Posts Tagged ‘Mr Bingley’

From Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

I love this conversation between the Bennet sisters which reveals their closeness and fond regard for each other as well as Jane Austen’s wonderful sense of humour! Jane Bennet is recently engaged to Mr Bingley and has only just become aware of the true duplicity of his sister, Caroline Bingley.

Elizabeth had now but little time for conversation with her sister; for while he was present, Jane had no attention to bestow on any one else; but she found herself considerably useful to both of them, in those hours of separation that must sometimes occur. In the absence of Jane, he always attached himself to Elizabeth for the pleasure of talking of her; and when Bingley was gone, Jane constantly sought the same means of relief.

“He has made me so happy,” said she one evening, “by telling me, that he was totally ignorant of my being in town last spring! I had not believed it possible.”

“I suspected as much,” replied Elizabeth. “But how did he account for it?”

“It must have been his sister’s doing. They were certainly no friends to his acquaintance with me, which I cannot wonder at, since he might have chosen so much more advantageously in many respects. But when they see, as I trust they will, that their brother is happy with me, they will learn to be contented, and we shall be on good terms again; though we can never be what we once were to each other.”

“That is the most unforgiving speech,” said Elizabeth, “that I ever heard you utter. Good girl! It would vex me, indeed, to see you again the dupe of Miss Bingley’s pretended regard.”

“Would you believe it, Lizzy, that when he went to town last November, he really loved me, and nothing but a persuasion of my being indifferent would have prevented his coming down again?”

“He made a little mistake, to be sure; but it is to the credit of his modesty.”

This naturally introduced a panegyric from Jane on his diffidence, and the little value he put on his own good qualities.

Elizabeth was pleased to find that he had not betrayed the interference of his friend; for, though Jane had the most generous and forgiving heart in the world, she knew it was a circumstance which must prejudice her against him.

“I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever existed!” cried Jane. “Oh! Lizzy, why am I thus singled from my family, and blessed above them all! If I could but see you as happy! If there were but such another man for you!”

“If you were to give me forty such men, I never could be so happy as you. Till I have your disposition, your goodness, I never can have your happiness. No, no, let me shift for myself; and perhaps, if I have very good luck, I may meet with another Mr. Collins in time.”

I don’t think Jane Austen could have written this without enjoying the very close relationship she had with her sister. Whenever I read Pride and Prejudice I think about my lovely sister who unfortunately lives quite far away, but visits whenever she can. We chat for hours on the phone, but I have to say I do miss those times we spent together as girls. I hope you are as lucky as I am to have such a close friend in a sibling.


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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Monday, October 19th, 1801

A splendid ball we had tonight – despite a lack of gentlemen Kitty and I jigged all night and were never without a partner, though it has to be said that some of them were hideously ugly and not one of them the sort of handsome beau I have dreamed about.

Mr Bingley, two of his sisters, the husband of the eldest and a very haughty looking gentleman, a Mr Darcy, were in attendance. With the exception of Mr Bingley the others all looked as if they were suffering from a bit of old mousetrap cheese up their noses, so sneering were their expressions. I have decided to like Mr Bingley, he is a cheerful sort of fellow but too simpering for my taste. Jane can have him and after this evening, it seems she may well get him. Bingley danced with her twice, which pleased our mother, especially as he favoured Charlotte Lucas at first – mama’s face was a picture, so vexed was she that the Lucases had got in first.

Lizzy was found wanting a partner on more than one occasion and she was even snubbed by Mr Darcy, the odious man who came with Bingley. To own the truth, Lizzy did not miss much for having been slighted by him, for all his tens of thousands, he really was very proud and strutted about the place, no doubt fancying he owned us all. RUDE MAN INDEED!!!

The Bingley sisters gave all the appearance of elegance and good manners but for all their finery and satin, they were not as handsome as I should have thought from the reports that have been circulating over half of Hertfordshire. Some people, despite their wealth and connections do not know what it is to cut a dash or break a young man’s heart with their unadulterated beauty. To speak plainly, their ill-favoured countenances would sooner frighten farmer Felbrigg’s cows and turn the milk sour, than set the hearts of the local beaux aflutter.

I overheard them talking. “Oh Caroline,” sighed Mrs Hurst, “did you ever see such a dowdy collection?”
Miss Bingley stifled a laugh. “Dear sister, pray tell, to what do you allude? Surely this is not a comment on the modistes of Meryton or the beauty of the local wenches? I, for one, have never seen such finery, such satin, such jewels! Take care dear, or you will be dazzled, nay blinded, by the sparkle of such fine glass. Dear me, I meant to say diamonds, sister. Heaven forgive my slip of the tongue!”

“Quite so,” her sister agreed with a snort. “And as for the men, Caroline, why it will be impossible for you to choose a husband from such an array of eligibility. Indeed, I was introduced to a farmer just now whom I am sure will be just to your taste!”

Both sisters scoffed and laughed with great vulgarity. Mother is quite correct – there is something very vulgar about an excess of pearls at a country dance!

Lydia Bennet

Illustrations: Top, an old print of the King’s Arms Dorchester, Pride and Prejudice illustration by Hugh Thomson, Meryton Assembly by Jane Odiwe

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