Pride and Prejudice: Geology

Great Novel, Great Novelist

Jane Austen is such an incredible writer that she paints accurate portraits of her characters with a single deft stroke of her pen.

Which brings me to our topic of the day.  There’s a single line in the chapter where Liz is about to embark on her trip to Derbyshire.

She’s in agony because that’s the same county where “you know who” resides.

She considers the odds, and figures it’s safe to enter the county without seeing “him.”

And what will she be safe doing in Derbyshire?

Here’s her own words:

“But surely,” said she, “I may enter his county with impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me.”

Petrified spars?  What in the world is she talking about?

Rocks, minerals, things of interest to people who like nature in pieces.

According to this, maybe it was a common touristy thing to do.  However, I think that Jane was showing us a deeper side to Lizzy that she hadn’t been able to do earlier.

I’m going to go out on a stalactite here and suggest that maybe Liz was deeper than most young ladies of the era.  Perhaps she had a genuine interest in geology, minerals, rocks in general.

And why not?  Girls can be geologists.  Even girls from 200 years ago.

So the next time someone suggests that all Lizzy does during P&P is sit around, needlepoint, practice piano, and fret about Jane, Bingley, and you-know-who, tell them they have rocks for brains.

They might take it as a compliment.