Three weeks later, you ride over to Netherfield Park and present your card. You are informed that Mr Bingley is at home and you are ushered into the morning room.
You notice his dogs first - a pair of wolfhounds that, as you enter, rise and sniff the air warily. Not much meat on them, but that is hardly the point for someone with your more refined tastes. You hurriedly switch your gaze to Mr Bingley and see a simple soul, waffling happily about the pleasure of being in Hertfordshire and asking about the local sport.
Mr Bingley, it appears, is looking to play the part of a country gentleman. When out of doors, he is desperate to perfect his skills at hunting, shooting and fishing; and, no doubt, when indoors, he is equally desirous of practising the dubious arts of flirting and dancing. He is already planning to invite his younger unmarried sister Caroline to be his hostess, supported by his older married sister Louisa and her husband Mr Hurst.
By the time you have been with him five minutes, you know he is a decent sort of chap without two original thoughts to rub together. But no matter. You find yourself reflecting that he would make a fine husband for any of your girls, except Lizzy …
You come rapidly to your senses. How can you countenance such an idea? You are becoming like everyone else in this God-forsaken hole, determined to marry off all your daughters by Christmas.
You talk nonsense with Mr Bingley for a further five minutes; then take your leave, saying nothing of this visit to your wife. Keeping news from her is one of the small but satisfying victories of your wearisome life together.
End of Chapter 1.
Congratulations, you are becoming Mr Bennet! Chapter 2 is here.