“In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot — I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to any one. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 34
The – – unqualified – – most famous – – rebuke in the in history of literature, – – bar-none!!!
After Mr. Darcy’s acidic proposal, Jane Austen occasioned Elizabeth with a response worthy of her spirit and dignity. What style, what eloquence, what aplomb! – – What a heroine!