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Group Read: From the mailbox

| you have any idea when the next installment of the group read is going to go up?

I am hoping to have the next Group Read up the week of June 21.

Group Read Announcement


My apologies -- I will be late getting the Group Read up this week. I'll try to get it up soon, but I'm not sure how soon "soon" will be.

If you are interested in joining the Group Read, why not take the opportunity to catch up and join us? We'll be discussing Chapters 25-32 this week. Click on the big Group Read button, there on the left sidebar, to catch up on previous weeks.

The next Group Read will be next Monday, on Chapters 25-32.

This week, we're discussing Chapters 19-24. We eagerly await your comments and discussion! (We are avoiding spoilers.)

Chapter 19: Mr Collins proposes to Elizabeth. Elizabeth declines, but Mr Collins does not believe she is serious.

Chapter 20: Mrs Bennet tries to settle the situation -- she takes Elizabeth's refusal seriously, but hopes to persuade Elizabeth to accept Mr Collins. She appeals to Mr Bennet, who settles the question (in the inimitable Mr Bennet style) in favor of Elizabeth. Mrs Bennet keeps working on Elizabeth, while Mr Collins grows more and more grumpy. The house is in an uproar, when Charlotte Lucas comes to call.

Chapter 21: In spite of his disappointment and resentment, Mr Collins does not curtail his visit to Longbourn. The girls takes a stroll to Meryton, where they meet their acquaintances among the officers, including Mr Wickham. The officers walk the girls back to Meryton, and Elizabeth introduces Mr Wickham to her parents. Jane receives a letter from Netherfield -- Caroline Bingley has written to tell her that the entire party has gone to London and will certainly stay there for the winter. Jane is particularly saddened by Caroline's confiding her hopes that Bingley will propose to Mr Darcy's sister Georgiana. Jane and Elizabeth differ in their interpretation of Caroline's motive in sharing these hopes.

Chapter 22:
The Bennets dine with the Lucas family, and once again Charlotte takes the brunt of conversation with Mr Collins upon herself. Elizabeth thinks Charlotte is doing her a favor, but not in the way she expects. Charlotte's plan works better than she hopes -- Mr Collins sneaks out early the very next morning and proposes. Charlotte accepts, but asks Mr Collins not to tell the Bennets. Mr Collins is about ready to pop with pride, but he keeps the secret. The next day, after Mr Collins has returned to Hunsford, Charlotte calls on the Bennets and breaks the news to Elizabeth in person. Elizabeth is shocked, as Charlotte knew she would be.

Chapter 23: That evening, Sir William Lucas shares his happy news with the rest of the astonished Bennet family. They each digest the news in their own way. Elizabeth is still stunned at Charlotte's decision. The family receives Mr Collins's thank-you letter, written with all the grace and delicacy they have come to expect from him. Meanwhile, Jane is saddened by Bingley's continued absence. Elizabeth is suspicious of the Bingley sisters. Two weeks later, Mr Collins is back in town and stays with the Bennets, although he spends almost all his time with the Lucases.

Chapter 24: The news is confirmed: Bingley will not be returning at all for the winter. Jane concludes that Bingley had never really liked her, and consoles herself with the thought that she had not risked exposing her own feelings for Bingley. Jane and Elizabeth talk over human nature in general; Elizabeth confesses her growing cynicism, fueled in part by Charlotte's marriage to Mr Collins. Mr Bennet shares his own sardonic take on the matter. Meanwhile they see a good bit of Mr Wickham, who cheers them all up. His tale of woe at the hands of Mr Darcy is now general knowledge in the community. Only Jane continues to insist that there must be some kind of extenuating circumstances somewhere.

Group Read Announcement

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We'll discuss chapters 19-24 next Monday.

