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|Mrs. Philips, enquiring mind
Written by Line
(2/17/2004 6:09 p.m.)
This paragraph in ch. 53 jumped out at me thanks to the earlier thread about Mrs. Philips sitting at her window watching the doings in Meryton. (Mrs. Bennet and her sister are discussing whether Bingley really is coming back to Netherfield.)
"You may depend on it," replied [Mrs. Philips], "for Mrs. Nicholls was in Meryton last night; I saw her passing by, and went out myself on purpose to know the truth of it; and she told me that it was certain true. He comes down on Thursday at the latest, very likely on Wednesday. She was going to the butcher's, she told me, on purpose to order in some meat on Wednesday, and she has got three couple of ducks just fit to be killed."
(I assume that Mrs. Nicholls is Bingley's housekeeper, or perhaps his cook.) So not only can Mrs. Philips sit at her window for an hour or more to see what her neighbours are up to; this time, she actually leaves her house to buttonhole someone else's servant to find out when her employer will be coming back to town! (Though I wonder if Mrs. Nicholls walked all the way from Netherfield to Meryton, the way it sounds from Mrs. Philip's description, or if she drove/was driven there!)
Also, going to the butcher's to place an order is the kind of thing I picture Mrs. Reynolds doing at Pemberley, so Mrs. Reynolds would have a chance to know what the local people thought of the family.
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