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The Tea Tray > In Defense of Mrs. Bennet

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message 1: by Alexis (new)

Alexis | 7 comments Hey everyone! Inspired by Miss Victoria_Grossack's topic 'In Defense of Mr. Collins', I decided to write a new topic concerning the silly Mrs. Bennet. Or is she really all that silly?

Victoria, you're very welcome here! Everyone, please post your opinions!


message 2: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai | 243 comments with all her silliness Mrs Bennet is absolutely right about her worries to marry off her daugters. otherwise they shall all turn into Miss Bates or Mrs Smith (that goes for Charlotte too) The question is what is Mr Bennet been thinking all this time espiecally since Lydia was born I am curios to know what did they spend their nice income on?


message 3: by Nina (new)

Nina Clare | 58 comments I always feel some sympathy for Mrs Bennet - she's terrified of being left an impoverished widow with five unmarried daughters and no house. Mr B makes a joke of it in saying that she should take comfort in thinking that she might die first !
I think Mr B has a lot to answer for in not securing his wife and daughter's futures in the event of his death. He pinned all his hopes on having a son to inherit the estate, but he should have done more.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 94 comments Mrs. Bennet also loves all her daughters very much and is ready to defend them. Mr. Bennet is prepared to call them silly (which they are) but I have to respect Mrs. Bennet's maternal instincts.

She's also practical. At the end when Bingley obviously wishes to propose to Jane, Jane begs Lizzie not to leave them alone. But Mrs. Bennet knows that they need to be left alone - better to suffer a little embarrassment, in order to secure years of happiness - and she even out-maneuvers Lizzie by arranging to play cards, and then breaking up the game after Lizzie has left the room.


message 5: by Alexis (new)

Alexis | 7 comments Being a tradesman's daughter (an attorney counts), Mrs. Bennet is justified in her concern for her family's welfare, though perhaps not in all the screeching and histrionics about nerves (seriously, not even the most worrisome grandma would complain about her children trying her nerves as often as Mrs. Bennet).

Her husband's indolence has left her banking on her daughters marrying well enough to support not only themselves and any children resulting from that marriage, but also five other presumably-otherwise-penniless women.

I suspect that Longbourn's modest if handsome income has been spent on things like books for the study, new dresses for Lydia and Jane, and bonnet ribbons and such nonsense (Lydia, looking at you). At any rate, it seems as though none of the family has actually generated any efforts towards saving anything, though they certainly spend their share (again, Lydia, you spend MORE than your share - having to borrow from your sisters, tsk tsk!).

So while Mrs. Bennet is certainly a lady not to be taken seriously most of the time, her concerns are legitimate and real, and Mr. Bennet (and her children for that matter!) should take that part at least semi-seriously.

I'm saying she's not really to be taken seriously because of her other little faults: her thing for militia soldiers, for one thing, and her obvious favoritism for another. She's a bad parent, but a well-meaning one.


message 6: by Isabel (new)

Isabel (nomorechocolate) | 35 comments I agree. The way she handles the search for suitable husbands is certainly cringeworthy but her proactivity is understandable. Unmarried women, unless they were independently rich such as Emma or Miss Darcy, would either have to work as a governess or rely on the charity of their community (Miss Bates) or family. Marriage was the only good option because governesses were looked at dismissively as well. So I can understand Mrs Bennet. Especially as Mr Bennet does next to nothing to help his daughters along. He should have started saving for all eventualities the minute he got married but he was too lazy or too much relying on a son so that he didn't.
The problem with Mrs Bennet is that because of her efforts she might have destroyed the chance Jane had with Mr Bingley. In fact, had Mrs Bennet done nothing in regards to Jane and Bingley, they would probably have got together much sooner than they did because it was mostly her pushing Jane towards Mr Bingley that made his sisters and Mr Darcy not want them to be married as her family looked very unsuitable to them.


message 7: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 652 comments I have SOME sympathy for her her in that her husband has fallen out of love with her, is indifferent towards their children and she worries about what will become of her if her husband dies first. However, she is silly, ignorant, vain.

Her nerves may be a way of getting attention but they get on my nerves and everyone else's too. She didn't do anything proactive to raise her daughters to be good wives to good men. She let Kitty and Lydia grow up in ignorance and doesn't check the behavior of any of the girls. Lizzie's temper/tart tongue, Mary's affectations, Kitty and Lydia's silliness- all that is the responsibility of the mother and governess to correct. They never had a governess and perhaps they couldn't afford one, but then the mother should take responsibility for teaching her children something.

