“Do you talk by rule, then, while you are dancing?”
“Sometimes. One must speak a little, you know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together; and yet for the advantage of some, conversation ought to be so arranged, as that they may have the trouble of saying as little as possible.”
“Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine?”
“Both,” replied Elizabeth archly; “for I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.” Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 18
One of my favourite’s scenes of Darcy and Lizzy sparing. She is miffed at herself for her knee-jerk acceptance of his offer to dance (did she forget to use the dance card ploy?), and he is numb from his lack of resistience of her fine eyes (bet he wished he’d not been such a savage)!
What follows, is one of the most famous repartie’s in literary history. She sharply taunts him along with with her smooth insults. He fumbles for come-backs not quite sure how to take her all in since no lady has ever spoken to him like that before. How anyone can spar and dance at the same time, is amazing too me.
In preparation for this post, I watched this scene in the four movie adaptations available on DVD.
P&P0 (1940), staring Greer Garson & Sir Laurence Olivier
P&P1 (1979), staring Elizabeth Gravies & David Rintoul
P&P2 (1995), staring Jennifer Elhe & Colin Firth
P&P3 (2005), staring Kiera Knightley & Matthew McFayden
And I am surprised to tell you that I have a new appreciation for Pride & Prejudice 2005, staring Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen. I love the way she is so surley to him and he is terrified of her! Oooo, abhorence simmering.