In chapter 56 of Pride & Prejudice, the Bennet’s and Bingley are in the dining room early in the morning when a carriage arrives containing Lady Catherine de Bourgh. She enters without so much as a word, but just a cold nod to Lizzy. After a bit of silence, Lady Catherine comments about how small Longbourn is and the inconvenient location of their sitting room. Mrs. Bennet assures her it is not a problem. Lady Catherine then asks if Lizzy will take her out to the lawn to show her the garden.
Once they are alone Lady Catherine tells Lizzy she must know why she has come. Lizzy assures her she does not. She tells Lizzy that not only has she heard of Jane’s engagement, but that she has head of Lizzy’s possible engagement to Darcy. She does not do her nephew the dissatisfaction of believing the news, but has come to confirm the falsehood of it with Lizzy. Lizzy questions why she came so far if she believed it to be false. They go back and forth with Lady Catherine insisting Lizzy confirm it is false, while Lizzy repeats back Lady Catherine’s declarations of it being impossible. Lady Catherine accuses Lizzy of using arts and allurements to draw Darcy in. Lizzy states that if she had done such a thing, she would never confess it. Lady Catherine feels she is entitled to know Darcy’s concerns as she is his closest living relative. Lizzy responds that while that may be so, she does not have to share her concerns. Lady Catherine tells Lizzy the match would never take place anyway as her daughter is engaged to Darcy. Lizzy tells her she cannot suppose he would make an offer to her then if he is already spoken for.
Lady Catherine explains that Darcy and her daughter were intended for each other since birth. It was arranged by his mother and her’s. Lizzy does not see why if that is the only reason they should marry, that Darcy may not choose another woman to be his wife. Lady Catherine tells her it would go against all decorum and Darcy would be slighted for his choice to marry someone of Lizzy’s class. She insists the cousins were intended for each other as they descend from the same noble line and fortune. She will not see them divided by a woman of Lizzy’s connections or fortune. Lizzy tells her that if Darcy does not object to her connections, then it should be no concern of hers. Lady Catherine demands to know if Lizzy is engaged to him. She admits that she is not. Lady Catherine wants her to promise she will never enter into an engagement with him. Lizzy cannot make such a promise. Lady Catherine says she will not leave until Lizzy promises never to accept a proposal from Darcy. Lizzy says she will never give it and finds her arguments to be frivolous. Her understanding of Lizzy’s character is quite off. Lady Catherine adds another objection, being that Lydia’s indiscretion in running off with Wickham has forever sullied the Bennet family name and would do the same to Darcy if he married Lizzy.
Lizzy is done with Lady Catherine now, as she has insulted both her and her family. Lady Catherine tells her she is a selfish girl if she will marry Darcy knowing that it will destroy his reputation. Lizzy informs her she will only act in ways that effect her happiness and will not reference anyone who is unconnected to her. Lady Catherine tells Lizzy she is determined to ruin Darcy in the opinion of his friends and the world. Lizzy informs her, that were any of those concerns true, she would not affect Darcy in that way by marrying him. Lady Catherine leaves and makes it quite known she is not pleased with Lizzy. When Lizzy reenters the house, Mrs. Bennet asks why Lady Catherine did not come back in. Lizzy tells her she chose not to. Mrs. Bennet asks if she had anything particular to say to Lizzy, but Lizzy finds it impossible to even acknowledge the conversation they had.
At the beginning of episode 95, Lizzie tells her viewers that Jane and Bing are doing well in New York. She and Jane have been talking a bit more and she’s thankful for better communication with her sister. In other news, Lydia has been taking it easy and Mr. Bennet is just glad the whole scandal is over. Mrs. Bennet on the other hand is ready for some Jing grandchildren.
Little does Lizzie know though, that Caroline Lee is about to burst onto screen. She accuses Lizzie of ruining Bing’s life starting with med school, New York, and ending with Jane. Lizzie wants to know exactly how it’s her fault. Caroline knows Jane wouldn’t concoct the plan on her own and Bing has never been able to make such life altering decisions by himself. She just knows that Lizzie had to have been behind it.
Caroline also brings up Darcy. She’s watched Lizzie’s videos from Pemberley Digital and feels it’s obvious what Lizzie is doing. A confused Lizzie asks Caroline what she’s talking about. Caroline tells her not to deny it. Lizzie, again confused, says she’s not. Caroline says Lizzie dating Darcy would destroy him and it’s obvious she’s trying to seduce him. By Lizzie shadowing his company and involving him in Lydia’s scandal, Caroline feels she’s ruining his life.