Lydia's bad behavior is a direct result of her mother's behavior. Mrs. Bennet also welcomes Wickham into the home after Mr. Bennet declared Mr. and Mrs. Wickham would not be welcome.


message 8: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Barnes | 259 comments QNPoohBear wrote: "I have SOME sympathy for her her in that her husband has fallen out of love with her, is indifferent towards their children and she worries about what will become of her if her husband dies first. ..."

Yes, I've got to say I agree. There's some mild justification for her anxiety to get her daughters married, but in the end her ignorance, volatility of temper, impropriety and stupidity is what almost ruined all of her daughters in one go (after all, Lydia wouldn't have gone to Brighton if not for Mrs B's encouragement). That being said, if Mr Bennet had been a better husband and father, he'd have curbed her excesses and saved his daughters a lot of grief. As it is, together they make for pretty terrible parents (but also, story-wise, create a lot of interesting conflict, which raises the stakes of the book and makes it such an enjoyable read).


message 9: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 652 comments Emilia wrote: "That being said, if Mr Bennet had been a better husband and father, he'd have curbed her excesses and saved his daughters a lot of grief. As it is, together they make for pretty terrible parents (but also, story-wise, create a lot of interesting conflict, which raises the stakes of the book and makes it such an enjoyable read). "

Agreed! The Bennet parents are delightful characters to laugh at. "What for do we live but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?"

If only Jane Austen had lived long enough to write MORE novels! Sanditon has some characters with great comic potential.


message 10: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Ennos | 39 comments We are told that Mrs Bennet was beautiful when she was young and so this has definitely helped the marriage prospects of her daughters genetically. Although Mr Bennet does not find her his intellectual equal there appear to have been no problems in the bedroom department judging by the number of children they had together


message 11: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 163 comments Emilia wrote: "QNPoohBear wrote: "I have SOME sympathy for her her in that her husband has fallen out of love with her, is indifferent towards their children and she worries about what will become of her if her h..."

Totally agree, Emilia.

We cannot deny that Mrs Bennet's character is a disadvantage for her daughters on the marriage market. But at least she is trying to do something to help them, even though it is very counterproductive. But she is doing the only things she can in line with her character and very limited abilities. And she also cares.

Mr Bennet, however, does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and even the narrator suggests that he could have secured at least more respectability for her daughters if not some more dowry.

And again this is the genius of Jane Austen. She hides the "good side" of Mrs Bennet behind her vulgarity & silliness (on first read I blamed her for everything) and making Mr Bennet's faults appear less significant, because he is funny and intelligent.
But - as in all JA books - the layers are all there for you to discover. :)


message 12: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 652 comments Given the thinking of the time period, it was Mrs. Bennet's responsibility to produce an heir for her husband. She failed in her duty and the marriage would therefore be considered a failure. (5 daughters? Worthless!) Mr. Bennet did secure a dowry for them and it's not an unreasonable one, it's just not what it could be or should be. The Bennets won't be destitute on his death like the Dashwoods. Uncle Gardiner was unmarried at the time the girls were born and perhaps there could have been some assumption that he would do something for at least Jane.

Some sequel writers try to give the Bennets a late in life son. I assume this is no longer possible, though Mrs. Bennet can't be much past 40, and that's why Mr. Bennet lives in his study instead of trying to get that late in life son to break the entail.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 94 comments QNPoohBear wrote: "Given the thinking of the time period, it was Mrs. Bennet's responsibility to produce an heir for her husband. She failed in her duty and the marriage would therefore be considered a failure. (5 da..."

Was the dowry for the Bennet girls really greater than it was for the Dashwoods? I thought each Bennet girl could expect 50£ per year after Mr. Bennet's death - in other words, each would inherit 1000£. I thought the Dashwood ladies managed to scrape together 500£ per year when they rented the house from Sir John Middleton. And that implies more capital, a total of 10,000£ among them.


message 14: by Nina (new)

Nina Clare | 58 comments Melindam wrote: "Emilia wrote: "QNPoohBear wrote: "I have SOME sympathy for her her in that her husband has fallen out of love with her, is indifferent towards their children and she worries about what will become ..."

