Pride, Prejudice & Propriety — 59 Comments

  1. The fact that both Elizabeth and Darcy pushed the envelope of propriety for their time is what makes them so enjoyable and loveable. There were so many other violations made by others in Pride and Prejudice that the overstepping of “the rules” of Recency Period seems tame by the behaviors shown by Caroline Bingley, George Wickham, and Lydia Bennet.

  2. While you remain my absolute favorite author, I must admit I have read over 500 “what if” P&P novels, novellas and short stories. The propriety, or lack thereof, has never bothered me. I realize that mores change with time, and the generations before the Regency and after had entirely different standards. Regarding Darcy and Elizabeth, their lack of propriety simply adds spice and tension.

  3. Hello, Abigail.

    I’m not convinced that we don’t overstate this sort of thing for JA’s time. There’s no hint that any of the characters thought any of it was improper except for Miss Bingley who criticized everything about Elizabeth.

    Here are some other things that JA the parson’s daughter had her characters do in P&P:

    Elizabeth walked alone with Colonel Fitzwilliam — no indication in the book it was improper.
    Elizabeth spoke alone with Mr Collins — no indication in the book it was improper.
    Elizabeth was alone with Darcy in the Netherfield library for a half hour — no indication in the book it was improper.
    Elizabeth and Darcy walked alone for hours the day they became engaged — no indication in the book it was improper.

    Darcy himself wrote that Elizabeth (unlike almost her entire family) did not behave improperly, and we know what an uptight stick he is. 😉

    I wonder if perhaps we aren’t attributing some of the Victorian era’s attitudes to the Regency era, particularly regarding men and women being alone together in the normal course of a day.

    • Hi Kent,

      For me the big thing is that JA’s contemporaries felt Elizabeth was ill-behaved and that Jane, who was much more proper, should have been the heroine. They would have agreed with Caroline Bingley!

      Walking alone with Colonel Fitzwilliam wasn’t proper, either, but we wouldn’t be told that because Elizabeth is the POV character. We’re only told of impropriety by other characters. Speaking alone with Mr. Collins was different because he had her mother’s permission to speak to her alone. I assume when she was alone with Darcy in the library the door was open and there were servants coming and going, but as for walking alone for hours… well, they weren’t supposed to be doing that. They were supposed to be chaperoning Bingley and Jane (and vice versa), and instead went off on their own! I see that as another case of making their own rules. 😉

      The tricky thing about the Regency is that it had the rules of the Victorian era for unmarried women but without any sense of morality otherwise. (Trigger warning for sexual violence) In my opinion, the true reason women were always supposed to be accompanied by a chaperone was not because they could be seduced, but because men in the Regency could rape with essentially complete impunity because the consequences to women and their family of publicly admitting to rape were so devastating. If Elizabeth had gone walking alone with Wickham and he had raped her, she would have had little choice but to dust off her skirts and go home and cross her fingers that she wasn’t pregnant. That is NOT to say she wouldn’t have been devastated by it, just that she would have been powerless to do anything about it. In a society where men know they can rape whenever they want to, there are a few men who will take advantage of that, which makes women much less safe to be alone with them.

  4. A fascinating insight, Abigail- it completely fits in with everything we know about Jane herself behaving with impropriety as she stated in a letter to her sister in January 1796 – a true primary source to the mores of the day. I’ve often wondered how much of Elizabeth Bennet was a part of Jane’s character. Behaving as society dictated was clearly very important and I love the fact that both Elizabeth and Jane bent the rules!

    • Yes, we know Jane bent quite a few rules in her day, and it was kind of her to leave us her letters as proof! I still wonder what courage it must have taken to refuse the Prince Regent’s request for her to dedicate a book to him, no matter how wittily she expressed herself.

  5. It is an interesting view, however I have been trying to remember the behaviour of the heroins in other novels, and realised that, for example, Marianne in Sense and Sensibility is very often alone with Willoughby, driving throughout the countryside with him in a rather fast and harsh fashion that brings her some remarks. No-one seems to believe Marianne compromised, not even Eleanor, simply maybe because everyone believes they are in love and Willoughby’s attentions are genuine. When Anne Elliott and Frederick Wentworth become engaged, I cannot imagine them reaching an agreement simply through being in company in social occasions, and I am sure they arranged to meet privately, perhaps to have walks in the countryside.

