Darcy first attempts to propose to Elizabeth during her visit to the newly-wed Collins family. This act was unexpected to Elisa as they met accidentally. She rejected the proposal for many reasons.
Elizabeth leaves for Kent to visit Charlotte and her husband, Mr. Collins. Their house is near Rosings, the residence of Lady Catherine de Burgh. Since Lady Catherine is Darcy’s aunt, Lizzie meets him several times. On the same day, Elizabeth learns about Darcy’s role in the separation of Bingley and her sister. Then Darcy unexpectedly proposes to her. He adds that he loves her passionately, despite her family’s low position. Elisa rejects him. She points out his pride, arrogance, and contempt for others’ feelings. She also mentions his guilt in Jane’s unhappy love and Wickham’s hopeless position.
Darcy writes a letter to Elizabeth explaining his actions toward Jane and Wickham. Realizing how wrong she was, Miss Bennet feels guilty for speaking so rudely. But her condition is clear. She has not seen any sign of love from Darcy before. His behavior was determined by the morals of that time.
Jane Austen presents a society where personal life was in the public domain. Real feelings and emotions often had to be kept secret. Darcy’s first attempt to propose to Elizabeth is an example of when hidden feelings come out. This episode reveals Darcy’s character. His pride appears to be a mask necessary to survive.