Unlike the ridiculous statues in the latest movie, I consider the BBC swimming scene plausible. It does not occur in the original text, and I did not use it in A Man of Few Words. What I did try to convey--as the BBC series conveys--is how comfortable Darcy is on his own property.
|Mr. Darcy shows off Pemberley.|
Austen uses the housekeeper and Pemberley's grounds to clarify this; the BBC series uses the housekeeper, the swimming scene, and Darcy wandering about Pemberley with his dogs. I used Darcy doing his job as a landowner, the housekeeper, and my dad.
I've mentioned before that my dad, an introvert, is a prototype for Darcy. When Darcy and Elizabeth are waiting for the carriage to take her plus her aunt and uncle back to Lambton, my Darcy goes through the following:
"Would you like to step in?" Darcy asked, thinking he could show her the improvements he'd made to the flue in the drawing room fireplace, the latest expansion to the library. But she had already seen the house and declined. So Darcy stood beside her under the glowing summer sky and thought how marvelous it was that Elizabeth liked Pemberley.Every time my mom reads the part about "show her the improvements," she busts out laughing.
After I wrote it, though, it did occur to me that I was making Darcy sound rather like Mr. Collins bragging about shelves in his closets; when Elizabeth visits Hunsford, Mr. Collins also shows off his house.
|Mr. Collins' shelves in the closet.|
I think she is telling us more about Darcy. Although Elizabeth is half-joking when she says that she began to fall in love with Darcy at Pemberley, she half-isn't. As many critics have pointed out, Pemberley is Darcy. Everything and everyone about Pemberley has thrived due to Darcy's involvement, his character.
Compare this to Mr. Collins who uses his house not to illustrate his good sense (which he doesn't have) or his wife's good sense (which he doesn't appreciate) but his relationship to Lady Catherine. He also wants to make Elizabeth feel bad for "what she had lost in refusing him."
On the other hand, Darcy--who has also been rejected by Elizabeth at this point--uses the opportunity to rebuild his relationship with Elizabeth. I use the word "show off" about Darcy; it would be more accurate to say that Darcy puts his house/lands at the disposal of others. He suggests that Mr. Gardiner come and fish; he invites Elizabeth and the Gardiners in for refreshments; he eventually encourages Georgiana to invite them all for dinner. Pemberley is a place of interest and ease; it also exists in its own right as an entity. It is not there simply to bolster up Darcy's ego, something Mr. Collins would not understand.