    So maybe the rules were not as strict as we believe them to be. Elizabeth is independent, lively, witty and impertinent, however she does not flirt openly with gentlemen as Kitty and Lydia do, and is well regarded in the neighbourhood. She may not respect decorum at all times but in my eyes does not really breach the rules of propriety, despite her impertinence.

    Of course since we cannot go back in time to witness the behaviours of the period, we cannot really know if Jane Austen gives much liberty to her heroins and have them behave in an improper manner.

    • You’re right that we can never truly know what rules were followed and which aren’t. But even Elizabeth admits to Darcy in one of the final scenes, “My behaviour to you was at least always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you pain than not.” She knows she was unmannerly, and was just fortunate Darcy was charmed by what he saw as lively teasing. And while no one says Marianne is compromised, they do seem to agree she is rather wild.

      Driving in an open carriage with a member of the opposite sex seems to have been generally permitted, perhaps because it was done publicly on open roads and where anyone could see, as opposed to walking alone on a footpath.

      Interesting points!

  6. Loved your post and I totally agree. That’s what makes it so fun for our modern day JAFF authors…the speculation!

  7. I loved your post and, yes, I agree there is a great deal of impropriety. I do also believe that Darcy has social ineptness and is shy and uptight. Lizzie is a free spirit and the only person she cold be attracted to would be another person with a free spirit. I’ll put it another way, if Lizzie were fons of horseback riding she would’ve found a way to ride astride. Thanks for a wonderful post, Abigail.

    • I love that analogy, and agree totally that Lizzy would have found a way to ride astride – at least in private! I agree about Darcy being socially inept, and one big question is how much of his ignoring of rules is a result of not understanding them fully versus deciding they don’t apply to him.

  8. I wonder if Jane Austen did the same thing, broke the same rules, so she did not think them important in her The late 1700s and early 1800s were very different. I think it was a transitional period in manners and propriety in much the same way the country was in transition waiting for the old king to die. The earlier period was different and IS WHAT SHE GREW UP WITH (caps deliberate). What was important in the 1770s/1780s? That was a much freer age. So maybe we should look a our couple written by an author 20 years younger than they are in the books. Propriety and its enforcement may not have been all it was cracked up to be!

  9. EDITED: I wonder if Jane Austen did the same thing, broke the same rules, so she did not think them important in her books.The late 1700s and early 1800s were very different. I think it was a transitional period in manners and propriety in much the same way the country was in transition waiting for the old king to die. The earlier period was different and IS WHAT SHE GREW UP WITH (caps deliberate). What was important in the 1770s/1780s? That was a much freer age. So maybe we should look a our couple written by an author 20 years older than they are in the books. Propriety and its enforcement at that time may not have been all it was cracked up to be!

    • I don’t know enough of the manners of the 1780s to comment. The double standard of the Regency was rules of propriety for unmarried women versus a complete ignoring of those rules for women of the ton once they were married. I often wonder how they managed to justify it all in their heads! And I agree that JA broke rules – she even talks about it in her letters.

  10. There is a suggestion in the writings of Frances Trollope (either ‘Paris and the Parisians’ or the Domestic Manners of the Americans’) that solitary walks might not be considered to be so horrible. She was writing in the early 1830s and the books are interesting, not only for her observations on French and American societies, but also for the biases she reveals as an Englishwoman.

    In one passage, an American man visiting England expressed his surprise when he was permitted to go riding alone with the daughter of his host. As the daughter told him, in England, a gentleman who was a friend of the house was expected to behave honorably. There was no need for either of them to scurry away so as not to taint her reputation.

    I’m guessing courting couples were supposed to be chaperoned, because it was expected that they might get into mischief. This wouldn’t be the case for ordinary visitors.

    • Interesting point about Frances Trollope. I’ll have to read about that. Riding may have been different than walking along simply because they’re on horseback and unlikely to be touching each other, but I don’t know. Miss Bingley disapproved of Elizabeth scampering about the countryside and Darcy agreed he would not want Georgiana to do so, so it clearly wasn’t fully acceptable.

      Mary Russell Mitford wrote in 1814, “It is impossible not to feel in every line of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ in every word of ‘Elizabeth,’ the entire want of taste which could produce so pert, so worldly a heroine as the beloved of such a man as Darcy.” From what I have read, she was not the only one who felt Elizabeth was unladylike and improper. But we can only guess based on the little evidence we have!

