Pride and Prejudice Chapter 43 Summary

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Elizabeth is nervous and excited as their carriage approaches Pemberley. Proper middle-class folk, like Elizabeth and her family, could visit grand estates belonging to people like Mr. Darcy. The housekeeper shows them around the house. Elizabeth is delighted with every beautiful detail and she can't help thinking about how she might have been mistress of it all as Darcy’s wife. Then she checks herself, realizing she would not have been able to invite her beloved aunt and uncle to visit if she had been because Darcy would think her relatives beneath him. When asked, the housekeeper informs them that the master is away but is expected tomorrow with friends. Mrs. Gardiner calls Elizabeth over to see a painting of Mr. Wickham. The housekeeper explains that Wickham was a son of late master's steward. He has gone in the army, she says, and has become very wild. Mrs. Gardiner smiles knowingly at Elizabeth, but Elizabeth could not return it. The housekeeper states positively that Mr. Darcy is the best landlord and the best master ever. She shows the rooms Mr. Darcy set up specifically to make his sister happy. Elizabeth begins to think maybe Mr. Darcy is a good man after all, and that she has really misjudged him. As they leave the house to go look at the gardens, Elizabeth and the Gardiners turn to look back. At that moment, Mr. Darcy arrives, and they see each other. Both Elizabeth and Darcy blush. He comes forward and greets her with perfect civility, his entire manner toward her different than before, and he inquires after her family. But both feel awkward and ill at ease and soon he turns to go. Elizabeth feels shame and chagrin, wondering how her appearance at his house must seem so vain. Yet she had never seen him in a gentler light than at this moment. Elizabeth can't keep from thinking about Darcy as they continue walking around the grounds, wondering what is in his mind right now and whether his feelings toward her have changed. As they head back towards the...
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