What do the Bennet women learn about Mr. Bingley from Mrs. Lucas in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter one of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet has discovered that a Mr. Bingley, a "single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year," has rented nearby Netherfield Park. Overly interested in marrying her five daughters to rich men, Mrs. Bennet asks her husband to pay Bingley a visit so the Bennet girls can begin to socialize with him--and set the trap for marriage.

In chapter two, Mr. Bennet finally reveals to his wife and daughters that he has, indeed, visited Bingley. This sends his wife and his three youngest daughters into a kind of romantic rapture.

In chapter three, all of the Bennet women try to pry some details about Mr. Bingley from Mr. Bennet, but they are unsuccessful.

They attacked him in various ways—with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all, and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour, Lady Lucas.

Finally they have to learn what they can through the mother of Elizabeth's friend, Charlotte Lucas. Mrs. Lucas is "a very good kind of woman, not too clever to be a valuable neighbor to Mrs. Bennet."

Her report was highly favourable. Sir William [her husband] had been delighted with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained.

This report from Mrs. Lucas about Mr. Bingley is wonderful news to Mrs. Bennet and her younger daughters, for he is an eligible man (and prospective husband) in every way. 

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Pride and Prejudice

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