. Younge and Mr. Wickham both feel his wrath for their treachery. Poor Georgiana is the victim of these lies—we hope she got the chance to get in a good roundhouse kick, at least.
"How despicably I have acted!" she cried; "I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my mastery of mind and body! Who have often disdained the generosity of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless mistrust! How humiliating is this discovery! Oh! Were my master here to bloody my back with wet bamboo!"(36.8)
This is shameful, indeed. Elizabeth was so sure that she was an awesome judge of character, but when she finds out the truth about Mr. Wickham, she realizes that she's been played for a fool. What kind of warrior is she, anyway?
"You are quite right. To have his errors made public might force him to demand satisfaction from Mr. Darcy—and when two gentlemen duel, there is seldom a happy result. We must not make him desperate. In the words of our dear master, 'a caged tiger bites twice as hard.'"(40.16)
Jane and Elizabeth decide not to tell anyone in Hertfordshire about Mr. Wickham's lies—after all, they don't want to push him over the edge. Spoiler alert: this will turn out to be a pretty big mistake.
My Dear Harriet, You will laugh when you know where I am gone, and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to-morrow morning, as soon as I am missed. I am going to Gretna Green, and if you cannot guess with who, I shall think your brains in a zombie's teeth, for there is but one man in the world I love. […] You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater, when I write to them and sign my name "Lydia Wickham."(47.58)
Seriously, Lydia? This is a pretty tone-deaf letter from her as she runs away to elope. She's lied to everyone about her plans, and now she's laughing about it. #notfunny
"Such great skills! Such a slayer of zombies! And yet, when one was in your home, you had not perception enough to see her."
"Are you so daft as to suppose that I did not know Charlotte for what she was? Are you incapable of understanding my generous motives? That my new priest might know some measure of happiness? Tell me, why do you suppose she changed so slowly? Why did I invite her to tea so often—for the pleasure of her company? No! It was my serum which kept her alive those few happy months. A few drops at a time, unnoticed, into her cup."
"Such an experiment can hardly be called 'generous.' You did nothing but prolong her suffering!" (56.36-38)
Elizabeth thinks that Lady Catherine has been tricked by Charlotte, but her ladyship points out that she knew Charlotte was a rotting zombie carcass all along. Because, duh. Turns out Lady Catherine was actually pulling her own little side scheme by keeping Charlotte alive for longer than she needed to be. Elizabeth doesn't think that was a very nice thing to do. Poor ninth-tenths dead Charlotte.
Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger of falling in love, and were it not for his considerable skill in the deadly arts, that he should be in danger of being bested by hers for never had he seen a lady more gifted in the ways of vanquishing the undead. (10.29)
Love is a beautiful—and dangerous—thing. Mr. Darcy realizes he's falling in love with Elizabeth not just because she's really, really good looking, but also because she might also be able to kick his butt.
"You forget, sir, that I am a student of Shaolin! Master of the seven-starred fist! I am perfectly serious in my refusal. You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who could make you so. Nay, were your friend Lady Catherine to know me, I am persuaded she would find me in every respect ill qualified for the situation, for I am a warrior, sir, and shall be until my last breath is offered to God." (19.13)
Mr. Collins really is a dope, isn't he? He can't possibly be in love with Elizabeth, but he insists that she isn't seriously refusing to marry him. She finally has to lay down the law and tell him—in the nicest way possible—that she's a warrior who could never, ever in a million, billion years make him happy.
"I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins' character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state—especially since, oh! Elizabeth, I beg you will not be angry with me or cut me down where I stand! But Elizabeth, I can have no secrets from you—I have been stricken." (22.19)
Okay, so it's not exactly true love between Charlotte and Mr. Collins. She has something else in mind—she just wants a comfortable home before she succumbs to the zombie plague. Is that so crazy? Does everyone need to marry for love?
"I am a warrior, madam: survivor of the thirty-six chambers of Shaolin, beholder of the scrolls of Gan Xian Tan. I do not seek love, and at present I am not in love with Mr. Wickham; though he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable man I ever saw—in form, character, and musketry. However, I see the imprudence of an attachment with one so deeply in want of fortune."(26.7)
When Mrs. Gardiner advises Elizabeth not to fall in love with Mr. Wickham (he doesn't have any money, so it would be a really bad idea), Elizabeth tells her aunt she'll do her best. After all, she's a highly-skilled zombie slayer. She can control her own mushy feelings, right?