It's interesting how different portrayals of Mrs Bennet can show her in different lights. in the BBC production Alison Steadman made her shrill and vulgar (and funny), but she was an unbearable character that made me cringe, alongside Lizzy, but in the Keira Knightly version, Brenda Blethyn plays her with a soft voice and more subtlety, and I actually felt quite fond of her!


message 15: by Melindam (last edited Oct 20, 2017 04:37AM) (new)

Melindam | 163 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "QNPoohBear wrote: "Given the thinking of the time period, it was Mrs. Bennet's responsibility to produce an heir for her husband. She failed in her duty and the marriage would therefore be consider..."

You are right Victoria. The Dashwood girls are actually better off than the Bennets, dowry-wise.

And Mr Bennet DID NOT secure a dowry for the girls - the money would come to them via Mrs Bennet's dowry according to their marriage settlement and only after her death.


message 16: by Melindam (last edited Oct 20, 2017 04:53AM) (new)

Melindam | 163 comments Nina wrote: "Melindam wrote: "Emilia wrote: "QNPoohBear wrote: "I have SOME sympathy for her her in that her husband has fallen out of love with her, is indifferent towards their children and she worries about ..."

Nina, I agree. Alison Steadman's portrayal, though entertaining, was OTT for me.
I liked the 1980 version, where I though Priscilla Morgan did a great job. She was silly and a bit vulgar, but it was just the right amount of both.


message 17: by NorikoY (new)

NorikoY | 11 comments Although she if funny, she is not attractive character to me.

Mr. Collins was on the point of finding his wife, the intercourse with Rosings was new to him, so he was in the middle of establishing himself in life, and Charlotte would soon have a baby, and in future, inheriting Longbourn estate etc… so, more development would come for him, it means so much more for readers to imagine about him, that’s why his character is interesting to me.

Mrs. Bennet is too settled in life, and would develop no further…

However: if I imagine how Mrs. Bennet ended up marrying Mr. Bennet, her character would be very interesting. But then, it would not be P&P. All I’m saying is, her character does not stand out much in P&P.


message 18: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai | 243 comments I too thought Priscilla Morgan was true to the character but that said Alison is fun to watch


message 19: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 210 comments We get aggravated with Mrs. Bennet, but she knows that, in the absence of sons who would not only cut off the entail but provide a future home for her, prosperous marriages for her daughters are necessary. She knows that only a son or a well-married daughter will keep her from the possibility of living as a Mrs. and Miss Bates.
But Mr. Bennet is equally guilty, IMHO. He's had at least 15 years (after Lydia's birth) to provide for his daughters, his personal dislike of London has kept him from taking his family there now and again, where his daughters might have had a wider circle of acquaintance, he places his peace of mind above good judgment when he allows Lydia to go to Brighton.
Neither one of them fulfill an important responsibility of parents.


message 20: by Alexis (new)

Alexis | 7 comments J. wrote: "We get aggravated with Mrs. Bennet, but she knows that, in the absence of sons who would not only cut off the entail but provide a future home for her, prosperous marriages for her daughters are ne..."
True enough. Mr. Bennet DOES share the blame. I actually think that's an accurate argument.


message 21: by Brit (new)

Brit It has been interesting to read the comments in the thread. Someone pointed out layers in Jane Austen's writing. This is definitely the case for both Mr. And Mrs. Bennet. He appears at first to be the sensible, but as you observe his actions and interactions with his wife and daughters, we see Mr. Bennet is an absent, neglectful, and at times emotionally abusive husband. He does little or nothing to build and nurture his relationship with his wife. I believe Elizabeth makes this observation in the novel also.

Mrs. Bennet is a silly woman who speaks before she thinks, but her silliness may also be magnified by the way she is treated at home.

However, without these flaws and extreme behaviors, we would not have this enjoyable novel!


message 22: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 652 comments Has anyone read Mrs Bennet's Menopause?


message 23: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 210 comments As an aside to this discussion, I came upon a short essay on entailment, that purports to explain the nature of the Bennet inheritance, and which contained a number of flaws. The writer (who refers to William Walter Elliot in Persuasion as "Sir Elliot", states that in the absence of males, a man's entail would be co-equally divided among daughters and the cause of Mrs. Bennet's concern was that "she and her five daughters' would have to all live off the family's one estate that generated little income and their standard of living would fall considerably. "

