What is the meaning of the quote: “I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun?”

In the novel Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship is complex and filled with misunderstandings. At the end of the story, after they get engaged, Elizabeth playfully asks Darcy when he first fell in love with her. Darcy replies that he cannot recall the exact moment or circumstance that caused him to fall in love with her. He simply states, “I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

Darcy’s response implies that his feelings for Elizabeth had grown gradually and naturally over time, rather than being sparked by a single event or moment. He admits that he did not realize he was in love until he was already deeply invested in their relationship. Elizabeth is flattered by his answer, despite the fact that she initially disliked Darcy and treated him poorly.

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The couple then discusses the early stages of their relationship and how they were both initially embarrassed and uncomfortable around each other. Despite their rocky start, their love for each other grew over time, leading them to ultimately become engaged.