Dislike and love. Audley frames the two as opposites asking lucy first “Do you dislike me?” (16) Then asking her, “Is there anyone whom else you love?” (16) Audley frames the entire affair as an emotional one. He seeks from her to show some sort of emotional engagement with the matter of his proposal in either a positive or negative fashion. However, she seems to be unable to give him a clear stance on how she views him romantically. To her the issue cannot be separated from the material gains she would get from marrying him.
She does however show emotional investment in others way in regards to the issue. She gets upset that he wants her to not consider the value she would get. in addition, “she laughed aloud at his question” when asked about if she loves anyone (17). However Audley seems almost perturbed by these reactions. To him there is something fundamentally off about how she is reacting. There is a clam to her reactions regarding the emotions Audley seeks to be invested in, and a lack of calm in regards to emotions and feelings which to him are not relevant to the matter.
The differences here seem to almost be an establishing matter of who they are, fundamentally opposing one another. Going into the marriage it seems like a reasonable stance to question if they will ever truly be on the same page emotionally or just always opposed to one another. This opposition is made clearest when the marriage is framed as a “bargain” (17). It is a transaction. A deal in which both sides give something and get something. It is not the sort of endeavor they are diving into headfirst, but an almost mercantile interaction from which neither loses, nor fully wins. This seems to be a passage which will set up the dynamic between the two moving forward.