Pride and Prejudice (pub. 1813) – Jane Austen
Dover Thrift Editions, unabridged (pub. 1995)
Mrs. Bennet, an uneasy woman, anxious to see her five daughters married off and married well, badgers her husband, Mr. Bennet, to visit and introduce himself to Mr. Bingley, a single and affluent gentleman who just purchased an exclusive property, Netherfield, in hopes that Mr. Bingley may know their family and marry one of their girls. Mr. Bennet is neither interested nor concerned about visiting Mr. Bingley.
Mr. Bennet, a reserved man, meant to pay a visit to Mr. Bingley, and did so at the earliest convenience, but did not tell his wife and daughters until after Mrs. Bennet was excessively worried if they should ever be introduced to him at all. Once they do know of Mr. Bennet’s visit, all of Mrs. Bennet’s troubles are lifted from her shoulders, and she immediately begins assigning who will dance first with Mr. Bingley at the ball.
Mr. Bingley, who was a hit at the ball: handsome, courteous, amiable, and enjoys dancing, which is a previous step to falling in love, dances with the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, twice. Mr. Bingley also brought a friend with him to the ball, but he, Mr. Darcy, appeared to be so arrogant and prideful and refused to meet or dance with any of the ladies he did not know that even his handsome looks and sizable estate could not make up for his distasteful manners.
Jane and the next oldest Bennet sister, Elizabeth, have a private conversation about Mr. Bingley, whom Jane believes to be “such perfect good breeding,” and which Elizabeth reminds her sister that she, Jane, never sees faults in anyone. Elizabeth considers Bingley’s sisters, who were also at the ball, and believes them to be “proud and conceited,” although Jane thought them to be pleasant. And as for Mr. Darcy, his character was contradictory to that of his friend, Mr. Bingley, and yet they remain resolutely steadfast in their friendship.