This, of course, is not the case, nor the source of Mrs. Bennet's anxiety. And Mr. Bennet's estate may have generated comparatively little income compared to Darcy or Rushworth, $2000 pounds a year (same as Col Brandon's income) was not a "little income." Of course, everything's relative - as Elinor said to Marianne, "Your competence and my wealth are very much alike."


message 24: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 111 comments MRs Bennet is absurd and rather vulgar, but I have some sympathy for her. At least she takes some interest in her daughters, while Mr Bennet takes none. He is more blameworthy than Mrs Bennet because he is more intelligent, and should know better how to behave. He makes no attempt to control his younger daughters, or to tone down Mrs Bennet's vulgarity. He after all chose Mrs Bennet as his wife, he should be making the best of the situation instead of just giving up as he seems to have done.
When Jilly Cooper visited a school while she was writing a book with a school setting some years ago, the girls were doing Pride and Prejudice for their GCSE set book. She said they told her that Mrs Bennet was their favourite character because she was 'sooo embarrassing' just like their mothers.


message 25: by Maria (new)

Maria (marisolla) | 19 comments Louise wrote: "MRs Bennet is absurd and rather vulgar, but I have some sympathy for her. At least she takes some interest in her daughters, while Mr Bennet takes none. He is more blameworthy than Mrs Bennet becau..."

While i agree with you that at least Mrs Bennet tries to help her daughter's secure good futures by making advantageous matches, the issue is really how far she is willing to take it. Sending your daughter out on horseback while it's pouring rain, too far. Trying to make your beautiful intelligent daughter marry her idiotic boring cousin, too far. And when these things happen you forget about how little Mr Bennet has actually helped and applaud him for letting Elizabeth say no to Mr Collins.


message 26: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 210 comments I think Mrs. Bennet is willing to go to extremes to find husbands for her daughters because she knows that their future comfort is also (if she should survive Mr. Bennet) her future comfort.
Mr. Bennet can afford to take a more lax view of his daughters' marriages, because Longbourn is his for the duration of his life, he doesn't have to anticipate poverty or eviction if his spouse dies.


message 27: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 652 comments I have slightly more sympathy for Mrs. Bennet after reading a modern novel in which the heroine, a successful career woman, has a toxic mother much like Mrs. Bennet. The modern day mother tried to convince her daughter to marry a man she doesn't love/isn't attracted to because he'll be a good provider (and is her friend's son)! That works in 1812 when women didn't have options. That does not go over well in the 21st century when heroine provides for herself. So, now I "get" Mrs. Bennet a bit more but I agree with Maria that Mrs. Bennet's methods of obtaining husbands for her daughters are extreme.


message 28: by Maria (last edited Mar 03, 2018 05:33AM) (new)

Maria (marisolla) | 19 comments J, i see what your saying as far as Mr. Bennet not having the same sense of urgency as Mrs. Bennet, given the circumstances. However, being an intelligent person i'm sure he understands the situation, but maybe just prioritizes what is important in life differently than Mrs. Bennet.

QN, What's the name of the novel? sounds interesting, lol.


message 29: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 163 comments Maria, Mr Bennet's priorities are to be left alone to enjoy his books. He is totally self-indulgent and while Lizzy is his favourite, he never stirs himself to do good by her let alone the other girls.
He made a bad decision in marrying Mrs Bennet (and can actually blame noone, but himself) now he thinks the world/his wife/daughters all owe him the great favour of leaving him in peace.
Yes, he is intelligent and has all the funny lines, but that's it. He is really the other side of Mrs Bennet's coin. Not worse, but certainly no better.


message 30: by Maria (last edited Mar 03, 2018 06:13AM) (new)

Maria (marisolla) | 19 comments Yes, he did like time alone to enjoy his books, and who can blame him? Other than Jane and Lizzy he has a household full of 'silly women'. While i agree that it was totally his fault for marring Mrs. Bennet, i believe he did his due diligence of making sure his daughters were out in society. The biggest thing i could fault him for is not listening to Elizabeth about Lydia going to Brighton. And even though Mrs. Bennet worked much harder to try and secure a husband for Elizabeth, Elizabeth was able to maintain a relationship with Mr. Bennet that Mrs. Bennet was incapable of achieving. Don't get me wrong i do think he could have done more for them, and hey who knows next time i read P&P i might feel differently, that's the fun of reading Austen, there are so many levels to her characters i notice something different about them every time i re-read one of her books.


