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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

After dinner, Jane, feeling much better, joins the company. Bingley devotes himself entirely to making her comfortable. Darcy takes up a book, and Miss Bingley takes up another. She declares her delight in reading, but in fact she shows more interest in Darcy's progress through his book than in her own. Finally, yawning, she puts her book aside and begins to walk about the room.

Darcy reads on. Miss Bingley invites Elizabeth to join her, and Elizabeth does. At this, to Miss Bingley's annoyance, Darcy at last raises his head to watch.

Conversation resumes. The good-natured teasing between Elizabeth and Darcy becomes so lively that Miss Bingley puts an end to it by going to the piano and beginning to play. Darcy is glad to have his all too obvious interest in Elizabeth interrupted.



CHAPTER TWELVE

Jane and Elizabeth decide it is time to leave Netherfield. Mrs. Bennet, still scheming to keep them there, sends word that she cannot send the Longbourn carriage for them. They ask Bingley for his. He agrees, while expressing his regret at their going. Darcy is troubled at the growing warmth of his feelings toward Elizabeth, so he ignores her during her last day at Netherfield. At home, Mrs. Bennet is angry that her daughters have returned sooner than she planned.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

The Reverend William Collins, Mr. Bennet's cousin and heir, now enters the story. He writes a letter inviting himself to Longbourn for a two-week stay. Mr. Bennet is amused by the letter, which goes on and on with explanations, apologies, and self-important remarks.

Mr. Collins arrives. He admires his fair cousins and hints at more than admiration. He praises the house, every room, all the furniture and furnishings piece by piece. Mr. Bennet is entertained. Mrs. Bennet is gratified-until she remembers that what he is admiring will one day be his, when Mr. Bennet dies and the detestable Mr. Collins turns her and her daughters out into the cold. No effort at explanation can make her understand the entail.

NOTE: Mr. Collins's entrance is one of pure comedy. This chapter and the next are two of the funniest in the novel, but notice how Austen also uses these scenes to develop her plot.

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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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