During the Derbyshire scenes in P&P, we get a bit of the Gardiners’ perspective, and it’s really intriguing to see these glimpses of what’s going on outside of Elizabeth’s and sometimes Darcy’s POVs. When Darcy brings Georgiana to meet Elizabeth at Lambton, the Gardiners realize something is up and subtly examine both Elizabeth and Darcy to determine what their feelings are. They conclude that Darcy is in love while they’re unsure of Elizabeth, which is about what you’d expect at this point in time, but the exact phrasing is worth looking at:
“Of the lady’s [Elizabeth’s] sensations they remained a little in doubt; but that the gentleman was overflowing with admiration was evident enough.”
In context, the quote is part of an attempt to judge whether one or both is in love (specifically) and not just whether their feelings are generally positive/negative. The Gardiners are “a little” in doubt of whether she’s in love with Darcy and not if she thinks he’s an okay person. And that’s kind of incredible at this point, really?
I hadn’t thought much about the qualification that they’re only slightly uncertain about Elizabeth, but (aside from Darcy’s feelings) I think it’s really interesting. Elizabeth has probably spent under two hours in Darcy’s vicinity since reading the letter. In the moment, she’s anxious about her reception and in general turmoil and will later toss and turn as she tries to figure out what her feelings are (something that ultimately takes weeks + a family catastrophe for her to determine). And yet, the people who know her best, who are well-aware of her previous loathing of Darcy, are only slightly unsure if she loves him.