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|The answer is
Written by JulieW
(4/30/2007 5:22 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Bingley's first visit to Longbourne, penned by Silvia O
There are no ladies with him ,and so no lady could call upon Mr Bingley on his arrival into the area.
The honour of calling to welcom him therefore was left to the gentlemen-Mr Bennet and Sir William Lucas for example, to visit. Hence Mrs Bennets rage at her state of imagined social impotence when she thoght Mr Bennet would not call on the newcomer
Mr Bingley would return this visit- for a short morning call of ten minutes duration , and it was after this ceremony had been endured that invitations from the whole family could then be dispatched and Mr Bennet could then introduce the rest of his family.
See this from Chapter 3:
In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, and sat about ten minutes with him in his library. He had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much; but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he wore a blue coat, and rode a black horse.
An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards dispatched; and already had Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that were to do credit to her housekeeping, when an answer arrived which deferred it all. Mr. Bingley was obliged to be in town the following day, and, consequently, unable to accept the honour of their invitation, etc. Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted. ... and a report soon followed, that Mr. Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such a number of ladies, but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing that instead of twelve he had brought only six with him from London -- his five sisters and a cousin. And when the party entered the assembly room it consisted of only five altogether -- Mr. Bingley, his two sisters, the husband of the eldest, and another young man.
Does that clear up this tricky matter of etiquette for you? :-)
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