Posted on Saturday, 03-Oct-98
y Dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here and she told me all about it."
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.
"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."
This was invitation enough.
"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the North of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."
"What is his name?"
"Is he married or single?"
"Oh, married my dear, to be sure! He came with his young wife!! What a fine thing for our girls!"
"How so? How can it affect them? I could understand if he was single and his design in settling here was to marry one of them, but because he is married that pretty much concludes the business, don't you think?"
"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! He is married to Georgiana Darcy. She had thirty thousand pounds when he married her. And her brother is single and he has TEN THOUSAND A YEAR!!! Oh, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes to the neighbourhood."
"It's more than I engage for, I assure you and I still see no point."
"Isn't it obvious? Mr. Bingley has a lot of friends who are going to call upon him and his wife. For sure Mr. Darcy will be visiting his sister often....consider your daughters, what an establishment it would be for one of them. And of course just being in the company of Georgiana Bingley would throw them into the path of other rich man! You absolutely must visit!"
"I'll send a few lines by you to give him my hearty consent for turning Netherfield into *Rotten Eligible Bachelors Refuge* and assure him and his friends of availability of any of my daughters. If you allow, I'll throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."
"I desire you do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference."
Loud complaints of Mrs. Bennet could be heard all over the house. Jane and Elizabeth were sitting upstairs laughing heartily at the conversation their parents were having downstairs.
Elizabeth threw herself on the bed and cried, "Dearest Jane, I am afraid that the fate of marrying Mr. Darcy befalls on you! Your undeserving sister has been crossed out of this competition! Oh my!!! And what will you do if he's ugly and stupid?"
Jane tried to compose her laughter, "I don't think so Lizzy. Mrs. Bingley, his sister, is supposed to be a real beauty... Lizzy, I long so much to marry, but I would like to love my husband. However I know that as I am the oldest one, I should marry prudently for the sake of all of us." She sighed heavily.
Elizabeth embraced her and said, "Then for your sake let us hope Mr. Darcy is not only rich, but also handsome and amiable."
Rumours spread that Mr. Bingley and his wife would attend the ball in assembly rooms together with a large party of friends from London.........