[image source: Rotten Tomatoes.]
Our Friday Hoyden this week is fictional, but she’s a character that many of us identify with or would like to identify with – Elizabeth Bennet.
Even when she was completely wrong, Elizabeth held the courage of her convictions. She was intelligent, intense, and almost never lost for words. She quietly but confidently defied gender-based expectations. She eschewed meaningless rituals, hierarchies, and “accomplishments” wherever possible. She was acutely aware of the limited options available to women – even “gentlewomen” – and while she was not exactly a revolutionary, she did refuse to go meekly or quietly. She was not deferential, shy, or apologetic. She walked when she could ride, she ran when she could walk, and she was not precious about dust or mud or sweat or convention.
So: My favourite Lizzy bits. Add your own.
In Meryton they parted; the two youngest repaired to the lodgings of one of the officers’ wives, and Elizabeth continued her walk alone, crossing field after field at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view of the house, with weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise.
She was shown into the breakfast-parlour, where all but Jane were assembled, and where her appearance created a great deal of surprise. — That she should have walked three miles so early in the day, in such dirty weather, and by herself, was almost incredible to Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley; and Elizabeth was convinced that they held her in contempt for it.
“Indeed, Sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. — I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner.”
Mr. Darcy with grave propriety requested to be allowed the honour of her hand; but in vain. Elizabeth was determined; nor did Sir William at all shake her purpose by his attempt at persuasion.
“You excel so much in the dance, Miss Eliza, that it is cruel to deny me the happiness of seeing you; and though this gentleman dislikes the amusement in general, he can have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one half hour.”
“Mr. Darcy is all politeness,” said Elizabeth, smiling.
“He is indeed — but considering the inducement, my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance; for who would object to such a partner?”
Elizabeth looked archly, and turned away.
“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault — because I would not take the trouble of practising.
[to Mr Collins]
“Upon my word, Sir,” cried Elizabeth, “your hope is rather an extraordinary one after my declaration. I do assure you that I am not one of those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) who are so daring as to risk their happiness on the chance of being asked a second time. I am perfectly serious in my refusal. — You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who would make you so.”
[to Mr Darcy]
“In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot — I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly.
[image source: BBC]