Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pride & Prejudice, Volume I, chapter 15

Enter Mr Wickham, Stage Right Even

There are a few things of note in this chapter. Here they are in list form:

1. Mr Collins wants to marry one of the Bennet daughters - pretty much any one will do. After a single evening in their presence, he's set on Jane, who is the eldest and prettiest, but he rapidly shifts to Elizabeth when Mrs Bennet warns him that she expects Jane is about to become engaged.

2. We meet Mr Wickham, a charming young man just arrived in town who is about to join the regiment.

3. Bingley and Darcy make a beeline for the Bennet girls - they were on their way to Longbourn to check on Jane, you see, since it's now Tuesday and she left Netherfield on Sunday.

4. Darcy is set on not catching Elizabeth's eye; instead he catches an eye full of Mr Wickham, and it's pretty obvious that they recognize one another: one blanches, the other blushes. Please note that Austen does not entirely say who does which.

5. We meet Mrs Philips (Mrs Bennet's sister), who proves to be a tremendous gossip and a snoop - she confesses to watching people out the window and getting information from various sources around town. Mrs Philips has her uses, however - she's only too willing to try to matchmake for her nieces when they express an interest in Mr Wickham. The next time we see him, he'll be in regimentals.

I do so love a man in uniform, don't you?

Tomorrow: Chapter Sixteen
Back to Chapter Fourteen

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