What remained of Charlotte would liked to have believed this change the effect of love, and the object of that love her friend Eliza[…] Mr. Darcy certainly looked at her friend a great deal, but the expression of that look was disputable. It was an earnest, steadfast gaze, but she often doubted whether there were much admiration in it, and sometimes it seemed nothing but absence of mind. And upon imagining Mr. Darcy's mind, her thoughts would again turn to the subject of chewing on his salty, cauliflower-like brain. (32.30)
Charlotte didn't marry for love, but she seems to know a whole lot more about it than Elizabeth does. She's the first one to pick up on Mr. Darcy's growing attraction, while Elizabeth writes it off as nonsense. Charlotte is obviously too distracted by her desire for brains to know anything about love, right? That's what Elizabeth thinks, anyway.
That she should receive an offer of marriage from Mr. Darcy! That she should fail to kill him when her honor demanded it! That he should have been in love with her for so many months! So much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which had made him prevent his friend's marrying her sister, and which must appear at least with equal force in his own case—was almost incredible! It was gratifying to have inspired unconsciously so strong an affection. (34.31)
Okay, so Elizabeth has a lot of complicated feelings here. On the one hand, she clearly hates Mr. Darcy and wants to see his head on her mantle. On the other hand, she realizes that he's super rich, so it's kind of flattering that he was secretly in love with her all this time. It's like the most popular guy in high school had a crush on you the entire school year and you just found out…and then drop-kicked him to the gym floor.
"Why is he so altered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for me—it cannot be for my sake that his manners are thus softened. It is impossible that he should still love me, unless, by kicking him into the mantelpiece during our battle at Hunsford, I affected some severe change in his countenance." (43.55)
Hey, you never know what a good kick to the head will do. Elizabeth runs into Mr. Darcy while she's at Pemberley, and he's all gentlemanly and sweet. No way he's still in love with her, though. That would be soooo crazy…
She respected, she esteemed, she was grateful to him, she felt a real interest in his welfare; where she had been taught to ignore all feeling, all excitement—she now found herself with an excess of both. How strange! For the more she dwelled on the subject, the more powerful she felt; not for her mastery of the deadly arts, but for her power over the heart of another. What a power it was! But how to wield it? Of all the weapons she had commanded, Elizabeth knew the least of love; and of all the weapons in the world, love was the most dangerous. (44.15)
Poor Elizabeth. She can behead a zombie without breaking a sweat, but she can't quite get a handle on this whole love thing. Wow. Love really is a dangerous game.
She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. […] What a pair of warriors they would make! Sparring by the river at Pemberley; crossing the Altai Mountains in a fine coach on their way to Kyoto or Shanghai—their children eager to master death as their mother and father had before them. (50.15)
This is kind of sad. Elizabeth hears that Lydia has run away with Mr. Wickham and thinks that's scared Mr. Darcy off for good. Of course this is the moment when she decides she's head over heels in love with him. She pictures a whole life complete with little zombie-slaying children. It figures: we always want the thing we can't have.
"A man who has been refused with foot and fist! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love? Is there one among the sex who would not protest against such a weakness as a second proposal to the same woman? He should sooner make an offer to a zombie!" (54.17)
Elizabeth's got a point here. She made her hatred for Mr. Darcy pretty clear. Is he really gonna come crawling back now? Could he possibly love her after everything? (Spoiler alert: he totally does.)
"Bingley. A single man of four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"
"How so? Can he train them in the ways of swordsmanship and musketry?"
"How can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."
"Marriage? In times such as these? Surely this Bingley has no such designs."
"Designs! Nonsense, how can you talk so! It is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."
"I see no occasion for that. And besides, we mustn't busy the roads more than is absolutely necessary, lest we lose more horses and carriages to the unfortunate scourge that has so troubled our beloved Hertfordshire of late."
"But consider your daughters!"
"I am considering them, silly woman! I would much prefer their minds be engaged in the deadly arts than clouded with dreams of marriage and fortune, as your own so clearly is!" (1.11-18)
Right away, we cut to the meat of the story. Mrs. Bennet wants her daughters to get married, while Mr. Bennet wants them to be protected against the undead menace that walks the earth. Is it just us, or does one of those sound a little more important? But that's kind of the joke: for young ladies in 19th-century England, getting married is of life-or-death importance. It's even more important than zombies.
"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance, and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."
