Chapter 12

Ever wondered what it would be like to become Mr Bennet, if only for a moment? Read on, imagining yourself as Mr Bennet; then, based on your knowledge of Pride & Prejudice, decide what you will do at the end of this chapter.

 

You receive the happy couple with far less rapture than your wife. Indeed, their cheerful assurance is enough to provoke you to slam the door in their faces. But you resist.

 

There is no want of discourse. The bride and her mother can neither of them talk fast enough; and Wickham enquires with good humoured ease after every body in the neighbourhood.

 

Ten days of this! You turn determinedly to the port bottle.

 

It is a long ten days, but the day of Mr and Mrs Wickham's departure arrives at last. You treat your wife’s hints to visit the happy couple in Newcastle with the contempt they deserve.

 

"Mr Wickham is as fine a fellow as ever I saw," you observe, as soon as they are out of the house. "He simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. I am prodigiously proud of him. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law."

 

The loss of her daughter makes Mrs Bennet very dull for several days, until she hears that Mr Bingley is returning to Netherfield for some shooting! Judging by the amount of speculation this provokes, one would think that the poor man had no right to live in his own house.

 

Mrs Bennet is quite in the fidgets. She looks at Jane, and smiles and shakes her head by turns. "Well, well, and so Mr Bingley is coming down. Not that I care about it, though. He is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure I never want to see him again.”

 

You remind your wife of these words when she informs you that you will wait on Mr Bingley as soon as he arrives. “No, no, my dear Mrs Bennet,” you say, “since you never want to see the man again, there is no need for me to bother myself. You forced me into visiting him last year, and promised, if I went to see him, he should marry one of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool's errand again."

 

Your wife represents to you how absolutely necessary such an attention will be from all the neighbouring gentlemen, on his returning to Netherfield.

 

"'Tis an etiquette I despise," you say. "If he wants our society, let him seek it. He knows where we live. I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours every time they go away and come back again."

 

A loud shriek, and you sense the imminent arrival of The Poor Nerves; but she merely babbles, "Well, all I know is, that it will be abominably rude if you do not wait on him. But, however, that shan't prevent my asking him to dine here, I am determined. We must have Mrs Long and the Gouldings soon. That will make thirteen with ourselves, so there will be just room at table for him."

 

Through the assistance of servants, Mrs Bennet contrives to have the earliest tidings of the actual hour of Mr Bingley’s return, and counts the days that must intervene before her invitation can be sent; hopeless of seeing him before. But on the third morning after his arrival in Hertfordshire, she sees him, from her dressing-room window, enter the paddock and ride towards the house.

 

You decide that you will renew your acquaintance with Mr Bingley OR you refuse to let him in the house.

 

Which would Mr Bennet choose? Click on the link above and see if you're right.

 

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