I am thrilled to have with me today the dashing, charming, and handsome Mr. Edward Bennet. (Pause- Gives ladies a chance to catch their breath). After discovering the Bennet sisters have an older brother, I was eager to learn more of this gentleman who has just arrived home from London and is making quite an impression amongst the ladies of Meryton, Austen Authors, and Twitter. After a few bats of my eyelashes, and a well-placed complement or two, I was able to secure a private interview with Edward Bennet. I hope you enjoy this glimpse at the man behind the cravat.
What is your definition of a “gentleman?”
A gentleman has good breeding, manners, and behavior. Honest and trustworthy—a man of his word. We too rarely see all of those in one man.
What part about being a gentleman do you like best? Which areas of propriety do you wish you could just toss into the Thames?
I enjoy the freedom of being a gentleman. So long as I do not breach propriety, I have many choices as to how I choose to spend my time and whom I spend it with. As for propriety, sometimes I feel it is considered more important than honesty. Why cannot a gentleman have a civil and private conversation with a lady without it being presumed that something improper is going on?
What have you been doing to pass time whilst in London?
I attend a great many soirees and balls to become acquainted with the Season’s young ladies. My family’s estate at Longbourn could dearly use an infusion of cash for improvements, and it would be most convenient if I could find an heiress to marry. Is it not as easy to fall in love with a rich lady as a poor one? (Laughs) I also spend many evenings attending lectures and scientific presentations on modern methods of farming. Fascinating stuff!
You called Mr. Darcy out at the assembly for his disparaging remark about your sister Elizabeth. Did you know it was the illustrious Mr. Darcy to whom you were speaking?
I did not, but I am afraid that the adjective I would apply to Mr. Darcy is not ‘illustrious.’ He is a Cambridge man, after all.
Yes, you attend Oxford. Do you have any other opinions about Mr. Darcy?
I do, but it would be unwise of me to state them publicly. Let us just say I cannot abide hypocrites, and leave it at that.
What is your opinion on entails? Do you find them helpful or hurtful?
I believe them most beneficial. It can be quite painful when an estate is entailed away from a family for the lack of a son, that is true. While it is appealing to think of splitting an inheritance between all the children of a marriage, the fact is that it would lead to increasing impoverishment with each successive generation. An entail is vital in keeping an estate intact, which is often the best thing for a family as a whole.
What would be on your list of things that make an 'accomplished woman?'
Beauty, wit, a certain self-possession, and the ability to mingle with society at all levels while giving offense to none. Musical skills are of great importance in providing entertainment, and extensive reading keeps a woman’s mind lively and interesting. An adequate dowry, while not an absolute requirement, is an attractive inducement to affection. (Laughs) I do hope you know I am jesting.
I hear you are glad to be out of London and back at Longbourn. How do you handle being surrounded by so many female relations, especially your two younger, sillier sisters?
If there is a reason I should dislike being surrounded by so many female relations, I have yet to discover it! As the only son, I am an object of great interest to them. As for my two youngest sisters, they are good hearted and high spirited. All young ladies must be protected from the world at large, and taken in hand by their parents when the need arises. Between you and me, I would take more of an interest in my youngest sisters than my father does at present. But I think ladies are rational creatures, and believe they can be guided to proper behavior without crushing their joie de vivre.
What is your description of the perfect husband for your sisters?
The perfect husband would be one who respects his wife, can properly provide for her, and treats her well, and for whom she has some affection.
Favorite food & drink:
Being possessed of a taste for sweets, I have a great weakness for sticky pudding and for frozen ices. I find brandy to be superior to port, and I cannot abide Madeira.
Tea or coffee?
A well-made cup of tea is a true delight, though there is nothing quite like the scent of coffee.
Night owl or early riser?
Having grown up on an agricultural estate, I am an early riser.
I know Miss Perry is dying to know—Breeches or trousers?
Ah, the delightful Miss Perry! I wear breeches for formal occasions, not least because I know it delights the ladies, but for a day on the farm, I must admit trousers are more practical. Honestly, if I never wore a cravat again, I should be very happy. Beau Brummell is the bane of the gentlemen of England!
What would you like to say to your ardent admirers on twitter?I hope they will all join in the conversation, for there is very little I enjoy more than a conversation with an ardent lady!
I know Edward Bennet has been making quite an impression with a select group of ardent admirers in the Twitterverse. Those of you looking for diverting tweets should follow Edward on Twitter (@EdwBennet) or use the hashtag #hotBennetBrother (or #hBB).
Pride and Prejudice: Reader’s Choic: The Bennet BrotherElizabeth has an older, very protective brother. Returning to Hertfordshire after a time away, he is not pleased to learn of his favorite sister being insulted by Mr. Darcy! Will he confront the emotionally-conflicted Darcy? Does Lizzy’s brother know Mr. Darcy, or heard rumors of him? Or perhaps vice versa? And what about this mysterious brother, anyway?