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|Mrs Bennet's understanding
Written by JulieW
(2/7/2004 5:29 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Mrs Bennets quirks, penned by Johanna Elisabet
The whole joke throughout the book, is that Mrs Bennet was the daughter of an atourney.As such,we would expect her to show some sense when it comes to matters legal:but no,we are ever dissapointed.
Let's consider some points from the passage you quoted,Johanna.
1)Well, if they can be easy with an estate that is not lawfully their own
The joke here is that Mr Collins is legally entitled to the Longbourne estate.Mr Colllns is Mr Bennet's legal heir under the entail.Ther is no reason why they should not be uneasy.It is not their doing that the estate descends through the male line only.They are just the benficiaries.
2)I should be ashamed of having one that was only entailed on me".
I agree,Johanna,she would not be ashamed to be a beneficary under a setllement.:-)
Her use of the word "only" seems to imply that its legal descent to Mr Collins was somehow defective, when in fact it was all perfectly valid under the terms of the Bennet settlement.
Mr Bennet was perfectly aware of the terms of the settlemnt,and one could argue that it was his failiure to act wisely,by saving money and therby being able to provide for his wife and duaghters after his death , that should be the true object of Mrs Bennets scorn.But no, she directs her anger towards someone who has no option but to inherit the estate.
As I have mentioned before,Mr Collins as only an heir presumpitve. and as such could not join in with Mr Bennet to take action to end the ential provisions by a resettlement of the estate.There was nothing that the Bennets or the Collins could do but endure the legal situation in which they found themselves.
A point Mrs Bennet ever fails to understand;see this from Chapter 13
"Oh! my dear," cried his wife, "I cannot bear to hear that mentioned. Pray do not talk of that odious man. I do think it is the hardest thing in the world, that your estate should be entailed away from your own children; and I am sure, if I had been you, I should have tried long ago to do something or other about it."
And this from Chapter 23;
"I cannot bear to think that they should have all this estate. If it was not for the entail, I should not mind it."
"What should not you mind?"
"I should not mind anything at all."
And finally ,again in Chapter 23 , when Mr Bennets final words sum up the extent of Mrs Bennets' stupidity;
"I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for anything about the entail. How any one could have the conscience to entail away an estate from one's own daughters, I cannot understand; and all for the sake of Mr. Collins too! -- Why should he have it more than anybody else?"
"I leave it to yourself to determine," said Mr. Bennet.
The point here is that Mr Bennet did not entail the estate away from his daughters- his grandfather, or whoever settled the estaes to descend along the male line made that decision, years ago.All Mr Bennet ought, and could, have done was to save prudently in order to provide for them.
Her last bleat "-Why should Mr Colllins have it more than anyone else"-again indicated her inabitlity to graps the details of the legal dilemmea in which her family finds itself. Mr Collins "should have the eatate" becasue he is the legal heir to it.
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