“HOW QUICK COME THE REASONS FOR APPROVING WHAT WE LIKE!” – Persuasion
To give you a little background on this part of the book, Darcy has had a head injury and has problems remembering that he has already proposed to Elizabeth. She is under doctor’s orders to placate him and not agitate him, which includes avoiding a flat out refusal when he proposes again. In this scene, Darcy is confined to the chaise so he has come up with a plan that he thinks is foolproof. He has asked Elizabeth to dictate a love letter, in which, she is fully aware is for herself, and the letter happens to be the fourth proposal in just as many days. Enjoy!
Darcy cleared his throat. “Miss Elizabeth?”
She turned around. “Yes?”
“I wish to propose to this lady but do not know how best to ask it. How would you like to be proposed to?”
She chuckled because his question could be taken two different ways. She thought she would play with him again. “At the moment, I am content with my life and do not feel the need to secure a husband.” She smiled back at him.
He looked confused for a moment, and then a small smile crossed his lips. “I think you mistake my meaning. I was not asking would you like to be proposed to. I was asking in what manner would you like to be proposed to.”
She felt the humor of the situation and let out a laugh. “I know, Mr. Darcy. I was only teasing. But if you are truly asking in what manner I would like to be proposed to, then give me a moment to consider the question. If I disliked the man, then it would not matter how he proposed, for I would not accept him. If I respected the man but did not love him, then his words and sincerity would matter a great deal, but I still would probably not accept him.” She paused. She carefully considered her words, for surely the next comment was the answer he was seeking.
“And if you loved the man? What then? What words could he say to make you accept him?”
Elizabeth was pensive for quite a few minutes. She kept opening her mouth to speak her thoughts, but she was so shocked at her own view that it nearly made her stutter. “If I loved the man, then once again it would not matter how he proposed.” As soon as she said it, she knew it was true.
“Because you would accept him . . . am I right?”
She nodded. She was speechless. Why did this revelation matter so much? She had considered three scenarios. In the first and the last––whether she disliked the man or loved the man––her answers were the same; it would not matter how he proposed. Then, why was she so critical of Mr. Darcy’s proposals?
If I respected the man, but did not love him . . . her words seemed to roll around in her head like a lead weight. Is that how she felt about Mr. Darcy? Did she respect the man yet not love him? Could she now refer to him as a friend? Is that why the method and words he used to propose held so much meaning? For so many months, she had told herself how much she disliked him. If that were true, then his method of proposing would not have mattered to her in the slightest. She would have turned him down without a second thought, as she had Mr. Collins. If she had disliked him, she would have been merely amused by a poor proposal. But she had not been amused. His words and sincerity would matter a great deal . . . Yes, Darcy’s words and sincerity had mattered a great deal to her.
I hope you approve of this excerpt. I was excited to share it with you all. This is the fun part of editing; you get to see your work turn into something that is polished and beautified . . . but then again, I might be biased, I am the author after all. But, as Jane Austen says in Persuasion, “How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!”
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