Pride and Prejudice


Chapter 7 to Chapter 12

Chapter 7

Mrs. Bennet’s sister Mrs. Philips lives nearby in Meryton, and the Bennet daughters often walk there to visit. Catherine and Lydia, having “vacuous” minds, go there more than the others. They are especially happy to go these days because a regiment of soldiers is stationed in Meryton and the two girls delight in learning about the young men in the troop. They become as obsessed with officers as their mother is obsessed with Mr. Bingley’s fortune.

After listening to his two youngest daughters speak of their admiration for regimental officers, Mr. Bennet concludes that they are the silliest girls in the country. Mrs. Bennet takes offense at his derisive comments.

Caroline Bingley sends a note to Jane requesting her company for the afternoon. Mrs. Bennet observes that it is likely to rain and that Jane should go on horseback rather than by carriage so that the Bingleys will feel compelled to keep her overnight. Mrs. Bennet reasons that the more time Jane is in their presence, the better chances she has of winning Mr. Bingley’s love. Elizabeth is more worried that her sister might catch cold if caught in the rain; her worry proves true, as this is exactly what happens. Jane is caught in the rain and comes down with a cold. Elizabeth determines to walk the three miles to see her sister. Mr. Bennet cannot repress a derisive comment aimed at his wife that should Jane die, he will have the consolation of knowing it was in pursuit of a husband under her mother’s orders.

Catherine and Lydia accompany Elizabeth as far as Meryton. Lydia hopes to see Captain Carter. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst are astonished to see that Elizabeth has walked so far unescorted at such an early hour. Mr. Darcy says little and is simply divided by admiration for the color in her cheeks and doubt as to the necessity of her walking alone. Jane is very happy to see her sister and is somewhat worse than her letter indicated. Elizabeth stays beside her all day, and Bingley’s sisters are very patient...

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