Skep's Place

 

Chapter 23: Too Much Ado for Mrs. Bennet


Mr. Lucas comes over later to formally announce Charlotte's betrothal to the Bennets. All of them are caught entirely off-guard by this revelation—considering that the events of Chapter 19 took place just three days ago—to the point where Lydia straight-up tells him, "How could you lie to us like that? Everybody knows Mr. Collins is super into Lizzie."

Eventually, Elizabeth has to chime in and tell them, no, it's true, Charlotte told me earlier. Of course, after the dust settles and Mr. Lucas leaves, Mrs. Bennet is up in arms over the whole affair, feeling that the entire series of events must have been a personal attack against her.

Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, simply expresses amusement that his favorite daughter is the only one with enough sense to avoid Collins.

Her trust in Charlotte's sanity entirely shattered, Elizabeth begins to confide more closely with Jane. Despite her older sister having replied to Miss Bingley's letter, she has received no further correspondence from the Bingleys, and they only have rumors from town to inform them that Mr. Bingley won't be returning to Netherfield all winter. Not only does Jane have to suffer the uncertainty of being ghosted, but she also has to deal with the anxieties of Mrs. Bennet; who, just a few days ago, was certain two of her daughters would be getting married, and now that number has suddenly dropped to zero.

Mr. Collins returns two weeks later, staying with the Bennets once again, to nobody's pleasure. Still, on the plus side, his attachment to Charlotte means he's often out of the house. However, on the occasions where the two spend their time with the Bennets, Mrs. Bennet convinces herself that the two of them are conspiring about inheriting the house, speculating how much longer Mr. Bennet has to live and how quickly they can kick everybody else out after he expires.

Mrs. Bennet expresses her concerns to her husband, claiming she can't tolerate the thought of Charlotte taking her place in that house. Mr. Bennet replies, "We don't need to be so upset over this. After all, there's always the hope that you die before I do."

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