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|Lizzy causes uproar
Written by Robbin
(5/16/2007 1:56 a.m.)
This information, however, startled Mrs. Bennet; she would have been glad to be equally satisfied that her daughter had meant to encourage him by protesting against his proposals, but she dared not to believe it, and could not help saying so. (Chapter 20)
In Chapter 20 Mrs. Bennet congratulates Mr. Collins and herself on the happy prospect of their nearer connection and Mr. Collins tells her with equal pleasure that he was satisfied and encouraged as Lizzy only refused him do to her bashful modesty—LoL! I think it is interesting that Mrs. Bennet although startled by this information relieves his misconception immediately, that Lizzy was serious in her rejection of him. Is Mrs. Bennet just startled that Lizzy would refuse an offer of marriage and blurts out the awful truth or does she feel incumbent to be honest with Mr. Collins on the truth of the matter. Mrs. Bennet is not above wetting Jane down to force an invitation from Caroline in Chapter 7 so I lean towards an undeniable impulse in her frustration with her least dear daughter.
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (Chapter 20)
This turnaround on Mrs. Bennet is so incredibly funny that it is nearly excusable but Mr. Bennet is particularly teasing to his poor wife’s nerves on this occasion. He first says he does not understand what she is talking about, and then says it is a hopeless business, and then gives permission to call Lizzy down careful to only say “She shall hear my opinion.” Mrs. Bennet chimes in and gives him the perfect setup and then ouch! Afterwards he is even more cutting, saying she does not understand him and to get out of his library:
"My dear," replied her husband, "I have two small favours to request. First, that you will allow me the free use of my understanding on the present occasion; and secondly, of my room. I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be."
At this point I have to think Mrs. Bennet is lucky that she only possesses a mean understanding because if she was sensible of her husband’s intent she might be a vast deal unhappier. ;D
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