message 31: by Melindam (last edited Mar 03, 2018 09:46AM) (new)

Melindam | 163 comments Making sure your daughters can appear in society was a matter of course. It is not much in itself.
At the time, women needed the "protection" of men even to appear in society. Yet in the book JA clearly mentions several instants when Mr Bennet stays at home. And when he is there (like at the Bingley ball) he does nothing to keep Mary/Lydia in check. No, he kind of enjoys the stir they are making and the embarrassment they cause to others incl. Jane & Lizzy. Mrs Bennet does nothing because she is vulgar and ignorant of the fact that her younger daughters step out of line. Mr Bennet is clearly aware and does not do anything about it.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 169 comments I think Mr Bennett is is an awful man, much worse than Mrs Bennett. Mrs Bennett is ignorant. Mr Bennett is intelligent and “knows better” but chooses to do nothing.


message 33: by Maria (new)

Maria (marisolla) | 19 comments Not checking his daughters and enjoying the embarrassment they are causing are two different things. I never picked up on him 'enjoying' it but most definitely should have put it a stop to the behavior.

There is no denying he has his faults, but i would hardly call him 'awful'. He loved his daughter's but ultimately failed by not setting them up better [He held on to the hopes of having a son to inherit Longbourn for far too long and failed to re-arrange their lifestyle to have money left for when he would die]. Like many people he fell short, but he shouldn't be condemned on all levels for mismanaging his financial affairs. And he also might be a little lax knowing that if before his death, one of his daughters should be able to have a boy, said-boy would then become the new heir of the Longbourn over Mr. Collins. [With five daughters there would be a good chance of that].


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 169 comments Maria,

I’ll have to respectfully tell you that everything that you mentioned as “faults” are why I find him to be awful.

I respect your views, but I think he’s an awful person, awful neglectful father, awful neglectful husband. He does nothing to protect his family.


message 35: by Maria (new)

Maria (marisolla) | 19 comments And i understand and respect yours, i guess i just don't judge him as harshly. Everyone makes bad judgment calls, and he made many. But like you said the mentioned faults, to you, makes him awful and to me makes him human. Undoubtedly after this conversion i will keep a closer eye on Mr. Bennet next time i read P&P. And since ill be doing so with others perspective of him on my mind, i look forward to finding out if i view him any differently once I'm done.


message 36: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 163 comments Maria, your opinion reminds me when I read P&P in my teens/twenties. :)
Back then -while I did not particularly like him- I thought he was fun. Since then I read P&P at least 20 times (and I aged slightly! :D ) I slowly started seeing him differently. Also, I read quite a few books & studies about JA and times & books.
But that is the great thing about JA, all those layers and the different angles there are to her characters.


message 37: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 210 comments Melindam wrote: "Maria, Mr Bennet's priorities are to be left alone to enjoy his books. He is totally self-indulgent and while Lizzy is his favourite, he never stirs himself to do good by her let alone the other gi..."

Very interesting point. When Lydia elopes, it is mentioned that by the time the Bennets had given up on a son, it was "too late for saving." In that decade or so when his wife produced five daughters, he never seemed to put aside any of Longhorn's very comfortable income for their future. Yet, he seems to have a very fine library at a time when books where not cheap. People of modest means paid about a guinea a year to a subscription library, only people of means could afford to stock a personal library.


message 38: by Melindam (last edited Mar 03, 2018 09:51AM) (new)

Melindam | 163 comments You are right, J. Keeping a library was indeed pricey and prestigious.
Still, I don't begrudge him the pleasure of his books (how could I, a book-lover myself? :), but his total indifference toward anything else, the neglect of his daughters - he could have taught them all the love of reading books and this would have benefited them all - and his self-indulgence is a serious setback.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 169 comments @J

Suppose a son eventually followed Lydia? Mr Bennett neglect to provide an extensive personal library at the expense of providing for his daughter’s futures leaving this financial burden on his son and heir.

JA casts him in a deceptively positive light, but I tell you his hard-hearted, unfeeling selfishness is worse than Fanny Dashwood's.


message 40: by Maria (new)

Maria (marisolla) | 19 comments Melindam wrote: "Maria, your opinion reminds me when I read P&P in my teens/twenties. :)
Back then -while I did not particularly like him- I thought he was fun. Since then I read P&P at least 20 times (and I aged ..."


