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|Sketching Mr. Bennet's character
Written by Line
(5/7/2007 7:29 p.m.)
We know that he likes to stir up his wife just for his own amusement, but there are a couple of other things I've noticed. Back in ch.2, he sprung the news that he had met Mr. Bingley on his family: "The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished."
The same thing happens again in ch.13, when he mentions that Mr. Collins will be visiting them:
"It is not Mr. Bingley," said her husband; "it is a person whom I never saw in the whole course of my life."
This roused a general astonishment; and he had the pleasure of being eagerly questioned by his wife and five daughters at once. -- After amusing himself some time with their curiosity, he thus explained --
Clearly, Mr. Bennet enjoys being the centre of his family's attention, rousing their curiosity, teasing them, and then seeing their reactions when he finally lets them in on the secret.
Another thing I noticed was in the dinner scene in ch.14:
Mr. Bennet's expectations were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance, and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.
I can just see him there, laughing silently behind his poker face, and needing no one to share the joke with to get full enjoyment out of it, except occasionally Elizabeth. The same thing happens again after the Netherfield ball. Mrs. Bennet has made sure that theirs is the last carriage to arrive, the Superior Sisters only want to get rid of their guests, everyone except Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins is uncomfortable, and "Mr. Bennet, in equal silence, was enjoying the scene".
One more thing: though Mr. Bennet enjoys laughing at silly people, when he's had enough, it happens quite suddenly:
"Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you chuse," said Mr. Bennet; and, as he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with the raptures of his wife. (ch.2)
By tea-time, however, the dose [of Mr. Collins] had been enough (ch.14)
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