In my latest post, I revealed that, in the shadow story of Pride & Prejudice, Mrs. Reynolds has been lying, lying, and lying some more to Lizzy about Darcy.
My friend Diane Reynolds, who is a very sharp elf indeed, wrote the following in Austen-L and Janeite in response: "Yes, indeed, I can see very clearly a third reading I had not
perceived in which Darcy gets himself introduced to the Gardiners in
London and prevails upon them to manage getting Lizzy to Pemberton."
Diane, get ready for the fourth knife edge---Darcy and Mr. Gardiner go back a
LOOOOOOOOONG way..... don't you see? Who grew up in Lambton (a small
country village, where everybody knew everybody), and has been married to
Mr. Gardiner for many years??????????????????????? ;)
Diane: "It all works amazingly well: the sudden change of plans from
visiting the Lakes, even though Lizzie thought they could still manage
it--and once again, characteristically, we are led to believe Lizzie is
being unrealistic, but what if she wasn't?--Mrs. Gardiner's pushy
insistence that they visit Pemberley, Mr. Gardiner's lingering to watch
the trout, Mrs. Gardiner's tiredness, undercut by her ability to go out
that evening, yes, it all works."
Yes. yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. It is a beautiful thing, and it would amaze me
that others didn't seen it before i did. But then I realize, it was
decoding Emma's shadow story that prepared me to decode P&P's.
Diane: "In that case, Mrs. Gardiner's asides to Lizzie become
Shakespearean --they are part of the joke in which she already has met
Darcy but is teasing Elizabeth. This is dramatic irony taken to a new
level, in which neither the character nor the reader knows what is going
You are so right--just recall the scene in Much Ado About Nothing in which
Beatrice is tricked into thinking Benedick is only pretending to dislike
Diane: "Now my question is, is Lydia's elopement part of the plot? "
Of course! Did you really think that Lydia just blurts out Darcy's
attendance at her wedding? She was playing her part in the Lizzy Show as
And there's more....but that's for another time.
It's a beautiful thing.
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