Agreed, after many re-reads of Mansfield Park I went from not really liking Fanny to liking and systematizing with her, but that's a whole other story. Thanks for the perspective, it's always interesting to compare. :)


message 41: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 163 comments :)


message 42: by Mrs (new)

Mrs Benyishai | 243 comments Whatdo you thinkthey spent money on besides books even takinginto account household expencesand clothes they had a lsrge income and no governess or tutors or travel etc so where did their yearly income could have gone (i suppose only JA knows)


message 43: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 163 comments There are quite a few interesting & accurate essays that explsin exactly what kind of house, how many servants, what kind of equipage & horses you could afford from 2000/year. JA did not explain because readers of her time did not need it; they knew exactly the financial implications.


message 44: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 163 comments I recommend "The annotated P&P" by David M. Shaphard, which also contains valuable & accurate info on this as well ob every other aspects. He also explains that the Bennets kept a coach and horses which were costly pleasures besides giving prestige to one's status: they took quite a large amount away from Mr B's income.


message 45: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 652 comments I think Mrs. Bennet and the younger Misses Bennet have a hand in spending some of that money. Isn't it Mrs. Bennet who wants the carriage and then the horse to send Jane to Netherfield? Mr. Bennet says the horses are wanted in the field more often than he can get them. This implies the ladies want the carriage to go to town, socialize, etc.

Rev. Austen was a poorish clergyman with an extensive library of books. Jane loved that library and made good use of it. It must have broken her heart when Rev. Austen sold the library when he retired. No doubt she was thinking of that library when she wrote and/or revised the novel.

Selling things was a last resort when one was desperate. The key was to put up appearances and appear like gentlemen and gentlewomen. Everyone must know the Bennets are short of money but pretend otherwise. For Mr. Bennet to sell his library would be very shocking. How much could he actually get for the books anyway? Not enough to earn dowries for 5 daughters, I'm sure. Many people collected books just to display them. Books were custom bound at that time so the buyer could choose what they liked and could afford. I doubt Mr. Bennet could afford anything truly grand and expensive. I don't think Mr. Bennet is as bad as Sir Walter in Persuasion.


message 46: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 111 comments In the Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, Edward Copeland in the chapter on money writes:
"At £2,000 a year (the landed gentry income of Mr Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility), domestic economy must still hold a tight rein, especially in Pride and Prejudice where there are five daughters in need of dowries. mrs Bennet is noted as a poor economist: Mr Bennet is better, though still inadequate considering his daughters situation."


message 47: by Donna (new)

Donna | 3 comments Maria wrote: "Not checking his daughters and enjoying the embarrassment they are causing are two different things. I never picked up on him 'enjoying' it but most definitely should have put it a stop to the beha..."
I, too, have wondered about this same thing. Of course, this is fiction. In real life, could not a grandson have inherited if things were arranged that way, especially for Jane, Elizabeth, or Mary. It seems like if one of them had a son, that son could have inherited over Mr. Collins with the right paperwork. It was pretty lazy not to put aside even a little each year and count on what became less and less likely.


message 48: by Donna (new)

Donna | 3 comments I know one of Jane's own brothers, the one who looked after his mother and sisters, had been adopted and inherited property based on that.


message 49: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 210 comments Donna wrote: "Maria wrote: "Not checking his daughters and enjoying the embarrassment they are causing are two different things. I never picked up on him 'enjoying' it but most definitely should have put it a st..."

No, a grandson (the son of Elizabeth or Jane) couldn't have inherited. An entail was a legal document that would specify the "line" - it's clear in the case of Longbourn that it passes along the direct male line. This was usual, but not inevitable. Lady Catherine at one point says that it wasn't ever thought necessary to entail estates away from the female line, which suggests that Sir Lewis had arranged an entail for Rosings; i.e., it would go to Anne deBourgh.

An interesting entail quandary is in "The Hound of the Baskervilles." Sir Charles, the tenant of Baskerville Hall, made his money independently. The entail passes the estate to his nephew, but it's his will that bequeaths his sizable fortune to that nephew, who, at one point, says that he also means to will his fortune to the next in line so that they can keep up the estate.


message 50: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 652 comments Mr. Bennet was supposed to have a son so they could break the entail, allowing Longbourn to be sold and the money given to the children. Mr. Bennet's father or grandfather, whoever created the entail, didn't plan on not having heirs or falling out with the Collins branch of the family.


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