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|Mr Bingley's partners
Written by Linden
(1/14/2004 3:22 p.m.)
1. Miss Lucas. The title `Miss' Lucas tells us that she is the eldest girl of the family to whom he has first been introduced, Sir William and Lady Lucas. His choice of her first is almost inevitable if he is a man of good manners.
2. Jane. Although Mrs Bennet believes that this is from his admiration of her, it need not necessarily be so. Jane is the eldest daughter of a leading family of the district, and he has previously met her father though not the rest of the family. Perfectly normal and polite for him to ask her to be his next partner.
3. Miss King. We don't know anything about Miss King (I wonder if she'll be important later?). However, we may conclude that she is the eldest (or only) girl in some leading local family.
4. Maria Lucas. OK, he's done the rounds of the eldest girls of the leading families, so now he's on the younger daughters.
5. Jane again. Ah-ha! He chooses Jane because he wants to dance with her, not out of any social obligation. Perhaps, if he was following only the rules of politeness, he would have chosen one of the other Bennet girls (after all, we know that both Elizabeth and Mary are without a partner). Mrs Bennet is right to see this as a sign of his admiration. It's during this pair of dances that he has his significant conversation with Mr Darcy.
6. Lizzy. He's just heard his friend slighting her, so he does what he can to remedy the situation by asking her next (what a nice man!). In addition, she's like Maria Lucas, a younger daughter of a leading family, so there is some sense of propriety in his asking her to dance. And, after all, he does think she's very pretty.
So we can conclude that:
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