Page 5. " It is a truth universally acknowledged "

Another truth universally acknowledged is that this opening line is one of the most famous, and most often parodied, in English literature. See here for an entertaining list of variations, including the opening of Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, which also borrows the plot of Pride and Prejudice. 

Page 5. " Netherfield Park is let at last "
Basildon Park
Public DomainBasildon Park

Netherfield is a fictional estate located in Hertfordshire.

Basildon Park played Netherfield in the 2005 movie, and Edgcote Hall in the 1995 BBC television series.

In his essay 'The Probable Location of "Longbourn" in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice', Kenneth Smith suggests that the real inspiration for Netherfield is Kimpton Hall, a long-since vanished estate in the village of Kimpton in Hertfordshire. 

Page 5. " he came down on Monday in a chaise and four "
A May Morning in the Park
Public DomainA May Morning in the Park - Credit: Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)

A chaise, from the French for chair, is a small light carriage. Some have two wheels, pulled by one or two horses; others have four wheels with as many horses.

This particular quote implies a chaise and four horses. It is mentioned by Mrs Bennet as it shows how wealthy Mr Bingley is.

Page 5. " take possession before Michaelmas "
Archangel Michael
Creative Commons AttributionArchangel Michael - Credit: Renaissance, Flickr

A Christian feast on 29 September, especially celebrated in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in honour of the archangel Michael.

It celebrates Michael's defeat of Lucifer and Lucifer's banishment from Heaven.

Some sources suggest Michaelmas used to fall on 10 or 11 October.



Page 6. " A single man of a large fortune; four or five thousand a year "

With a very little literary detective work it is possible to find out how much this means in modern money. The events in Pride and Prejudice are widely considered to begin in September 1811 (see here for more on the book's chronology).

Using the brilliant and rather addictive historical price converter found here (on the right hand side of the page, scroll down towards the bottom) this income equates to an annual income of £260,000- £320,000 ($407,706- $501,792 approx.). Not bad indeed. 

Page 9. " the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them "
Mr. Denny entreated permission to introduce his friend
Public DomainMr. Denny entreated permission to introduce his friend - Credit: C. E. Brock
Mr.Collins prefaced his speech with a solemn bow
Public DomainMr.Collins prefaced his speech with a solemn bow - Credit: C. E. Brock

In Austen's time, introductions were burdened with rules. A man could not introduce himself to someone of higher standing than himself, nor could he introduce a friend to his acquaintances without their consent. Women always had to wait for men to initiate the introduction, and they could not be introduced to a stranger without an acquaintance conducting the meeting.


Page 11. " Derbyshire "
Public DomainDerbyshire
Derbyshire landscape
Creative Commons AttributionDerbyshire landscape - Credit: Jonathan Gill, Flickr

Situated in the East Midlands of England, Derbyshire's landscape is composed of hills, forests and fields.

Page 12. " Longbourn "
Groombridge Place
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGroombridge Place - Credit: Colin Smith, Geograph Project

The fictional estate of the Bennet family, Longbourn was represented in the 1995 BBC TV series by Luckington Court, and by Groombridge Place in the 2005 movie.


Luckington Court
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLuckington Court - Credit: Paul Ashwin, Geograph Project
Page 12. " Hertfordshire "
Hertfordshire bridge
Creative Commons AttributionHertfordshire bridge - Credit: TheLizardQueen, Flickr
Public DomainHertfordshire

Hertfordshire is a county in the southeast of England. Home to the Bennets, it is the setting for most of Pride and Prejudice.

Page 14. " the most accomplished girl "
Regency young lady playing the pianoforte
Public DomainRegency young lady playing the pianoforte

Girls belonging to the upper classes spent most of their time learning skills or accomplishments that would theoretically help them attract a husband, and which were therefore often neglected after the wedding.

An accomplished girl might have learnt to draw, sing, play music and speak foreign languages.

Page 15. " the two sixth with Lizzy, and the Boulanger "

The numbers Mrs Bennet mentions refer to sets of English country dances. The Boulanger was an easy dance, derived from the Cotillion, which allowed every lady to dance briefly with every gentleman.


Page 19. " Meryton "
Lacock Abbey
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLacock Abbey - Credit: Beechwood Photography, Flickr

The fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire was probably inspired by Hertford.

Lacock in Wiltshire was the 1995 BBC television series choice for this location, while Stamford in Lincolnshire was chosen for the 2005 movie.






Page 19. " presentation at St James's "
St James's Palace and surroundings in 1763
Public DomainSt James's Palace and surroundings in 1763 - Credit: Thomas Bowles

 Since Mr Lucas distinguished himself during his mayoralty and was knighted by the King, he went to the royal St James's Palace in London to receive his title.  

St James's Palace now
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSt James's Palace now - Credit: ChrisO, Wikipedia Commons

The building, which still stands, ceased to be used as a royal residence not long after the death of Jane Austen.

Page 20. " had come to the ball in a hack chaise "

A hack chaise is a carriage for hire, like a taxi, used by those without the means to keep their own carriage. It is presumed that Mr Darcy would not want to talk to Mrs Long if he knew she used that mode of transportation.

Page 23. " they both like Vingt-un better than Commerce "
Creative Commons AttributionBlackjack - Credit: banspy, Flickr

Vingt-un or Vingt-et-un is the French version of what became Blackjack, with a few alterations. Vingt-et-un, French for twenty-one, originated at the beginning of the 18th century in French casinos.

Commerce, on the other hand, was invented a century later, also in France. It is similar to Vingt-un, so the comment regarding which Jane and Mister Bingley both like best shows how little they know one another yet. This is, of course, the point of the comment made by Elizabeth.