I was writing some dialogue yesterday and thinking about the art of it. The fact that so many people mentioned Pride and Prejudice yesterday as the most romantic story they’d ever experienced made me pick it up–all Jane’s books are within arms reach–and search for a favorite exchange of dialogue between Darcy and Elizabeth.
This one takes place at Netherfield, where poor Miss. Bingley tries to show off in front of Darcy and put Elizabeth at a disadvantage in his eyes. But of course Miss B. is out of her league with these two quick wits and only succeeds in making Darcy more in love with Elizabeth than ever.
Darcy and Elizabeth exchange, unless Miss Bingley is noted.
“It has been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding to ridicule.”
“Such as vanity and pride.”
“Vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride–where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.”
Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile.
“Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume,” said Miss Bingley, “pray what is the result?”
“I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect. He owns it himself without disguise.”
“No”–said Darcy, “I have made no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for…My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost is lost for ever.”
“That is a failing indeed!” cried Elizabeth, “But you have chosen your fault well. I really cannot laugh at it. You are safe from me.”
“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”
“And your defect is a propensity to hate every body.”
“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misundertand them.”
“Do let us have a little music,” cried Ms. Bingley.
LOL–I love that last. Ms. Bingley knows when to jump ship.
Today I’m giving away the winner’s choice of either of Julie James’ books, Just the Sexiest Man Alive or Practice Makes Perfect, because she’s also a terrific writer of snappy, sexy dialogue.
Click on cover for purchase information.
For the contest–do you have a favorite exchange in a romance book? Favorite author for great dialogue? Comment on these questions or say anything meaningful about dialogue and you’ll be entered to win a copy of one of Julie’s books. If you already have read both of Julie’s books, enter the contest anyway, and I’ll figure out a replacement book. I’ve got a stack for this contest.
Good luck! And be sure and enter the Sweet Restraint contest if you haven’t already!