While Lizzy may jokingly have begun to fall in love with Mr. Darcy upon "first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley," he had captured my heart many pages before when he asked Elizabeth during their dance at the Netherfield Ball, "What think you of books?" Especially with that little smile of his that Jane Austen is particular to note for our benefit. To a bibliophile like myself, that question is the most beguiling of conversation starters. Silly Lizzy in her little fit of Wickham-loving pique fails to be charmed, but the less prejudiced reader knows better.
Or, maybe I fell earlier still when Mr. Darcy said that a truly accomplished woman in his eyes must add to all feminine talents, civilities, and gentilities "something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading." Mr. Darcy: the ultimate embodiment of the thinking woman's hero!
What if Jane Austen had married her own Mr. Darcy? Happy for her to be the wife of such a man! Sad for us, since she would most likely have abandoned literary pursuits in her state of domestic felicity.
Explaining a long break
6 years ago