Pride and Prejudice - by Jane Austen
"I hope, my dear," said Mr. Bennet to his wife, as they were
at breakfast the next morning, "that you have ordered a good
dinner to-day, because I have reason to expect an addition to
our family party."
Excerpt from chapter 13
"Who do you mean, my dear? I know of nobody that is coming,
I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in--and
I hope _my_ dinners are good enough for her. I do not believe
she often sees such at home."
"The person of whom I speak is a gentleman, and a stranger."
Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled. "A gentleman and a stranger! It is
Mr. Bingley, I am sure! Well, I am sure I shall be extremely glad
to see Mr. Bingley. But--good Lord! how unlucky! There is not
a bit of fish to be got to-day. Lydia, my love, ring the bell--I
must speak to Hill this moment."
"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 his five daughters at
After amusing himself some time with their curiosity, he thus
"About a month ago I received this letter; and about a fortnight
ago I answered it, for I thought it a case of some delicacy, and
requiring early attention. It is from my cousin, Mr. Collins, who,
when I am dead, may turn you all out of this house as soon as he
"Oh! my dear," cried his wife, "I cannot bear to hear that
mentioned. Pray do not talk of that odious man. I do think it is
the hardest thing in the world, that your estate should be entailed
away from your own children; and I am sure, if I had been you, I
should have tried long ago to do something or other about it."
Jane and Elizabeth tried to explain to her the nature of an entail.
They had often attempted to do it before, but it was a subject
on which Mrs. Bennet was beyond the reach of reason, and she
continued to rail bitterly against the cruelty of settling an
estate away from a family of five daughters, in favour of a man
whom nobody cared anything about.