  11. I have always chosen to think that women writers in Austen’s time and on, were the forefront to emancipation for women. Very cleverly Austen wrote about relationships that were not conforming to society’s strict rules. This is what made books written by women the most interesting and intriguing of this time period. That they, (female writers… Gaskell, Bronte, Austen, Shelley, et al. ) would inject small innuendos and clever underlying and incredibly brash story lines / dialogue in their books was brilliant. A viable way of writing about dissension amongst women in this era, a way to secretly talk about issues, yet so subtly, they were / are truly were great writers!
    Austen herself, a daughter of a rector, made two of her characters mock the institution by making them arrogant silly individuals!
    She could not have made a more poignant commentary with her depictions.
    Great Blog! love it! Ruth

    • I think she was quietly subversive as well! And JA certainly strove for her own emancipation in earning money through her writing. I was pleasantly surprised at how much she concerned herself with her earnings, even if she had to do all her negotiations through her brothers.

  12. We have to also remember E&D are in their twentys – totally invincible and immortal at that age. In the Hunsford letter Darcy excludes the older daughters from improper behavior? That may be partly because his behavior is the same as Elizabeths – or is it the new norm? I agree with Kathy Berlin that the times were changing, plus this is country behavior rather than Town.

    Did Jane Austen write a slightly scandalous novel or was there a lot of snickering and winking going on when read by her contemporaries? Two hundred years have past since the original and all the innuendos in the novel are difficult to decipher – subtlety gets lost over time. The re-visioning by current writers is what keeps me lurking around the JAFF sites. Keep the novels coming!

    • A good point about E&D being at an invincible and immortal age!

      Country behavior may have allowed things Town wouldn’t, but that doesn’t excuse Darcy for his behavior. And again I’ll quote Mary Russell Mitford – a country girl if there ever was one – in 1814, “”It is impossible not to feel in every line of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ in every word of ‘Elizabeth,’ the entire want of taste which could produce so pert, so worldly a heroine as the beloved of such a man as Darcy.” So it wasn’t acceptable country behavior everywhere!

      So much does get lost over time, but it’s fascinating to try to tease out whatever we can!

      • I love this quote from Mitford: “Darcy should have married Jane. ” LOL they would both have been miserable. Frankly, I think Mitford was a spiteful cat, spewing gossip from relatives and acquaintances. She sounds like a Caroline Bingley. IMO 🙂

        I still wonder what motive CB had to warn Elizabeth away from Wickham – a true act of kindness?

        • Hmm… Caroline’s ‘warning’ to Elizabeth always read as gossip to me. It comes off as ‘I know something you don’t know’. Caroline shares what she ‘knows’ because she can look down on both Lizzy and Wickham with the communication; on Wickham because of his decent, and Lizzy for showing a preference for a man who isn’t an actual ‘gentleman’.

  13. Thank you! Wonderful post. I find that people have put Darcy on a pedestal. Yes, Darcy was rude, but so were most men of his rank. If he shocked Meryton, it was probably because, with Netherfield vacant, there had been no people of rank about to compare behavior. They were products of middle-class sensibilities that were stricter than the upper and lower classes. Lydia and Kitty are typical teenagers. We know that the part of the brain that regulates behavior does not mature until the early twenties, so young people of every era got into trouble. I was once criticized for a book where Mr. Darcy is writing to Elizabeth–something he would never do, BUT HE CLEARLY DID DO IT! His letter is famous. And if he wasn’t doing these things, I would be worried about him. My two cents.

    • Yes, we do tend to put Darcy on a pedestal, don’t we? He could indeed get away with being rude like any other rich and powerful man, but we also know he gives offense to many people even when he doesn’t mean to. I agree about the teenage brain, and it’s important to remember Georgiana Darcy was also willing to run off with George Wickham with the promise of marriage. There’s a tendency to see her as better regulated than Lydia, but she made the same mistake.

      • Wonderful post, Abigail! I agree with you and Mary that we put Darcy on a pedestal. So many love MM’s portrayal of a shy Darcy, but in my opinion, that just isn’t what Jane Austen wrote. MM admitted that he had never read canon and went by the screenplay, and I have always wondered how different his portrayal would have been if they had included the line near the end where Darcy says, “I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child, I was taught what was right; but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit.”

