From the opening paragraphs of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, we meet the character of Mrs Bennet. This mother of five daughters, who we are told are all out in society, is portrayed as a giddy goose with no real intelligence. She doesn’t engage her brain when speaking and as a result constantly mortifies her two eldest daughters, Jane and Elizabeth. This pair are real ladies in comparison to their three younger sisters – Kitty, Mary and especially Lydia, who ends up making a disgrace of the entire family.

All Mrs Bennet can think of is getting at least one of her daughters married to a man of good fortune. She knows the name and income of every eligible bachelor in the district and would settle for a member of the militia as a son-in-law if she had to.