Darcy’s aunt, Catherine de Bourgh is questioning her investment in his enterprise. Lizzie is quite certain that if Pemberley Digital were in danger because of her, Darcy would avoid her like the plague. Caroline agrees and Lizzie tells her she has nothing to worry about if that’s the case, unless she thinks Darcy can be manipulated as easily as Bing. Caroline asks if that’s an admission from Lizzie, but she says no and she’s just trying to figure out how to live her life.
When it comes to manipulation though, Lizzie wants to know what happened in September at Bing’s Birthday party. She asks about the indiscretion that Bing & Darcy blamed on Jane. As it turns out Jane kissed another man, but Lizzie knows Caroline had something to do with it. She knows it would have been easy to talk one of Bing’s drunk friends into kissing Jane in front of Darcy. She tells Caroline it must have taken a lot of work and it must be killing her after all she’s done, that Bing & Jane still ended up together. Lizzie realizes it’s because Caroline was afraid of losing Bing and now she’s afraid of losing Darcy.
Caroline just says she tries to help the people in her life that she cares about. Lizzie tells her she’s not in charge of anyone’s life though. Darcy is in charge of his own as she is in charge of hers and the same goes for Bing & Jane. Even though Caroline has insulted Lizzie and her family, she snidely invites her to stay for dinner, but she declines.
In this comparison, the biggest difference we see is Lady Catherine in P&P versus Caroline in LBD having a confrontation with Lizzie over the topic of Darcy. In both works, the unexpected visitor assumes Lizzie knows why she has come, but Lizzie is stumped. In P&P, Lady Catherine immediately confronts her about Darcy’s offer of marriage. In LBD Caroline starts out by accusing Lizzie of ruining Bing’s life. She brings up the subject of Darcy second. The difference in confrontations being that Lady Catherine’s interest lies only in Darcy, whereas Caroline’s lies both with her brother and his best friend.
In both works, Lizzie is accused of seducing Darcy and the argument goes back and forth between her and the unwanted visitor. In P&P Lady Catherine argues that the match between Lizzy and Darcy cannot take place as the he is engaged to her daughter. Lizzy is tells her Darcy wouldn’t make her an offer if that is really the case. LBD compares to the plot point when Caroline says Darcy’s aunt, VC Catherine de Bourgh is threatening to pull her investment from his company. Lizzie is certain that if Pemberley Digital were threatened, Darcy would avoid her like the plague.
In P&P Lady Catherine continues the argument by insulting Lizzy’s class and connections. She does not want to see her daughter and nephew separated by someone like Lizzy. She also brings up the fact that she does not want her nephew’s reputation sullied by him marrying the sister of Lydia Bennet after the scandal that transpired. Lizzy feels Darcy can choose for himself and if he doesn’t object to her connections, then it shouldn’t matter. In LBD Caroline tells Lizzie that she would destroy Darcy if she dated him and she already has since Lydia’s scandal pulled him away from work. Lizzie informs Caroline that she is not in charge of anyone’s life and everyone is free to do as they choose.
This episode of LBD does a few things for the plot and Caroline’s characterization. It works off of the plot in P&P of Lady Catherine’s confrontation with Lizzy about Darcy. This establishes the class divide between Lizzy and Darcy, not only in P&P, but in LBD as well. There are still distinct class lines in society today and Caroline brings that to light by she mentions Catherine de Bourgh’s reconsideration of her investment in Pemberley Digital.
Caroline’s vulnerability is revealed when Lizzie spells out her true fear of losing Bing and Darcy. She not only faces losing her brother but his connection to the man she has set her sights on as well. In P&P Caroline’s true nature is revealed from the start. In LBD it’s alluded to when Charlotte plays her with costume theater in episode 15. When she originally appears on Lizzie’s vlog, she’s likeable and friendly toward Lizzie, which is the opposite of her actions in P&P. Later on in LBD at Collins & Collins the true Caroline shows up. This episode reveals the manipulation and lengths she is willing to go to in order to get her way. Unfortunately for her, Bing, Jane, Lizzie, and Darcy can all think for themselves and are willing to do what makes them happy regardless of what she has to say about it.
That’s all for now, until next time, my name is Joslyn Dechant and this is Pride & Prejudice vs The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.