"Remember, Elizabeth—I am not a warrior as you are. I am merely a silly girl of seven-and-twenty years, and that without a husband." (6.4-6)
Charlotte might not be a warrior or have a husband, but she's pretty wise. When you get married, you're taking a leap of faith and guessing that you'll still like that person fifty years from now. High modern divorce rates might be one indication that Charlotte is right.
"Miss Elizabeth Bennet!" repeated Miss Bingley. "Defender of Longbourn? Heroine of Hertfordshire? I am all astonishment. You will be having a charming mother-in-law, indeed; and, of course, the two of you would fell many an unmentionable with your combined proficiencies in the deadly arts." (6.30)
When Caroline Bingley hears that Mr. Darcy thinks Elizabeth is cute, she immediately jumps to making fun of a potential Bennet-Darcy wedding. This is super catty, but it's pretty smart. Mr. Darcy has to cringe a little at the thought of having Mrs. Bennet as a mother-in-law. The woman is a lot to take.
It was, moreover, such a promising thing for her younger daughters, as Jane's marrying so greatly must throw them in the way of other rich men. "Oh! What joy to see them all thus provided for! To see them entertaining at their own estates; raising their own children, instead of all this silly training and fighting." (18.53)
Oh, Mrs. Bennet. She just cannot shut her mouth about how her daughters are gonna marry rich guys and then give up on their zombie slaying. One thing we will say for her: all this scheming works in the end. Her two oldest daughters do end up with two very wealthy husbands. Way to go, Mrs. B.
"My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman to set the example of matrimony in his parish. Secondly, that I am convinced it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly, that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness. […] Allow me, by the way, to observe, my fair cousin, that I do not reckon the notice and kindness of Lady Catherine de Bourgh as among the least of the advantages in my power to offer. You will find her powers of combat beyond anything I can describe; and your own talents in slaying the stricken, I think, must be acceptable to her, though naturally, I will require you to retire them as part of your marital submission." (19.9)
The funny thing is that Mr. Collins probably thinks this speech is pretty great. So romantic. Why lady wouldn't like to hear it? And, of course, Elizabeth will just give up fighting unmentionables to marry him? Naturally. #sarcasm
"I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, and skill in the deadly arts; and the affection she inspires in Louisa and myself is heightened from the hope we dare entertain of her being hereafter our sister." (21.25)
Oh, that's coldblooded. Caroline Bingley writes to Jane that she thinks her brother is going to marry Georgiana Darcy, but it's all lies. Obviously, if Mr. Bingley married Georgiana, that would be awesome for Caroline: she would get to hang out with Mr. Darcy a whole lot more. Wink, wink.
"You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the slightest grief which I might have felt in beheading you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner." (34.24)
That's one way to turn down a marriage proposal. After Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth that he likes her but hates her family, the two of them throw down, and Elizabeth insults him pretty badly: she tells Mr. Darcy that he didn't behave like a gentleman, which hurts. Basically, Mr. Darcy might have money and good looks and sweet fighting skills, but he sure doesn't have manners.
That she should receive an offer of marriage from Mr. Darcy! That she should fail to kill him when her honor demanded it! That he should have been in love with her for so many months! So much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which had made him prevent his friend's marrying her sister, and which must appear at least with equal force in his own case—was almost incredible! It was gratifying to have inspired unconsciously so strong an affection. (34.31)
Mr. Darcy's marriage proposal might have turned deadly, but Elizabeth is no dummy—she knows that having a rich, handsome, zombie killer like Mr. Darcy propose to you is a big deal. She doesn't regret saying no, but she's also feeling a little bit good about herself. Maybe she's secretly more amazing than she thought?
Had Elizabeth's opinion been all drawn from her own family, she could not have formed a very pleasing opinion of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort. Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humour which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown. But Mr. Bennet was not of a disposition to seek comfort for the disappointment which his own imprudence had brought on. Instead, he sought to ensure that his daughters would not follow in their mother's silly, idle footsteps. (42.1)
Okay, so Elizabeth's parents messed up when it came to the task of marrying well. She's determined not to follow in their footsteps, and we don't blame her.
I have seen them both. They are not married, nor can I find there was any intention of being so; but I can happily report that Mr. Wickham has lately undergone a most remarkable change of heart on the subject, and wishes they be wed with the utmost expediency. He is in a most dreadful state, however, for a carriage accident has left him bedridden and unable to move his limbs, or control his personal business. I am afraid his doctors are of the opinion that he shall remain thus for the whole course of his life; but imagine their relief to know that he shall have a devoted wife to attend to his every need till death do they part. (49.16)
Weird. Mr. Wickham's view on marrying Lydia changed pretty quickly once he was in that "carriage accident" and could never walk again. Looks like he'll need a doting—if slightly annoying—wife, after all. Sign him up for a lifetime of marital bliss…
"If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside," cried Bingley, "it would not make them one jot less agreeable. Have you no regard for them as warriors? Indeed, I have never seen ladies so steady-handed in combat."
