Dialogue from Film – “Pride and Prejudice” (1940) ~~Lady Catherine~~

Lady Catherine de Bourgh has come to home of Elizabeth Bennet, and asked for a private meeting with her.

Lady Catherine:
Miss Bennet, a report has reached me of an alarming nature.
I was told that you, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, were shortly to be engaged to my nephew, Mr Darcy.
Of course I could not believe this report could possibly be true.
Nevertheless, I immediately resolved upon setting out to see you.

Elizabeth:
If it could not possibly be true, Madame, I wonder you gave yourself the trouble of coming so far.

Lady Catherine:
I came to insist upon the report being universally contradicted.

Elizabeth:
But won’t your coming here seem – to rather confirm it.

Lady Catherine:
Insolent headstrong girl!
I’m ashamed of you.
Is this your gratitude for my attention to you at Rosings?
Miss Bennet, I am not to be trifled with.
Has my nephew made you an offer of marriage?

Elizabeth:
You have declared that to be impossible.

Lady Catherine:
Impossible? I have the power to make it impossible.
Are you aware that, as trustee of my sister’s estate, I can strip Mr Darcy of every shilling he has?
And if he were to marry against my wishes, I should not hesitate in carrying out my power.
Now, what have you to say?

Elizabeth:
Nothing whatever. I take no interest in matters that are none of my business.

Lady Catherine:
Oh. Bold words, my girl, bold words.
But remember this!
Marry him and you will be poor.

Elizabeth:
That would be no novelty for me, Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine:
Once and for all, are you engaged to him?

Elizabeth:
No, I am not.

Lady Catherine:
Ahh, and will you promise me never to enter into such an engagement?

Elizabeth:
No, I will not.

Lady Catherine:
Ah ha, so you do expect him to propose to you.

Elizabeth:
I have no right to expect anything.
Excepting perhaps, never to see him again.

Lady Catherine:
What! Do you have the impertinence to pretend that he isn’t in love with you?

Elizabeth:
I can’t imagine that he would be. Not now.

Lady Catherine:
Then why his kind consideration for your sister?
Was that the act of a man who isn’t in love?

Elizabeth:
I don’t know what you’re talking about?

Lady Catherine:
Possibly you don’t.
But that rascal, Wickham does. Imagine it, my nephew Darcy, scouring the courts and alleys of London looking for him; Huh, setting him up with an income, forcing him to marry that silly little – flibberty gibbert!

Elizabeth:
Did he do that?
Ohhh, thank you for telling me, Lady Catherine, thank you.

Lady Catherine:
I will not be thanked. Let us have no more of this mammering, Miss Bennet.
I shall not leave this house until you have given me the assurance for which I ask.

Elizabeth:
In that case, Lady Catherine, I’d better ring for the butler.
He will show you to your bedroom, or if you decide after all, not to stay, he will conduct you to your carriage.

Butler:
Yes, Miss Elizabeth.

Elizabeth:
Oh Matthews, I have the impression that her Ladyship wishes to be taken to her carriage.
(… pause …) Goodbye, Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine:
I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send no compliments to your mother.
You deserve no such attention. I am seriously displeased.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh leaves the Bennet house and returns to her carriage where Mr Darcy is waiting.

Darcy:
Well?

Lady Catherine:
A blank refusal.

Darcy:
She refuses to see me?

Lady Catherine:
She refuses not to see you.

Darcy:
Did she?

Lady Catherine:
Most impertinently! And that’s not the worst, Darcy.
I told her that I could strip you of your fortune if I chose to.
But she refused to be the least bit impressed!

Darcy:
You see?

Lady Catherine:
Yes, I see, Darcy.
I grant I was wrong about that.
But there’s one thing I can’t agree with.
You told me at Rosings – she was nothing if not decided!
That’s not true.
The young woman is positively obstinate!

Darcy:
What? Did she refuse anything else?

Lady Catherine:
Well, she may have refused to refuse to marry you!
Why, Darcy! Darcy! What manners!
Have you gone mad?

Darcy:
Yes, yes! Quite mad!
And I don’t believe I should ever be quite sane again!
But, you wouldn’t wish me to be, would you?
Lady Catherine:
No, I don’t think I would.
She’s right for you, Darcy.
You were a spoiled child.
But, we don’t want to go on spoiling you!
What you need is a woman who will stand up to you.
I think you’ve found her!
Well, Darcy, help me into my carriage!

 

picture-PrideAndPrejudice-Darcy

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1 Comment

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One response to “Dialogue from Film – “Pride and Prejudice” (1940) ~~Lady Catherine~~

  1. This film adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was released in 1940. It is quite different from the novel by Jane Austen, where this scene, with the visit of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is an authentic demand that Elizabeth promise never to marry Darcy, so that he would marry her own daughter instead.
    Aldous Huxley was one of the writers of the screenplay.

    Elizabeth Bennet: Greer Garson
    Fitzwilliam Darcy: Laurence Olivier
    Lady Catherine: Edna May Oliver

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