        Darcy was certainly uncomfortable in social settings and with strangers, but he was indeed rude and conceited. Part of what we love about Darcy is that he was able to admit that he was wrong and tend to his faults. Because of his love for Elizabeth, he addressed his behaviour and showed her his true character.

        Neither Darcy or Elizabeth were all that was proper, but that is what makes them so perfect for JAFF. There are so many situations they can find themselves in as a result of their improprieties. That is part of why I love writing their characters!

        • MM not only went by the screenplay, he decided to base Darcy on his own personality. “I’m shy with strangers, so Darcy is probably shy, too.”

          He ‘Mary-Sued’ the role.

  14. Hi Abigail,

    It’s been a long time since we’ve chatted.

    I always equated the 19th century Regency era to the 20th century’s roaring 20s. Okay, equated might be the wrong word, but both were their century’s “wild time.” So I can see how Austen’s characters were a little less concerned about propriety. They were also in the country, where life’s generally a little more laid back.

    There are points where I agree with you wholeheartedly, however. One being the letter. That was pushing it way out, and probably why he would have wanted it destroyed after she read it.

    Austen managed to get a good many of her characters to do things that weren’t considered proper for the time. All of her stories have characters that are, well, ill-behaved.

    By the same token, I feel some of her villains are just not bad enough. I have to think that she either just didn’t know about the more evil aspects of life or she felt she had to draw the line at misbehaving heroes and heroines.

    • Hi Aimee,

      I’d take it one degree farther – I’d say the Regency era was even more dissolute than the roaring 20s, especially among the ton. One reason I avoid writing about Darcy in London most of the time is because so much behavior there was so shocking! But at the same time, there were such expectations of propriety for unmarried women. I really can’t wrap my head around it.

      I agree that JA doesn’t tend to portray truly evil behavior. The one place I do get a tinge of it is in Mansfield Park when Henry Crawford decides to seduce Fanny because he’s bored and because he wants to leave ‘a hole in her heart.’ That one really does give me the creeps!

  15. This blog post was quite enlightening to me regarding Darcy’s improper behavior. For some time now I have been wondering about his relationship with Miss Bingley. It seems that most fan fiction depicts Miss Bingley’s relationship as being one-sided from her with no encouragement (and no discouragement) from him. However, the two of them were strolling through the shrubbery, arm in arm, without a chaperone, when Elizabeth and Mrs. Hurst encountered them. I assume that this was not an isolated occurrence with them as they seem to be very comfortable with each other, even with their less than proper conversation. He also was a ready accomplice with Miss Bingley in criticising the Bennet family and also with joining her in the scheme to separate her brother from Jane. It makes me wonder if his improper behavior with Miss Bingley was what led her to believe that she could have a future with him as his wife. If so, it is no wonder she felt such animosity for Elizabeth.

    • It’s an interesting question about Miss Bingley. I don’t know if Darcy meant to encourage her or not, but certainly his habit of joining her in her nasty comments about the Bennets does suggest a certain intimacy, as does the walking through the shrubbery, not to mention inviting her to Pemberley. It would certainly be reasonable for Miss Bingley to see that as encouragement and to resent Elizabeth for it. I tend to think Miss Bingley gets a bad rap in JAFF by being made into the villain of the piece when actually she’s doing precisely what young women were supposed to do and to catch a husband. The only thing she’s really guilty of in P&P is being a snob, and that went with the territory in society then.

  16. Actually, the scene in the Drawing Room at Netherfield Park I feel came from Darcy’s disgust with Caroline. He really did not care how rude he was to her. He wanted to let her know directly that he understood her plots and blandishments. Almost all women wore dresses of this type as it was the style — and had been for over 10 years. He wanted to try to embarrass her; however, it takes a lot to embarrass Caroline. He really should not even have bothered. I think he was trying to dissuade Elizabeth from the parade.

    • That’s a good way of looking at it. Another possibility is that Caroline knew Darcy might say something like that and hoped it would shock Elizabeth into thinking Darcy the worst sort of rake. What a pity we can’t ask them!

  17. I didn’t realize that the behaviours of the main characters would have been seen as poor or scandalous by readers in Jane Austen’s own time!

  18. My thanks to Abigail and to all who made this discussion so fascinating and enlightening! I certainly feel the need to re-read many many things. 🙂

    • I love it when I keep discovering new things in P&P. One time I had to step in and give an impromptu hour-long talk, and I decided to discuss all the things I didn’t understand in P&P until I started all this research — and yes, I could go on for an hour without any problem!

