Everybody knows that a single man in possession of a good fortune must look for a wife.
When such a man enters a neighbourhood, the surrounding families begin to think, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
“But it is,” returned she.
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.
“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?”
“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to think about their future. My dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood. Consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them.”
“My daughters have nothing to recommend them,” replied he; “they are all silly and ignorant like other girls.”
Mr. Bennet was a mixture of quick mind, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she treated herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; she adored visiting and news.
Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who told Mr. Bingley about his coming. Observing his second daughter decorated a hat, he suddenly told her:
“I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy.”
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Чарльз Диккенс. Большие надежды / Charles Dickens. Great Expectations
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