“My 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 you not 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! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. “What a fine thing for our girls!”
“How so? How can it affect them?” (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 1)
Why must Mr. Bennet act so exceedingly obtuse? How will it affect our girls? What other plan does he intend to abide by to ensure our daughters are well-provided for following his death?- may it remain upon the horizon for many more years. The relief of advantageous weddings befalling our five daughters- FIVE daughters, what were we thinking?- they would grant me finally a good night’s rest. I have hardly known a moment devoid of fretting over such an ending- one where we all end destitute, jailed even! Matrimony of even one would allow me to no longer suffer the constant worry of encroaching poverty. Our girls mustn’t be forced to deal with the same, even if I must fight until my dying breath, upon my very own grave. Had I the provident knowledge that this was to be my fate, would I still have married Mr. Bennet? For that, I have no certain answer. The dread and panic are consuming me. What will our daughters- oh, my sweet Jane, shrewd Lizzy, coy Mary, bold Lydia, impressionable Kitty- what will they do? One of them must enter marriage with this Mr. Bingley and become the lady of his estates. That is the only way. She can then provide for her own sisters and myself upon the day of Mr. Bennet’s death and Mr. Collins’ seizure of our very livelihood.
Who will it be? Which of my daughters will marry Mr. Bingley?- for one must, they truly must. Will it be Jane? Not a soul exists on this earth who dislikes her, and her beauty is unrivaled; though, will she have it in her to pursue him? Then Lizzy? Her nimble mind will either secure or repulse him, and if that doesn’t work, her unbridled wit surely will deny her of his affections. Mary, Lydia, and Kitty- I cannot yet part with them before their elder sisters. They are not yet out, but were Mr. Bingley interested, then our society may have every right to torment me.
How will this affect our daughters? My dear Mr. Bennet, because I must fear for the stability of our daughter’s lives every waking moment, even in my dreams I worry. A single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife so that may daughters may be provided for and felicitous.