  19. Thank you for writing this post, because as clueless as I am about Regency etiquette, I had no idea about any of this! Quite an enlightening read!

  20. First, thank you Abigail for your delightful body of works.

    Your post and all the quite-well-thought-out comments and responses were thought provoking. Obviously, it’s time for me to read P&P again because I can at this time only allude to the scenes in my head and not the actual dialogue word for word. I have thought about Darcy’s behavior often and wondered just what the heck was going on in his head. I recently (wish I could remember where) read that none of JA’s books give us scenes where there are conversations going on between men. What? Apparently that is true. She wasn’t privy to those kind of conversations so we don’t get to experience them. Ok. The movies obviously take license in showing scenes that weren’t in the book, and we’re glad they did because it adds romance. Darcy’s dive into the pond, anyone??? My favorite one is the fencing scene in the ’95 TV version.

    Anyway, I personally think that at the time Darcy shows up in Meryton with Bingley, his previously regulated and rule driven (albeit the lofty sphere he inhabits) world is crumbling to ash around him. Someone like him would not normally have had to take over an estate like Pemberly at such a tender age. How old was he in P&P? He was supposed to be Georgiana’s senior by I think, eleven years. She was 15 that summer before the fall in Meryton. So he was 26-27. And his father had passed away 5 years before this story begins. He had to grow up excessively fast. And we all agree he did a remarkable job. But HE must have been roiling inside even just a few months later with how his careful (he thought at the time) chaperoning of Georgiana had nearly come to complete disaster. He’s had to deal repeatedly with the profligate Wickham, monetarily and emotionally.

    Then he meets someone who completely knocks him on his proverbial hiney. THAT upsets his delicate balance too! Elizabeth is not the kind of creature he is supposed to be attracted to at all. She doesn’t follow the rules. She’s in danger of being taken in by Wickham herself. We really don’t know what he thinks but we interpret. We DO have his disastrous, cringe-worthy proposal to go by. Parts of that were kind of nice. You could take his ‘in vain I have struggled’ bit differently if he hadn’t followed it with such a thorough trashing of her background and family. He is supposed to be attracted to someone like Caroline. But where have the attitudes of that society gotten him to now. They are false, mean spirited, even predatory. He believes the worst of Mrs. Bennet too, of course, for good reason. But, after the (to him) completely unexpected refusal and downright slap in the face put-down Elizabeth delivers, he REALLY falls apart. He has nothing else to lose, pride-wise. Breaks even more rules, Writes that shocking letter. And goes home. And obviously he changes….we all like consistency when it is noble, but we all like change when it is so divine!!!!

    I think he was breaking rules left and right and different parts of his brain were realizing it and parts were not. He needed Elizabeth in his life. For the rest of his life.

    • An excellent point about Darcy being a mess by the time he arrives at the Meryton assembly. He has failed at one of his most important tasks, taking care of Georgiana. I’ve been rethinking his rudeness at the assembly recently, though. I’ve learned that whenever JA gives us a stage direction, it’s important. When Bingley initially tells Darcy he should dance with Elizabeth, Darcy looks around to see her. If he were dead set against dancing, he wouldn’t bother looking. He doesn’t deliver his set-down until he catches her eye – “”Which do you mean?” and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me…”” When he catches her eye, that means he knows she is looking at him and presumably hoping for an invitation to dance. Most of the young women in the room want to dance with him for a chance to bag him as a husband. So when he catches Elizabeth looking encouragingly at him, he reasonably decides she’s a fortune-hunter, and decides to nip that in the bud by insulting her. Unfortunately for him, she just wanted to dance!

      • Ah ha. Good point about stage direction. Like I said, I have to go back and read P&P again soon. I know my previous comments weren’t really original….but those were things that stood out to me.

        The more non-JAFF Regency I read by authors who do a lot of research of the time period, I have to believe there were plenty of irresponsible estate owners who did not act as honorably or responsibly as Darcy did for Pemberley and for his family and friends.

        Thank you so very much for your wonderful stories. I have to reread those, too!

        • Yes, sadly it seems Darcy was more the exception than the rule in being a responsible landlord. Many young landowners had already gambled their fortunes away by his age. Of course, many of the ton would say he was irresponsible in choosing to marry Elizabeth rather than a woman with a dowry to make up for the loss of Georgiana’s dowry when she marries. Fortunately for all of us, he followed his heart anyway!

