Skep's Place


Chapter 1: Much Ado About Bingley

Austen prefaces the story by stating that everybody knows, if there's a single, wealthy man, he needs to be married off. Preferably to one of their daughters, if possible.

With this in mind, Mrs. Bennet informs her husband that the nearby estate of Netherfield will soon be rented out. Although the interested party was only in town for a grand total of half an hour, the entire populace nonetheless already knows that he is young, wealthy, and single, and that his name is Mr. Bingley.

Mrs. Bennet remarks that this is a fine opportunity for their girls; the Bennets have five daughters, all grown, and none married. She insists that Mr. Bennet drop by Netherfield on move-in day to make introductions; Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, knows that his presumptuous wife would find some excuse to visit the estate whether or not they were acquainted, so he doesn't see the need. Instead, he claims he'll just write Mr. Bingley a letter, saying that his daughters are on the way, and if he wants to pick one out to marry, go for it pal.

He adds that he'd have to recommend his favorite daughter, Elizabeth. Unable to understand how Elizabeth earned his favor, Mrs. Bennet insists that other daughters might be better-suited; their eldest Jane is twice as pretty, and the youngest, Lydia, is twice as fun. So Mr. Bennet has to specify that, not only is Elizabeth the protagonist of this novel, but she's also the only one of his children who doesn't act like a girly-girl and has any wits about her at all.

a picture of Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth Bennet

Mrs. Bennet doesn't take kindly to this dunk on her other children, and complains that Mr. Bennet doesn't care about upsetting her "poor nerves". To which Mr. Bennet drops a line so good I have to insert it verbatim:

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."

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