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|Insensible to Danger
Written by Robbin
(5/6/2010 7:05 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Expectations, penned by BarbaraB
I agree. It does seem like this decision ought to be a no-brainer on the side of “no” for Mr. Bennet but I think he looks at it as a no-brainer on the side of “yes” because that is what best serves his purposes. His decision to let Lydia go to Brighton is lazy, neglectful and foolishly insensible to danger as Connie pointed out (45184) but I think it is also selfish. Mr. Bennet just does not want the bother of listening to Lydia’s perpetual lamentations and dejected exclamations “in the bitterness of woe” (41) and I admit it is a dreadful prospect but it is the lot of parents from time to time to suffer these intrusions on their peace.
Colonel Forster is a sensible man, and will keep her out of any real mischief; and she is luckily too poor to be an object of prey to anybody. At Brighton she will be of less importance even as a common flirt than she has been here. The officers will find women better worth their notice. Let us hope, therefore, that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse, without authorizing us to lock her up for the rest of her life." (41)
Mr. Bennet has an understanding of Lydia’s everyday behavior towards officers so to me he appears purposely insensible to danger in sending Lydia to a place where she has far more chances for intrigue of all sorts than she has in Meryton. After listening to their effusions on officers he dubs Kitty & Lydia “two of the silliest girls in the country” (7) and ought to have noticed it did not phase his youngest daughter in the least. Lydia has given him other examples as well. She tells her mother one reason she plans to walk to Meryton the next day is “to ask when Mr. Denny comes back from town” (14) and later “girls walked to Meryton, to inquire if Mr. Wickham were returned” (21). Although Lydia did not go on either of these expeditions alone they show she is not content to wait for officers to come to her so even if Mr. Bennet’s prediction that the officers will favor other ladies comes true I doubt it will teach her any lessons except what more she can do to attract their attention. I really don’t think Lydia will tolerate being ignored and in residing with the Foresters she will be at a hub of officer business and socializing every day.
What Lydia might do I can’t say but what she has already done contributed to Bingley’s desertion of Jane and the possibility of coming home with a worse reputation as a flirt is not improbable. Worst of all is Mr. Bennet describes Lydia as a “common flirt” (*common - frequent; usual, ordinary; flirt - a pert young hussy) whereas Lizzy only said “she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous” (41). It is not a nice description for a father to give of his daughter or if he believes it to dismiss as of no significance before sending her off to her own little piece of officer paradise. (:D)
* Definitions from Johnson’s 1824 Dictionary of the English Language, pages 131 and 283.
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