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Pride & Prejudice, ch. 6: Block Party

In Austen’s time, there’s no society without neighbors (in your own class, that is—farmers and servants don’t count). Even if they’re the most artificial people in the world, you put on a smile and trade niceties. On the social butterfly scale of “Bingley” to “Darcy,” Lizzy lands closer to the “Bingley” end … unless she’s dealing with a couple of snotty sisters. And even then, she’ll keep her mouth shut.
I never really noticed this except in an off-hand way, but Lizzy does not go out of her way to trash the Bingley sisters. She kind of just rolls her eyes and thinks instead about how much Bingley is into Jane. Also, she judges the women by their manners and behavior rather than their appearance. Not only does this make Lizzy that much more appealing, but it also makes it easy to trust her. When she tosses off, “If I can perceive her regard for him, he must be a simpleton indeed not to discover it too,” it sounds so logical. So easy.
But Charlotte makes a good point, too: “We can all beg…

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