Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intentions as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?
"Though it is difficult," said Jane, "to guess in what way he can mean to make us the atonement he thinks our due, the wish is certainly to his credit."
This was his plan of amends—of atonement—for inheriting their father’s estate; and he thought it an excellent one, full of eligibility and suitableness, and excessively generous and disinterested on his own part.
Their society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such wretchedness as this!
She tried to recollect some instance of goodness, some distinguished trait of integrity or benevolence, that might rescue him from the attacks of Mr. Darcy; or at least, by the predominance of virtue, atone for those casual errors under which she would endeavour to class what Mr. Darcy had described as the idleness and vice of many years’ continuance.
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To atone for sins is a common religious theme.
Approved forms of faith, practice, and conduct were laid down as consistent with orthodoxy, and deviation from these standards had to be confessed and atoned for by a prescribed form of penance.
Dictionary of the History of Ideas -- http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-50(retrieved 05/20/06)