It’s such a pleasure to appear once again on My Jane Austen Book Club. It’s very kind of you, Maria Grazia, to allow me to stop by on my Mysterious Mr. Darcy blog tour today, especially when I was held up by the flu and had to delay my visit.
Maria asked me if I could talk about my preferred scenes from Pride and Prejudice. I must admit I found it difficult to narrow them down – well, I love anything and everything to do with P&P! However, in the end, I realised I did have some particular ones I love to watch, so I have chosen three of them. Okay, they are not necessarily the top three, since obviously there are more major scenes like the proposals that are the top. However, these are the scenes that really linger in my mind, for better or for worse.
- From Pride and Prejudice 2005: The hand scene outside Netherfield
I love this short scene for various reasons. It’s a masterpiece of body language. The dialogue – what little there is of it – is formal and inane, but visually the scene speaks volumes. First, I really like the first part where Miss Bingley and Elizabeth are walking. Their body language is so different. The shot brings out Miss Bingley’s character very well – her voice is so snide and condescending. Elizabeth is being sarcastic, of course, when she calls Miss Bingley’s company stimulating, and I love the amused expression on her face.
But what clinches the scene for me is that oh, so swoon-worthy moment when Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth his hand to help her into the carriage.
It could have been a simple, routine gesture, but it’s so much more. I love, love, love Elizabeth’s reaction. That sidelong glance alone would do it for me. As for the puzzlement in her expression – it’s something I love to think about. Is she puzzled because she doesn’t know why he did it? Or is she trying to work out her own reaction to it that physical contact? Then she looks at him directly. Is this the first moment she notices Mr. Darcy as a man?
Next comes that fantastic moment when Darcy’s feelings become obvious to the viewer. Such a simple gesture, yet how much it conveys! We don’t even see Darcy’s face. The camera pans in to his hand. What we see is Darcy extending his fingers, but we know what he’s feeling. That touch has had a profound impact on him. He’s walking away, but his mind is completely on Elizabeth.
It’s a brief extract, but it communicates so much.
2. From Pride and Prejudice 1995: The bath/dog scene
I really like this brief episode. Darcy is taking a bath, which gives us an intimate moment with him. It’s one of those extra “behind-the-scenes” moments when we get a glimpse of the man behind the façade – quite literally stripped of his clothes [note – this is not a hot scene]. However, it’s very apparent that he is a gentleman living a life of luxury. The fact that he is provided with hot water for bathing by a servant in livery reminds us throughout of his social status. The view of him actually in the bath may or may not be to everyone’s taste (personally, I prefer the wet shirt scene) but to me the important aspect of this scene is what happens when he puts on his robe (or banyan) and looks out of the window. I love the way he comes to full awareness when he sees Elizabeth. While Elizabeth is playing tug with the dog, we see her entirely through Mr. Darcy’s eyes. Since she is unaware of being watched, she is completely unguarded and comes across as feisty and uninhibited. Strangely enough, she is wearing white and black, which matches the dog. I have no idea what that signifies, but it emphasises the unity between and the dog as they circle round. To me this is a pivotal moment for Mr. Darcy because he is utterly captivated by her natural playfulness.
- From Lost In Austen
If you haven’t seen Lost in Austen, then you really must, because it’s a crazy modern Pride and Prejudice inspired miniseries and I had so much fun with it. Yes, you have to suspend disbelief, and some characters like Miss Bingley don’t make sense, but if you don’t get too hung up on the modern to 19th century transitions, it’s a rollicking good comedy. In this time-slip series, Amanda Price is trying in vain to avoid disrupting the original Pride and Prejudice narrative, but she can’t help it. There are several memorable characters including the slimy Mr. Collins (shudder).
I picked this scene for various reasons. Firstly, Mr. Darcy is such a good imitation of Collin Firth! Secondly: I love the wet shirt scene. Thirdly: the setting is gorgeous. Last, but not least, who can resist Mr. Darcy? It’s very noble of Amanda to try, but what would you do?
And now to my new novel, Mysterious Mr. Darcy. I’ve picked a short scene related to the above. Elizabeth has been staying at Netherfield, and, as in the scene above, she is leaving for Longbourn.
If Mr. Bingley was surprised the next morning to find Mrs. Bennet calling on them again so soon, he did not show it. Mrs. Bennet declared she was impatient to have her dear daughter home and could not be without her for another day. This sudden change of sentiment seemed to him entirely natural, and he took it to be a mother’s concern for her daughter. He was not happy about it. He had been looking forward to spending some time with Miss Bennet, but it was not to be, and he could not object without revealing too much of his own feelings.
Miss Bennet was already much improved in any case, and had joined them briefly in a game of cards in the library the evening before.
As for Miss Bingley, she was gratified that Miss Bennet was leaving, since both her brother and Mr. Darcy were making too much of a fuss over what Caroline thought of as a trivial cold.
Mr. Darcy was startled by the news of Miss Bennet’s unexpected early departure and experienced a much stronger feeling of disappointment than he would have expected. He had grown accustomed to having her under the same roof, and the thought that her bedchamber would now be vacant left him with a feeling of emptiness. He hovered as she said her goodbyes and followed her out to the carriage. As she was about to get in, he held her back by asking her whether she had enough books to occupy her while she was recovering.
“Thank you, Mr. Darcy, I think I do.”
But he did not want her to go empty-handed. He wanted her to take something of his with her, something that would remind her of him.
“If you will wait just one moment, I believe I have something you will enjoy.”
He ran upstairs to bring her a copy of a book he had recently acquired. It was entitled, “The Landscape of Hertfordshire, with Scenic Walks.”
He hurried out to find Miss Bennet already seated inside the carriage, which was about to leave.
Elizabeth pulled down the window as he approached.
“I do believe you will like this, Miss Bennet, considering your interest in geography.”
She smiled, remembering their conversation. “Why, thank you Mr. Darcy. However, it was the geography of Cornwall that interested me.”
He smiled back. “I am not yet convinced of that. We will have to discuss the matter further.”
Mrs. Bennet, who was starting to fidget, leaned over.
“Thank you, Mr. Darcy, but we must take our leave. I do not wish Lizzy to be exposed to the cold for too long.”
“Of course.” He immediately felt guilty for his lack of consideration.
He bowed and stood back quickly to allow the carriage to move away, then followed it with his gaze until it became no more than a dot on the horizon.
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Monica can be described as a wanderer, opening her eyes to life in London and travelling ever since. She spent many years in the USA before coming back full circle to London, thus proving that the world is undeniably round.
Monica adores the Regency period and Jane Austen’s wit. She writes funny Jane Austen sequels and variations but has finally decided to get serious about Elizabeth and Darcy. At the moment, she lives with two cats, a teenager, and her own Mr. Darcy. She enjoys singing out of tune in the shower, visiting historical mansions, and warm weather.