Posted on 2014-06-06
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a young married man of good fortune must know many single men of similar good fortune in want of wives.
Little did Mr. Darcy know when he married Elizabeth Bennet that all of his the rightful property of his wife's two unmarried sisters.
"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "Have you heard that our dear Lizzy and Darcy have just arrived in London and they are expecting a visitor who will reside with them for some time."
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
"But it is true," she said, "for Jane has just been here and she has the news from Lizzy herself in her last letter. I can hardly bear the excitement!"
"I am equally excited to hear that Lizzy is still capable of writing letters." replied Mr. Bennet.
"Don't you want to know who the visitor is!" cried his wife impatiently.
"You want to tell me and I have no objection to hearing it."
"Why my dear, you must know he is an old school friend of Mr. Darcy by the name of Drew. He resides near Kent and he plans to visit Mr. Darcy and Lizzy for the entire season!"
"Is he married or single?
"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! There was no mention of a wife. A single man of large fortune; he must have at least ten thousand a year since he is friend to our dear Mr Darcy. What a fine thing for Mary and Kitty!"
"How so, how will it affect them?"
"My dear, Mr. Bennet," replied his wife. "How can you be so tiresome. You must know that he is expected to marry one of them."
"Is that his design in visiting Lizzy and Mr. Darcy?
"Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he will fall in love with one of them, and therefore, we must all go to London straight away."
"I see no occasion for us all to go. You may take the girls or you may send them to London by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are the handsomest woman in the family now than Lizzy and Jane are gone, he may like you the best."
"My dear, you flatter me, I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five daughters, - three of them wed - and bound to be a grandmother any day, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty. But, my dear, you must indeed take us to London to introduce us to Mr. Drew at once."
"But consider Jane and her situation. Surely, you do not want to leave her now when she in her condition."
"Oh, Jane is well looked after by dear Mr. Bingley. You must know that I had five children, Mr. Bennet, without my mother or sister in the vicinity, and you were never as solicitous as Mr. Bingley. For the sake of her sister's engagement, Jane will certainly understand our absence."
"If you are speaking of Mary or Kitty's engagement to Mr. Drew, I believe you are assuming too much, even for you, Mrs. Bennet. Jane and Lizzy had something to recommend them, to be sure, but Mary and Kitty are silly and ignorant."
"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way. Why Mary and Kitty are no more silly or ignorant than Lydia, and look what a fine marriage she made!"
"I stand to be corrected," replied Mr. Bennet drily. "Regardless of the attractions of Mary and Kitty, I will not approve of their visiting London without an invitation and while Jane is near the end of her confinement.
"Oh, how can you vex me this way. You have no compassion for my nerves."
Mr. Bennet started to remind his wife about his long intimacy with her nerves, but thought better of it. Now, that Elizabeth, his only daughter with any quickness, was married and gone, there was no one to appreciate the caustic wit he was so fond of. His wit would not be denied completely, however.
"Perhaps, Mr. Bingley can rustle up a half dozen friends of large fortune to court Mary ad Kitty when he has a moment to think of anything but Jane."
"Oh Mr. Bennet, how can you torment me. You know that if he did you would never let us be introduced to them until after Jane's child is born and Jane is in strong health again!"
"Depend upon it my dear, when Bingley comes up with half a dozen single men of large fortune, I will ensure that you and the girls are immediately introduced to them regardless of Jane's condition." With that reassuring thought, Mr. Bennet retreated to his library.To Be Continued . . .