"But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world," replied Darcy. (8.17-18)
So Caroline is dissing Elizabeth (and Jane, too), and Mr. Bingley can't help but come to their defense. But they're warriors, he says. Isn't that great? Mr. Darcy then has to point out the truth: no matter how skilled the Bennet sisters are in combat, they're lower class. What guy's gonna want to marry them?
"Indeed, Mamma, you are mistaken," said Elizabeth, blushing for her mother. "You quite mistook Mr. Darcy. He only meant that there was not such a variety of people to be met with in the country as in the town, which you must acknowledge to be true. Just as Mr. Darcy would surely acknowledge that the scarcity of graveyards makes the country altogether more agreeable in times such as these."
"Certainly, my dear; but as to not meeting with many people in this neighbourhood, I believe there are few neighbourhoods larger. I know we dine with four-and-twenty families. Well, three-and-twenty, I suppose—God rest poor Mrs. Long's soul." (9.21-22)
Sure, Mr. Darcy thinks the country is boring and gross, but even Elizabeth has to acknowledge her mother is acting obnoxious and unclassy here. She has to step in and save the conversation from totally going off the rails before Mr. Darcy decides her family is complete trash.
Despite their lack of fighting skill, she had to admit that their powers of conversation were considerable. "If only words were capable of beheading a zombie," she thought, "I would presently find myself in the company of the world's two greatest warriors." (11.1)
The Bingley sisters aren't trained to fight zombies, but they have other skills that Elizabeth is totally in awe of: they're refined and highly trained in the art of conversation. They will cut you with their words. Basically, they're the 19th-century version of mean girls.
Mr. Collins was eloquent in her praise, offering that he had never in his life witnessed such self-discipline in a person of rank. Lady Catherine was reckoned proud by many people he knew but he had never seen anything but a singular dedication to the art of killing zombies. She had always spoken to him as she would to any other gentleman; she made not the smallest objection to his watching her spar nor to his leaving the parish occasionally for a week or two, to visit his relations. (14.1)
This is Mr. Collins' description of Lady Catherine, so you know it's a little insane, even if there is obviously some truth in it. Lady Catherine is a grand, high-society lady who's a master zombie slayer to boot. Mr. Collins is a groveling and grateful subject who will gladly lick her shoes—if she'll let him.
"My dear Miss Elizabeth […] there must be a wide difference between the established forms of ceremony amongst the laity, and those which regulate the clergy. After all, you may wield God's sword, but I wield His wisdom. And it is wisdom, dear cousin, which will ultimately rid us of our present difficulties with the undead."
"You will excuse me for saying so, but I have never seen a zombie's head taken off by words— nor do I ever expect to." (18.49-50)
Oh, Mr. Collins. Dude wants to go introduce himself to Mr. Darcy, but Elizabeth knows this is a bad idea. Mr. Collins tries to up his social status but telling her that he's the keeper of God's word (because he's a clergyman). But yeah, dude—good luck battling zombies with words. Elizabeth will stick with her musket.
Elizabeth's courage did not fail her, even though she had been regaled with stories of Lady Catherine's accomplishments from the time she had been old enough to hold her first dagger. The mere stateliness of money or rank she could witness without trepidation, but the presence of a woman who had slain ninety dreadfuls with nothing more than a rain-soaked envelope was an intimidating prospect indeed. (29.8)
Elizabeth is excited to meet Lady Catherine, but not because of her wealth or social status. She's impressed by the woman's skill alone. Elizabeth is all about the things people have earned, not the stuff they've inherited.
"I assume you were schooled in Japan?"
"No, your ladyship. In China."
"China? Are those monks still selling their clumsy kung fu to the English? I take it you mean Shaolin?"
"Yes, your ladyship; under Master Liu."
"Well, I suppose you had no opportunity. Had your father more means, he should have taken you to Kyoto."
"My mother would have had no objection, but my father hates Japan."
"Have your ninjas left you?"
"We never had any ninjas."