Chapter 13: We meet Mr Collins, first by letter and then in person.
Chapter 14: Dinner with Mr Collins.
Chapter 15: The girls take a walk to Meryton, with Mr Collins in tow. They meet up with their aquaintance Mr Denny, an officer in the regiment; Denny in turns introduces Mr Wickham, a fine looking young man who has just accepted a commission in the regiment. Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy ride by. While Bingley chats with Jane, Elizabeth notices a curious exchange between Darcy and Wickham. The Bennet girls and Mr Collins visit the girls' Aunt Philips (Mrs Bennet's sister); she invites them to come the next evening for cards and supper.
Chapter 16: Supper with the Philipses. Elizabeth is pleased to see Mr. Wickham, and is even more pleased that he seems to be interested in her. Wickham asks if she knows Darcy. She keeps the topic on Darcy, and finds that Wickham is a font of information -- he has been connected to the Darcy family since his childhood; his father was the late Mr Darcy's man of business. Wickham tells Elizabeth that old Mr Darcy had educated him for the church and had promised him a living, but that when the living became available, "our" Mr Darcy would not give it to him, and that Wickham was left to find his own way in the world. Wickham also reveals another connection to Darcy: Lady Catherine deBourgh is Darcy's aunt (she is his mother's sister) and believes that Darcy is to marry her daughter.
Chapter 17: Elizabeth shares Wickham's story with Jane. Jane is sure that there must be some mistake, somewhere. Mr Bingley and his two sisters come to call, and invite the Bennet family to a ball at Netherfield. Elizabeth is delighted at the idea of dancing with Mr Wickham. To her dismay, not only does Mr Collins decide that he will also come to the ball, but he also asks her for the first two dances. She also realizes that Mr Collins may actually be courting her.
Chapter 18: The Netherfield Ball. Although the other officers are present, Wickham is not; Denny drops Elizabeth a hint that Wickham timed his out-of-town business to avoid Darcy. Elizabeth is disappointed -- and annoyed with Darcy. She is so taken by surprise when Darcy asks her to dance, though, that she accepts before she can come up with an excuse. Elizabeth fishes for more information on Wickham. Bingley and his sisters have a poor opinion of him, but Elizabeth thinks that it's because they are naturally taking Darcy's side. Elizabeth has other concerns when the rest of her family starts forgetting their manners.

That Michelle! She must be telepathic or something. I was just wondering the other day if there would be any interest in reviving the long-dormant Group Read, and sure enough, there on her blogwas her little reminder....

The Group Read will resume Monday, May 3. We will discuss Chapters 13-18.

If you were not reading along in February but would like to join, please do! We're not using any particular edition of the book, so just grab a copy and jump on in. The text of the book is even available on-line. You can also get it as an e-book. Notes and discussions on previous chapters are available here.

Our next segment will be Chapters 13-18. If you have any questions while reading these chapters, please feel free to post them here.

I'd like to skip a week and discuss this section on February 27. (I'm having company next week and I doubt I'll have time to prepare a post.) This might be a good opportunity for anyone who's fallen behind -- or wants to join -- to catch up. (For those who may be interested, our last week's discussion and some other background notes can all be accessed from our sidebar, by clicking the button or searching under "Group Read.")

Discussion: P&P, Chapters 7-12

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Chapter 7:
A militia regiment has made Meryton its winter headquarters, and Catherine and Lydia are enjoying the society of the officers. The Bingley sisters invite Jane to dine at Netherfield; Jane gets caught in the rain on the way over, gets sick, and is forced to stay the night. Elizabeth walks over the next morning to see how she's doing. Jane is still very ill, so Elizabeth remains at Netherfield to help care for her.

We learn that Longbourn is entailed to a distant relation (more about entails in the notes) and learn about Mrs Bennet's connections.

Chapter 8: The evening at Netherfield. A discussion of reading and "accomplishments."

We learn that Darcy has a younger sister, and that their house in Derbyshire is named Pemblerley.

Chapter 9: Mrs Bennet comes to check up on Jane.

Chapter 10: Elizabeth's second evening at Netherfield. A discussion of handwriting leads to a discussion of character. Miss Bingley plays the piano-forte. Mr Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance but, with an arch joke, she declines.
Chapter 11: Jane is recovered enough to join the party that evening. Elizabeth and Darcy discuss character and temperament.
Chapter 12: Jane and Elizabeth leave Netherfield.

For next Friday: Chapters 7-12. Questions on these chapters may be posted here.

I can also send an email notification when each week's discussion post goes up. If you'd like this, please let me know.

Welcome to the Group Read!

First, my thanks to Hambet, who obliged me (and, at this writing, obliges me still) with a very early and very, very, very long nap while I tapped out my illiterate musings.

