How many of you have seen the mini-series Pride and Prejudice? My wife and I enjoyed watching it a number of times.
The relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett was interesting. Darcy was a very proud and somewhat arrogant fellow, but I soon came to believe that his arrogance and rude manners sprang from a certain shyness and discomfort in social settings rather than from any true meanness of character.
I sympathized with Darcy. He was awkward in the presence of strangers. He did not know how to make small talk, and he tended to show his unease by an appearance of aloofness. I could understand Darcy’s feelings and actions. As a teenager and young adult, I often had the same experience. I was shy and uncomfortable and did not mix easily with the crowd. I tried to bluff my way through my discomfiture and project a sureness that I did not feel. Like many of us, I was a tender reed and easily bruised. Growing up is not an easy thing to do.
When Darcy and Elizabeth met at Lady Catherine’s, Darcy confessed to Elizabeth that he lacked social skills. Elizabeth expressed little sympathy. She said that her musical skill was limited, but she conceived that the proper response was more practice rather than excuses. In other words, Darcy should work on his social graces. A few days later Elizabeth gave Darcy a humiliating putdown when he asked for her hand in marriage.
Later, when they met at Pemberly, Darcy was extremely gracious in his reception of Elizabeth and the Gardiners. It appeared that Darcy had taken Elizabeth’s advice to heart. They were well on the way towards a happy ending.
In a previous post I discussed talent. To certain extent, one’s personality also seems to be an inborn trait. Some people appear to be naturally open and gregarious, others are shy introverts. If either tendency proves a handicap, it may be overcome to some extent by practice and training, but never completely.