"No ninjas! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without any ninjas! I never heard of such a thing." (29.19-27)
Lady Catherine has definite feelings about the right way to fight zombies—her way. We're not exactly sure if it matters. If the zombies wind up dead in the end, does it matter if the person killing them trained in China or Japan? Well, for her ladyship, it's a matter of class. The finest trainers are in Japan. End of story.
He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.
In spite of her deeply rooted bloodlust, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, and though her intention of killing him did not vary for an instant, she was somewhat sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger. (34.5-6)
This is the marriage proposal every little kid dreams of, right? I love you…but your family is the worst. Elizabeth gets madder and madder as she hears Mr. Darcy talk. It's no wonder she attacks him when he finally finishes. It's not his smoothest moment.
[Pemberley] was a large, handsome stone building, made to resemble the grandest palaces of Kyoto, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into a natural defense against frontal assault, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where the natural beauty of the Orient had been so little counteracted by English taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something! (43.3)
Okay, this might be Mr. Darcy's smoothest moment. When Elizabeth sees Pemberley, it's like she's seeing Mr. Darcy's true nature. Sure, it's a place that's obviously huge and grand, but it's also not all dolled up and fancy. It's naturally beautiful, and it's decorated with little hints of its owner's passion for Japan. It may be a mansion, but it's downright homey.
The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this, just as the beheading and burning of my bride was a fate preferable to seeing her join the ranks of Lucifer's brigade. You are grievously to be pitied; in which opinion I am joined Lady Catherine and her daughter, to whom I have related the affair. They agree with me in apprehending that this dishonouring of one's daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for "who," as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, "will connect themselves with such a family?" (48.9)
For a guy who married a zombie, Mr. Collins' tone is pretty smug here. He wants the Bennets to know that Lady Catherine is totally looking down on their family because of Lydia's little escapade. The Bennets are all tarnished socially, and there's nothing they can do about it.
"Do not mistake my indulgence for a relaxation in discipline," said Mr. Bennet. "The girls shall continue their training as ever—Bingley or no Bingley."
"Of course, of course!" cried Mrs. Bennet. "They shall be as deadly as they are fetching!" (2.13-14)
Boys or no boys, the important thing is to stay alive, right? Keep those skills sharp. On the other hand, we get the feeling Mrs. Bennet doesn't 100% agree with this sentiment.
He had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty and fighting skill he had heard much; but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he wore a blue coat, rode a black horse, and carried a French carbine rifle upon his back—quite an exotic weapon for an Englishman. However, from his clumsy wielding of it, Elizabeth was quite certain that he had little training in musketry or any of the deadly arts. (3.4)
So Mr. Bingley is a young, handsome rich guy who doesn't know how to defend himself against a zombie. What has he been doing with his time? Maybe he needs to be looking for a wife with some skills?
His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion, but little in the way of combat training. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien—and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having slaughtered more than a thousand unmentionables since the fall of Cambridge. (3.6)
Mr. Darcy is the total package: tall, handsome, and a killer—of zombies, that is. Too bad he's such a stone-cold jerk. But hey, no man's perfect.
"In my experience, a woman is either highly trained or highly refined. One cannot afford the luxury of both in such times. As for my sisters and I, our dear father thought it best that we give less of our time to books and music, and more to protecting ourselves from the sorry stricken." (8.45)
Elizabeth has a point here. After Mr. Darcy goes down his list of all the qualities a woman needs to be "accomplished," Elizabeth tells him that's nonsense. She only had time to get good at one thing: mowing down the undead. Does he really think knowing how to play the pianoforte is gonna help when a horde of zombies is busting down your door?
"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 possess the strength your aunt's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same deadly results. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault—because I will not take the trouble of practising." (31.24-25)
Burn. Elizabeth basically tells Mr. Darcy something he must already know: no one gets good at anything without practicing. She didn't learn to be a warrior without honing her skills, and he's not gonna be any good at chatting people up without working on it first. Gauntlet thrown.
Elizabeth had frequently united with Jane in punishing the imprudence of Catherine and Lydia with wet bamboo; but while they were supported by their mother's indulgence, what chance could there be of improvement? Catherine, undisciplined, irritable, and completely under Lydia's guidance, had been always affronted by their attempts at correcting her; and Lydia, self-willed and dimwitted, would scarcely give them a hearing. They were ignorant, idle, and vain. While Meryton was within a walk of Longbourn, they would be going there forever, killing zombies only when it interfered with their chances of flirting with an officer. (37.17)
Sure, all the Bennet sisters have been trained in the deadly arts, but some of them are more serious about it than others. Kitty and Lydia can kill a zombie, but they don't have the discipline and dedication that Elizabeth and Jane do. No wonder Lydia winds up in such trouble.
