I’m going to do a short series of my favorite Jane Austen film proposal scenes. There will be three. Note: All of the posts in this series will contain serious spoilers.
My first proposal scene will be…
I love this scene. It’s so beautiful – the sun rising and coming up between them (by the way, that was pure accident – but what a lovely accident!) And the script is wonderful too. Let’s compare the script and the book.
LIZZIE: I couldn’t sleep
DARCY: Nor I. My aunt?
He stops, looking wretched.
LIZZIE Yes. She was here.
DARCY: How can I ever make amends for such behavior?
LIZZIE: After what you have done for Lydia and for all I know, for Jane also, it is I who should be making amends.
Darcy looks at her for one deep moment.
DARCY: You must know – surely you must know, that it was all for you.
Lizzie is still as stone.
DARCY: (cont’ d) You are too generous to trifle with me. I believe you spoke with my Aunt last night, and it has taught me to hope as I had scarcely allowed myself before. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me forever.
Lizzie is silent.
DARCY: (cont’d) If, however, your feelings have changed. .
Darcy looks at her. Something in her eyes gives him confidence.
DARCY: (cont’ d) I could, I would have to tell you, you have bewitched me body and soul and I love and love and love you. And never wish to be parted from you from this day on.
Lizzie looks at him very serious, very simple.
LIZZIE: Well, then.
Darcy takes a step towards her, one hand stretched out. Lizzie takes hold of his fingers.
LIZZIE: (cont’d) You’re hands are cold.
Darcy nods. Their heads touch as the sun rises behind them.
“Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature; and, for the sake of giving relief to my own feelings, care not how much I may be wounding your’s. I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister. Ever since I have known it, I have been most anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. Were it known to the rest of my family, I should not have merely my own gratitude to express.”
“I am sorry, exceedingly sorry,” replied Darcy, in a tone of surprise and emotion, “that you have ever been informed of what may, in a mistaken light, have given you uneasiness. I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was so little to be trusted.”
“You must not blame my aunt. Lydia’s thoughtlessness first betrayed to me that you had been concerned in the matter; and, of course, I could not rest till I knew the particulars. Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble, and bear so many mortifications, for the sake of discovering them.”
“If you will thank me,” he replied, “let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.”
Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. After a short pause, her companion added, “You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. Myaffections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”
Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change, since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances. The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight, diffused over his face, became him; but, though she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings, which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable.
I think that both the book and the script have their undeniable merits and I like both of them very, very much. (Although I must say the script was more romantic.)