Pride and Prejudice Volume 1, Chapter 1
Elizabeth Bennet is one of the five daughters of Mrs.Bennet and Mr. Bennet, and she is the most practical of all the women in her family. Mrs. Bennet, very conscious of the rules of polite society, tells her husband that he must go and meet Mr. Bingley, a wealthy, young bachelor who is moving into the neighborhood. Mr. Bennet has no desire to go meet the man, but Mrs. Bennet insists that he must introduce himself to Bingley so that the family can get to know him. Everyone of this time felt that "[i]t is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife," Volume 1, Chapter 1, pg. 1. Therefore, Mrs. Bennet expects that Bingley may want to marry one of the Bennet daughters, for "the business of [Mrs. Bennet's] life [is] to get her daughters married." Volume 1, Chapter 1, pg. 3 Mr. Bennet says that he doesn't care what the proper custom is, if Mrs. Bennet wants to meet the young man, he thinks she ought to be the one making the visit. He insists that he won't oblige his wife's silly wishes, and Mrs. Bennet pouts because of her husband's refusal. She is worried that Bingley will meet someone else's daughter first, and then Mrs. Bennet will be stuck with the disgrace of five unmarried daughters.