Last night I was thinking about Jane Austen’s novels, and what the movies are missing, or particularly what I would like to see in an adaptation. I’m sure you have all thought about this before, and rather than spending time wondering why I am not consulted I decided to put all my ideas on the table and see if you agree. Today- Pride and Prejudice.
Any of the books, to be done well, would have to appear as a six part mini-series. Thus The BBC / A&E version of Pride and Prejudice comes closest to approaching perfection as any adaptation can. When life gets a little heavy or the stress is too much, curling up on the couch with this bit of heaven and drifting off to Austen World is just the remedy.
So having said all that, is there anything I would change or add? Yes! And on a five hour show, what are a few more minutes?
During the period when Jane is sick at Netherfield there is another delightful scene chiefly between Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. It shows off Mr. Bingley’s wit, which is usually ignored and in place he is just Mr. Super-Nice guy. The scene establishes the group as good friends, teasing, witty and playful with each other. Here is a portion of the chapter.
"Oh!" cried Miss Bingley, "Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest."
"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them -- by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents."
"Your humility, Mr. Bingley," said Elizabeth, "must disarm reproof."
"Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, "than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."
"And which of the two do you call my little recent piece of modesty?"
"The indirect boast; for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting. The power of doing anything with quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning that if you ever resolved on quitting Netherfield you should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort of panegyric, of compliment to yourself -- and yet what is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no real advantage to yourself or any one else?"
"Nay," cried Bingley, "this is too much, to remember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. And yet, upon my honour, I believed what I said to myself to be true, and I believe it at this moment. At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of needless precipitance merely to shew off before the ladies."
"I dare say you believed it; but I am by no means convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. Your conduct would be quite as dependant on chance as that of any man I know; and if, as you were mounting your horse, a friend were to say, 'Bingley, you had better stay till next week,' you would probably do it, you would probably not go -- and at another word, might stay a month."
"You have only proved by this," cried Elizabeth, "that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own disposition. You have shewn him off now much more than he did himself."
"I am exceedingly gratified," said Bingley, "by your converting what my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of my temper. But I am afraid you are giving it a turn which that gentleman did by no means intend; for he would certainly think the better of me if, under such a circumstance, I were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I could."
"Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intention as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?"
"Upon my word I cannot exactly explain the matter -- Darcy must speak for himself."
"You expect me to account for opinions which you chuse to call mine, but which I have never acknowledged. Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your representation, you must remember, Miss Bennet, that the friend who is supposed to desire his return to the house, and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it without offering one argument in favour of its propriety."
"To yield readily -- easily -- to the persuasion of a friend is no merit with you."
"To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either."
"You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and affection. A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request without waiting for arguments to reason one into it. I am not particularly speaking of such a case as you have supposed about Mr. Bingley. We may as well wait, perhaps, till the circumstance occurs before we discuss the discretion of his behaviour thereupon. But in general and ordinary cases between friend and friend, where one of them is desired by the other to change a resolution of no very great moment, should you think ill of that person for complying with the desire, without waiting to be argued into it?"
"Will it not be advisable, before we proceed on this subject, to arrange with rather more precision the degree of importance which is to appertain to this request, as well as the degree of intimacy subsisting between the parties?"
"By all means," cried Bingley; "let us hear all the particulars, not forgetting their comparative height and size; for that will have more weight in the argument, Miss Bennet, than you may be aware of. I assure you that, if Darcy were not such a great tall fellow, in comparison with myself, I should not pay him half so much deference. I declare I do not know a more awful object than Darcy, on particular occasions, and in particular places; at his own house especially, and of a Sunday evening, when he has nothing to do."
Mr. Darcy smiled; but Elizabeth thought she could perceive that he was rather offended, and therefore checked her laugh.
***There you go. Wouldn’t you love to see that scene? Bingley is so funny, I love the line “he would certainly think the better of me if, under such a circumstance, I were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I could." It is SO Jane Austen, and reminds me of her juvenilia, as does the line about ‘comparative height and size’ making Darcy an ‘awful object.’
Well, that’s about enough for today. Life has been busy this week, and I’m lamenting the fact that I haven’t had much time to spend on my dress, even as I spend an hour posting to my blog.
Cute Vintage Fairy Girl Costume Image!
58 minutes ago