"Your daughter's fortune is indeed splendid. But pray tell, what other qualities does she possess? Is she fetching? Is she trained in the deadly arts? Has she even strength enough to lift a Katana?" (56.49)
Elizabeth trash talks Lady Catherine here. Anne de Bourgh may have some good qualities (like money), but she doesn't have the strength or skill that Elizabeth does. Does Lady Catherine really think that's gonna catch Mr. Darcy's eye?
"It would take skills far exceeding your own to draw but a single bead of exercise moisture from my skin. Weak, silly girl! So long as there is life in this old body, you shall never again be in the company of my nephew!" (56.69)
This is big talk coming from a woman with twenty-five ninjas to guard her. Basically, Lady Catherine doesn't think Elizabeth has the skills to beat her. Is it because Elizabeth trained in China? In any case, her ladyship will soon find out how wrong she is.
Elizabeth and Darcy laughed at the sight, and for a moment, resolved to keep walking—as the zombies had failed to take notice of them. But, sharing a glance and a smile, the pair realised they had stumbled onto their first opportunity to fight side by side. And so they did. (58.32)
Oh, how sweet: their first zombie slaying adventure. The couple who slays together stays together.
Jane and Elizabeth, in addition to every other source of happiness, were within thirty miles of each other. Determined that they should keep their skills sharp, though His Majesty no longer required them to do so, their husbands built them a sparring cottage precisely between the two estates, in which the sisters met joyously and often. (61.4)
It doesn't make sense that two of the best zombie slayers in England would just put down their swords because they got married. We're glad the Bennet sisters have kept their skills sharp. Zombies better watch out.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead. (1.1)
Okay, so right in the very first lines of the book, we get a zombie attack. This is a lucky break for the Bennet sisters, though: since everyone at Netherfield Park has died, the house is up for rent, and Mr. Bingley gets to move in. Score.
From a corner of the room, Mr. Darcy watched Elizabeth and her sisters work their way outward, beheading zombie after zombie as they went. He knew of only one other woman in all of Great Britain who wielded a dagger with such skill, such grace, and deadly accuracy. (3.20)
When zombies attack the public ball, the Bennet sisters spring into action with the Pentagram of Death. Other than this, the night is really quite nice.
They looked up and let loose their terrible roars, which were cut short by a violent, fiery explosion as pipe and oil met. Suddenly engulfed, the zombies staggered about, flailing wildly and screaming as they cooked. Jane raised her Brown Bess, but Elizabeth pushed the barrel aside.
"Let them burn," she said. "Let them have a taste of eternity."
Turning to her cousin, who had averted his eyes, she added, "You see, Mr. Collins…God has no mercy. And neither must we."
Though angered by her blasphemy, he thought better of saying anything on the matter, for he saw in Elizabeth's eyes a kind of darkness; a kind of absence—as if her soul had taken leave, so that compassion and warmth could not interfere. (62.14-17)
And Mr. Collins still wanted to marry Elizabeth after this. He really is very, very stupid, isn't he?
"I don't suppose," said Darcy, "that you would give me the honour of dispensing of this unhappy business alone. I should never forgive myself if your gown were soiled."
"The honour is all yours, Mr. Darcy."
Elizabeth thought she detected the slightest smile on his face. She watched as Darcy drew his blade and cut down the two zombies with savage yet dignified movements. He then made quick work of beheading the slaughtered staff, upon which Mr. Bingley politely vomited into his hands. There was no denying Darcy's talents as a warrior. (18.65-67)
See? Mr. Darcy isn't so bad—this is very gentlemanly. Elizabeth doesn't even have to soil her gown getting rid of these unmentionables. Why does she think he's so bad again? Oh, the thing with Jane and Mr. Wickham. That's right.
She kicked open the door and sprang atop the coach. From here Elizabeth could appreciate the full measure of their predicament, for rather than one hundred unmentionables, she now perceived no less than twice that number. The coachman's leg was in the possession of several zombies, who were quite close to getting their teeth on his ankle. Seeing no alternative, Elizabeth brought her sword down upon his thigh—amputating the leg, but saving the man. She picked him up with one arm and lowered him into the coach, where he fainted as blood poured forth from his new stump. Sadly, this action prevented her from saving the second musket man, who had been pulled from his perch. He screamed as the dreadfuls held him down and began to tear organs from his living belly and feast upon them. (27.5)
This is a bad day for the coachman and the musket man, but it's a good day for Elizabeth. Luckily, she's able to get the carriage to London in time for everyone to be welcomed by the Gardiners for dinner that evening. R.I.P., coachman and musket man. We hardly knew ye.