In case anyone needs it, a very brief plot summary of the first six chapters:

Chapter 1: Mrs Bennet tells Mr Bennet the exciting news: Netherfield Park, a nearby estate, has been rented by Mr Bingley, a young man with a more than comfortable income. Mrs Bennet is delighted by the possiblity that Mr Bingley might marry one of their five daughters, but is much vexed that Mr Bennet will not promise to visit Mr Bingley and begin the acquaintance.

We learn the names of three of the Bennet sisters: Jane, Elizabeth, and Lydia.

Chapter 2: After much teasing, Mr Bennet finally reveals that he has visited Mr Bingley.

We meet the other two Bennet sisters: Mary and Kitty (Catherine).

Chapter 3: Mr Bennet may have met Mr Bingley, but he does not cough up much information to the ladies of his household and they must turn to their neighbors. We meet Sir William Lucas, who is delighted with Mr. Bingley. Mr Bingley himself comes to call at the Bennets, but does not get to meet the young ladies. He is invited to dine, but cannot accept the invitation. He does attend the ball at the Meryton assembly-rooms, and brings guests: his sisters, Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley; his brother-in-law, Mr Hurst; and his friend, Mr. Darcy. Mr Bingley is lively and sociable, and a big hit at the ball. The neighborhood is ready to like Mr Darcy as well -- he is handsome and very rich -- but Mr Darcy quickly makes it plain that he is not interested in being liked. He only dances with Bingley's sisters, and flatly declines even being introduced to any other lady. Elizabeth Bennet overhears Bingley urging Darcy to loosen up a little. Bingley offers to ask someone to introduce Elizabeth to Darcy, but Darcy coldly refuses. Elizabeth is offended, but not crushed.

Chapter 4: Jane and Elizabeth discuss the ball (and Bingley's sisters.) The narrator gives us more information about the Bingley family, and shows us the Netherfield party's opinions of the ball.

We learn that the Bennets reside at Longbourn.

Chapter 5: The Lucases call upon the Bennets, and there is more discussion of the ball.

We learn more about Sir William Lucas and meet his wife, Lady Lucas, and their eldest daughter Charlotte.

Chapter 6: The Bennet sisters become better acquainted with Bingley's sisters. It is two weeks since the ball, and Jane and Bingley are growing fond of each other. Charlotte thinks that Jane should drop her guard a little and be more encouraging to Bingley.

We learn that Mr Darcy is growing interested in Elizabeth. He starts paying more attention to her. At the Lucas home, Elizabeth notices his attention and responds by teasing him a little. Charlotte invites Elizabeth to play at the pianoforte, Mary is next to play, and soon there is dancing. Sir William Lucas, that genial fellow, suggests that Darcy dance with Elizabeth, but Elizabeth declines. Darcy is not hurt; his interest only increases. He mentions his interest to Miss Bingley, who immediately starts teasing him about the happy life he will have with Mrs Bennet as a mother-in-law. Darcy ignores her as she prates on. We are given a strong hint that Miss Bingley might wish to herself capture Darcy's heart.

The votes are in, and Pride and Prejudice it shall be!

Now it's time to get your copy of the book. It's readily available at the bookstore (new or used), library, or even online.

Let's start reading, and discuss Chapters 1-6 at the end of next week (February 6 or thereabouts.) I'll open each week's discussion with a post, with discussion to follow in the comments box. I'll be putting all posts in their own Group Read category, so they can be easily retrieved.

One thing that's been on my mind is how to handle those details of Jane Austen's world that might be confusing to those new to her books -- things like livings, precedence, reticules, shillings and pence, and so on. Some people are going to have books with extensive notes, but others might not.

There are a lot of books out there that answer those kinds of background questions -- for example, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool. The Republic of Pemberley is also a gold mine. (If you don't like surprises, be warned; the RoP is also chock-full of plot giveaways.)

I also propose a weekly area for people to post their Pressing Questions about language, customs, "what's happening" -- that kind of thing. Please feel free to post any questions about Chapters 1-6 in this post's comments box.

Let's go!

Di Fattura Caslinga: Pansy's Etsy Shop
The Sleepy Mommy Shoppe: Stuff we Like
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Any loose change in referral fees goes to the Feed Pansy's Ravenous Teens Fund.)

Pansy and Peony: The Two Sleepy Mommies