Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Pride & Prejudice, Volume I, chapter 16

An evening at the Philipses'

Mr Wickham and several other officers have been invited to dine with the Philipses. Mr Collins and the Bennet girls have been invited to come for tea, which is after dinner. Therefore, they arrive at the time that Mrs Philips and any other ladies have withdrawn from the dinner table, leaving the men to their cheroots and port and pisspots (as previously discussed). Mr Collins is therefore the sole man among a roomful of ladies until such time as the gentlemen rejoin them . . . and even so, he can't really command anyone's interest except for Mrs Philips.

Mr Collins is inappropriate

He "compliments" Mrs Philips by comparing her best room to a small, unimportant room in Lady Catherine's house. That she manages to be flattered by his backassed compliment to her home, which he compares to a small sunroom at Rosings, shows what sort of character she is. His recitation of the cost of items at Rosings is entirely inappropriate as well - it shows that he is vulgar and easily impressed by wealth (as is Mrs Philips), but really, a gentleman should not discuss such things, particularly with a new acquaintance.

Mr Wickham is inappropriate

Although Lizzie doesn't see it, Mr Wickham's recitation of his history with Mr Darcy is entirely improper. He has only just met her, and he shares with her rather intimate information about himself and Mr Darcy, which includes perpetrating slanders against Darcy (the truth of which are not entirely certain at this point in the book) and discussing things like finance, which was then, as now, not considered polite conversation at a party, let alone with someone who is such a recent acquaintance.

Because Elizabeth is blinded by Wickham's charms, she is perfectly willing to overlook the impropriety of his conduct, but I assure you that her contemporary readers would have raised their eyebrows at his sudden confidences.

And now, the 1995 version of meeting Mr Wickham, inviting him to dinner, and the dinner party. (Angela De Groot is exceedingly fond of Mrs Philips's cries of "Oh, Mr Collins!" during the whist game.)

Tomorrow: Chapter Seventeen
Back to Chapter Fifteen

Kiva - loans that change lives

Site Meter


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
I love hearing more about the context of these scenes, especially what was proper to discuss. Thank you!

I will always wonder how P&P might have turned out if Collins had set his eye on Mary instead of Jane/Lizzie, thanks to those little hints they put in the 95 version that she might have welcomed it.
Jan. 16th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
Collins and Mary are quite often shipped - and in the weird-ass version of it done by a bunch of Mormons, they ended up together.
Jan. 16th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
The line about the girls examining "their own indifferent imitations of china on the mantelpiece" confused me a bit. Does this mean the items on Mrs. Phillip's mantelpiece are pottery made by her neices?
Jan. 16th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
They are probably plates and/or cups that have been hand-painted by them.
Jan. 17th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
'Oh Mr.Collins!' lol
I always thought Wickham was rather forward with Lizzy in this scene, I guess if everyone fancies you, you can get away with a lot!
Jan. 17th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
Mr Wickham is so very improper, yet the first person to call him on it is Mr Bennet.
Jan. 17th, 2011 11:20 am (UTC)
'he simpers and smirks and makes love to us all...'
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 17th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
and Austen basically tells us that Lizzy's trusts him for no other reason than because he's handsome! Hmm...
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 17th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
He's so snide, without it seeming like he's being snide.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

May 2018


Powered by LiveJournal.com