Elizabeth flung her Katana across the dojo, piercing the ninja's chest and pinning him against a wooden column. Elizabeth removed her blindfold and confronted her opponent, who presently clutched the sword handle, gasping for breath. She delivered a vicious blow, penetrating his rib cage, and withdrew her hand—with the ninja's still-beating heart in it. As all but Lady Catherine turned away in disgust, Elizabeth took a bite, letting the blood run down her chin and onto her sparring gown.
"Curious," said Elizabeth, still chewing. "I have tasted many a heart, but I dare say, I find the Japanese ones a bit tender."
Her ladyship left the dojo without giving compliment to Elizabeth's skills. (30.12-14)
Is it rude to rip out the still-beating heart of a lady's ninja? We couldn't find an answer in any of the 19th-century etiquette books we've come across.
"Do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man who has been the means of ruining, perhaps forever, the happiness of a most beloved sister?"
One of her kicks found its mark, and Darcy was sent into the mantelpiece with such force as to shatter its edge. Wiping the blood from his mouth, he looked at her with a smile of affected incredulity. (34.10, 13)
Come on, part of you knows that this marriage proposal scene is at least 50% more awesome with bone-crunching violence. Mr. Darcy is being a bit of a jerk here, so we think he deserves to get a bit of a kick into the mantelpiece.
Elizabeth could not help but feel a sense of joy as she watched cage after cage of zombies burn—heard their terrible shrieks as the fire (which they feared above all else) licked at their feet, then ignited the whole of their putrid flesh and hastened them back to Hell. When the zombies were nothing more than bone and ash, the cages were lowered back onto their wagons, and carried away to be filled anew. (42.10)
We love the smell of zombies in the morning.
The zombies let forth a most unpleasant roar as they came within biting distance, and Elizabeth returned it in kind as she began her counterattack. But no sooner had she struck down the first five or six, than the cracking of gunpowder scattered the score that remained. […] On this she was again met with shock, though of a decidedly different nature—for upon a steed, holding a still-smoking Brown Bess, was none other than the owner of the grounds on which she stood. (43.46)
This is awkward. Elizabeth is just about to fight off a horde of zombies when, suddenly, Mr. Darcy appears. And, of course, he looks super handsome holding that musket. How's a girl supposed to resist him?
Elizabeth backed Lady Catherine against a wall, and held the tip of her sword to her wrinkled throat. "Well?" said Catherine, "Take my head then, but be quick about it."
Elizabeth lowered her blade, and with a voice much affected by exercise, said, "To what end, your ladyship? That I might procure the condemnation of a man for whom I care so much? No. No, your ladyship—whether you shall live to see him married to your daughter, or married to me, I know not. But you shall live. And for the rest of your days, you shall know that you have been bested by a girl for whom you have no regard, and whose family and master you have insulted in the harshest possible manner." (56.76-77)
After an ultraviolent encounter, Elizabeth spares Lady Catherine's life. Maybe she doesn't have to run around killing everyone and everything, after all? Anyway, by showing mercy, Elizabeth gets her man. He knows it's love when Elizabeth refuses to behead his aunt. Swoon.
"In nine cases out of ten a woman had better show more affection than she feels. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on."
"But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow. Remember, Charlotte—she is a warrior first, and a woman second." (6.2-3)
Jane may be a warrior, but Charlotte's advice isn't bad if we're talking about women. A guy isn't going to stick around long if a girl doesn't give off flirty vibes. Charlotte's statement turns out to be right when Mr. Bingley is convinced that Jane doesn't like him because she's so coy. Sure, the fighting skills are great, but some flirtation skills would have come in handy in this situation.
Muskets and Katana swords were a more effective means of protecting one's self, but they were considered unladylike; and, having no saddle in which to conceal them, the three sisters yielded to modesty.
Well, you wouldn't want to look unladylike when you're fighting a zombie, now would you?
"The word is applied," said Darcy, "to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen. My sister Georgiana deserves the distinction, however, for she is not only master of the female arts, but the deadly as well. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are thus accomplished."
"Nor I, I am sure," said Miss Bingley.
