A single, wealthy man is considered to be in need of a wife—regardless of his own opinions about the matter. When he moves into a neighborhood, all the families with eligible daughters move in to claim him.
Mrs. Bennet is no different. She asks her husband if he knew that Netherfield Park is let. He replies he didn’t. Mrs. Bennet tells him it is. She heard it from Mrs. Long. She continues to pass on the information she heard from Mrs. Long about the gentleman. He is a young, wealthy man from northern England. He saw Netherfield Park on Monday and decided to immediately rent it from Mr. Morris. He is to arrive prior to Michaelmas, but his servants will come next week. His name is Mr. Bingley. He is single and receives four to five thousand a year.
As he is a good catch for one of their daughters, Mrs. Bennet insists that her husband pay Mr. Bingley a visit so that the gentleman has the opportunity to meet their daughters. Her husband, to be difficult, refuses—and suggests she goes, or else send the girls. Mrs. Bennet states they cannot visit Mr. Bingley if her husband doesn’t initiate the first visit. Two of their neighbors are breaking their customary rule about not visiting new neighbors because they hope to claim him for their daughter.
Mr. Bennet promises to give his consent to a marriage, though he will put in a good word for Lizzy. Mrs. Bennet says Lizzy is not superior to her sisters—she is merely Mr. Bennet’s favorite. Her husband replies that Lizzy is not like other girls who are silly and ignorant. She is quick-witted.
Mrs. Bennet complains that he enjoys vexing her, with little regard for her nerves. He replies she’ll live to see more eligible bachelors, but she retorts it will do little good if he refuses to visit them.
Though married 23 years, Mrs. Bennet doesn’t understand her husband. He understands her perfectly, though she isn’t complicated. Her world revolves around visiting, gossiping, and scheming to marry off her daughters. When she is unhappy, she believes her nerves are bad.