          As for not being original, I think a lot of people tend to underestimate the stress Darcy was under at the beginning of the book! So well done for thinking it through!

  21. Excellent article! I’m so glad to have that clarified because the more I researched Regency etiquette and proper decorum the more I realized it just didn’t match up with what JA wrote. After a while I’ve wondered how anyone became engaged during that period without having to bend some of the rules of propriety.

    Also, I wonder how many rules were just overlooked or not strictly followed because it was tedious or troublesome to follow all the time. After all, maybe no one would want to walk or be available to walk with Elizabeth so she just set off by herself. If you’re in the middle of reading a good book, it’s annoying at best to leave the library because another person walked in or wait for the other person to leave. Though it was improper, no one seems really concerned about it and maybe the rules were bend more often than we think but stating it out loud would be scandalous.

    This actually makes me think of a scene in Northanger Abbey where Catherine goes riding with in an open carriage with Mr. Thorpe. She’s reluctant to go because she’s not sure if it’s proper or not. After getting permission from Mrs. Allen, they set off. Afterwards, Mr. Allen says he didn’t think that was quite proper and Mrs. Allen agrees with him. Catherine gets upset and says something along the lines of “Why did you tell me to go if you thought it was improper? I never would have gone if you told me it was improper!” Mrs. Allen’s opinions change depending on who she is talking with (I don’t recall her ever having an original opinion in the novel), so I wonder if these things were improper only because they were written down and to say they weren’t would have been scandalous. It could be that the rules weren’t clear all the time.

    We know that JA’s writings reflected people and society she saw. She certainly didn’t follow the rules set before her and I wonder how many women she knew or saw in her time that didn’t bend the rules at least a little bit. Maybe it was just another way to poke fun at society and it’s rules. Elizabeth’s polite defiance of Lady Catherine about her sisters all being out at once is a good example of this. (Why should my younger sister’s miss out if my sister and I aren’t married yet or inclined to be married? Granted we all know how that turned out.)

    • I’d forgotten about that scene in Northanger Abbey. Great example!

      This is just my opinion, but I sometimes think Regency couples got engaged without knowing much about each other. From the first time Jane Bennet meets Bingley till the Netherfield Ball is just six weeks. Assuming they are unlikely to be at the same social event more than twice a week, and mostly they’d be talking to other people, the truth is that they barely know each other at the point where they both are ready to think about marriage.

      I expect a lot of rules were bent, too, especially by Jane Austen herself!

  22. What a fascinating discussion! Abigail, you always bring a new perspective that I quite enjoy. I never really thought overmuch about the propriety of the times and how JA’s characters might have bent the rules, except for Marianne. When I read S&S for the first time as a teenager in the early 70’s, her behavior seemed wild even for me – it felt akin to my riding around on the back of the town bad boy’s motorcycle (my parents would have KILLED me!). But the ‘misbehavior’ in JA’s other novels was too subtle for me to pick up on and I will enjoy watching for these clues when I do my biannual reading of her Complete Works.

    • It’s interesting how it changes with the point of view character. We see more of Elinor’s point of view in S&S, and Marianne does indeed seem wild. If Jane Bennet were the POV character in P&P instead of Elizabeth, would we see some of Elizabeth’s behavior as wild? I love thinking these things through!

  23. Thank You Ms Reynolds for your comments on the unmannerly 18th century behaviors Elizabeth and Darcy in Miss Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice.” I have often wondered about their walks alone together in the country-side, and the unmarried and unrelated Mr Darcy giving a letter to unmarried Elizabeth. Miss Austen certainly wrote social commentary into her text. Roberta, NYC

  24. Thank you, Abigail, for this excellent post! I never thought of the extent to which Darcy & Elizabeth engaged in improper behavior, but you have certainly made your point convincingly. Now it is clear why the steamy, pre-marital love scenes you often write for them make sense – these scenes would have been consistent with their “pushing the envelope.” It is also clear why they are so perfect for one another. I am just glad I did not grow up during Regency times – growing up a tomboy and playing sports all the time, I would have been climbing trees and running through the woods just like Lizzy! Good grief – Miss Bingley would have had apoplexy! Thank you again for all the great work that you do.

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