The Examination of All the Letters Which Jane Had Written to Her
Gift of Mrs. Robert E. Blum in honor of Charles Ryskamp on his 10th anniversary as Director
In this scene from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is visiting her newlywed friend Charlotte and distant cousin Mr. Collins, and can only communicate with her sister Jane by letter. In reading Jane's letters, Elizabeth realizes Jane is gloomy about Bingley's absence, a situation for which she blames Mr. Darcy. The letters "contained no actual complaint, nor was there any revival of past occurrences, or any communication of present suffering. But in all, and in almost every line of each, there was a want of that cheerfulness which had been used to characterize her style." In a stroke of bad timing, it is just at this moment that Mr. Darcy expresses his love and proposes. Elizabeth cannot hold her tongue: "I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed upon to marry."