"Then, Mr. Darcy," observed Elizabeth, "you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman."
"A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages; she must be well trained in the fighting styles of the Kyoto masters and the modern tactics and weaponry of Europe. And besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half-deserved. All this she must possess, and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading."
"I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any."
"Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?"
"I never saw such a woman. In my experience, a woman is either highly trained or highly refined. One cannot afford the luxury of both in such times. As for my sisters and I, our dear father thought it best that we give less of our time to books and music, and more to protecting ourselves from the sorry stricken." (8.39-45)
Mr. Darcy thinks that Elizabeth is dissing her fellow women, but she's just being practical. How can a girl think about painting when the dead are rising from their graves and eating people's brains? It's survival of the fittest. Elizabeth doesn't have time to polish her ladylike attributes for high society.
"Elizabeth Bennet," said Miss Bingley, when the door was closed on her, "is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing their own; and with many men, I dare say, it succeeds. But, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean art."
"Undoubtedly," replied Darcy, to whom this remark was chiefly addressed, "there is a meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation." (8.47-48)
Mr. Darcy is no fool. He knows what these mean girls are up to. They're cutting down Elizabeth to make themselves look better by saying that she cuts down other women to make herself look better. Oh, the delicious irony.
"If I may mention so delicate a subject, endeavour to check Miss Bennet's unladylike affinity for guns, and swords, and exercise, and all those silly things best left to men or ladies of low breeding." (10.31)
Why does Caroline Bingley hate the deadly arts so much? Maybe it's because she's not trained in them? It's weird because she doesn't stop to consider that Georgiana Darcy is a trained killer, too, so Mr. Darcy obviously doesn't think killing zombies is unladylike. This line of flirting is bound to fail epically.
Jane and Elizabeth tried to explain that all five of them were capable of fending for themselves; that they could make tolerable fortunes as bodyguards, assassins, or mercenaries if need be. But it was a subject on which Mrs. Bennet was beyond the reach of reason, and she continued to rail bitterly against the cruelty of settling an estate away from a family of five daughters, in favour of a man whom nobody cared anything about. (13.9)
Okay, so even though the Bennet estate has to pass to a man, the girls seem to think that they can earn a living as bodyguards. Yeah, they could also get jobs as governesses, too, but that would be a step down for them. It's probably something they should avoid unless they want to be seen as—gasp—middle class.
"When I do myself the honour of speaking to you next on the subject, I shall hope to receive a more favourable answer than you have now given me. I know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application."
"Really, Mr. Collins," cried Elizabeth, "you puzzle me exceedingly. If what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the form of encouragement, I know not how to express my refusal in such a way as to convince you of its being one." (90.16-17)
We're not sure where Mr. Collins is getting his intel, but he seems to think women go around all the time rejecting men and then hoping they'll propose again. That's a pretty dangerous game. Ironically, this is exactly what happens with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, so maybe Jane Austen is giving us a little wink here with Mr. Collins' absurdity.
Lady Catherine was a tall, large woman, with strongly-marked features, which might once have been handsome. Her once-flawless figure had been softened by age, but her eyes no were less striking than Elizabeth had oft heard them described. They were the eyes of a woman who once held the wrath of God in her hands. (29.10)
Even Elizabeth has to admit that Lady Catherine is impressive. In a novel filled with women who are completely dependent on the men around them to provide them with money and protection, Lady Catherine is both financially and physically independent. That's why it's kind of a letdown when she turns out to be such a stone-cold jerkface.
The tumult of her mind was now painfully great. She knew not how to support herself, and from the feminine weakness which she had so struggled to exercise from her nature, sat down and cried for half an hour. (34.31)
Elizabeth tries to repress her emotions using her warrior strength, but eventually it's just too much. We're not sure we'd call being female a weakness, as Elizabeth does, but it's clear that all of Elizabeth's training is no match for what she's feeling right now—love.
"You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them. I knew the joy of standing over a vanquished foe; of painting my face and arms with their blood, yet warm, and screaming to the heavens—begging, nay daring, God to send me more enemies to kill. The gentle ladies who so assiduously courted you knew nothing of this joy, and therefore, could never offer you true happiness." (60.5)
Elizabeth asks Mr. Darcy to explain why he fell in love with her and then she explains it herself. We've gotta admit, we kind of like her answer. This girl had spark. She was different from all the other women out there. She bathed in the blood of her enemies. You won't find that among the refined ladies of every sitting room.