Skep's Place


Chapter 9: Much Ado About Character Study

In the morning, Mrs. Bennet brings Kitty and Lydia with her to Netherfield to see Jane. Finding out that Jane is merely sick and not dying, Mrs. Bennett is happy to let her stay in proximity to Mr. Bingley until her recovery.

Mrs. Bennet expresses her gratitude to Mr. Bingley, saying that she's appreciative to have such a fine friend in the neighborhood and hopes that he doesn't decide to leave anytime soon. Mr. Bingley warns her that he's a man of action, so if he does decide to leave, it will likely be very sudden; but at present he is quite happy in Netherfield and sees no reason not to stick around a while.

Elizabeth then tells Mr. Bingley that his sticking around for a while is exactly what she would have expected from him, prompting Mr. Bingley to lament at how easily readable he is. Backpedaling a bit, Elizabeth replies that, just because he's not a particularly complex (i.e., bland) person doesn't mean he's a bad guy.

a picture of Mr. Bingley

Mr. Bingley

At that, Mr. Bingley remarks that he hadn't expected Elizabeth to be the type to study character motivations, and muses that such a hobby might be pretty entertaining. Elizabeth admits that complex characters are the most entertaining to examine; but Mr. Darcy chimes in and wonders how much character variation there can be in the countryside, where people tend to think and act very similarly.

Unfazed, Elizabeth replies that this doesn't matter, since people are always changing, and it's those changes that are the most fun to watch. However, Mrs. Bennet is a little less unfazed; she's pretty much been waiting for Mr. Darcy to bad-mouth their country neighborhood the entire time he's been her. Seeing this as the cheap shot she's been waiting for, she starts going on about how the country is just as good as the city, if not better, even. Having completely misinterpreted Darcy's statement, and ignoring Elizabeth's polite attempt at correction, this continues to the point of being a little embarrassing, and Mrs. Bennet can't seem to read the room.

Eventually, Elizabeth is forced to ask about Charlotte Lucas just to change the topic. Mrs. Bennet then manages to turn the conversation back on Jane, noting that, when she was 15, some guy was interested in her for a bit. She claims not to understand why he eventually shunned Jane, especially after he wrote such nice poetry about her.

Elizabeth points out, that's the problem right there. Writing poetry about someone is a great way to realize you're not actually that into them. Mr. Darcy challenges this, saying that he's always thought of poetry as enhancing love, rather than extinguishing it. Elizabeth tells him, well, it can if the love is real; but most of the time men are just writing poetry to get in our pants, and when they read it back later they realize how dumb they sound and ghost. This wins a rare smile from Mr. Darcy.

With nothing else to say, Mrs. Bennet takes the opportunity to say her goodbyes; however, before she departs, the youngest Bennet sister Lydia boldly asks Mr. Bingley when he's throwing the ball he promised. Mr. Bingley replies, just name the date and it shall be done—although, perhaps it would be better to wait until Jane is well, first.

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