I couldn't make sense of this zigzagging\twisting sentence. Is it "such as(for example)" or "such / as (such... which)"? What does "such" mean? Could anyone please help to make the sentence more explicit?

The context is :

Wickham and Lydia eloped and then got married; before they set off for the north, the were now staying in Lydia's house. They were not ashamed of their conduct, and were not welcomed in this house except Lydia's mother, Mrs. Bennet.

Here is the sentence:

Their visitors were not to remain above ten days with them. Mr. Wickham had received his commission before he left London, and he was to join his regiment at the end of a fortnight.

No one but Mrs. Bennet regretted that their stay would be so short. And she made the most of the time by visiting about with her daughter, and having very frequent parties at home. These parties were acceptable to all, to avoid a family circle / was even more desirable to such as did think than such as did not.

From Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

  • Are you quoting directly from the book? I searched this online and the sentence seems to be this: "These parties were acceptable to all; to avoid a family circle was even more desirable to such as did think, than such as did not." Take a look at the punctuation carefully.
    – AIQ
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 4:24
  • Yes, directly from the book, from the Penguin Press. But even with the punctuation you added, I still don't get "to such as did think". what does "such" mean here? and what "did think"? You are not helping.
    – user86301
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


Such here means those members of the family. The more thoughtful family members, who found Lydia's conduct embarrassing and disliked Wickham, were very glad not to have to spend evenings with only the family present. The less thoughtful ones just enjoyed the parties.

  • Many thanks for the explanation "such".Then how to understand "as did think", and "as did not"? Does it mean: those people / who did think "These parties were acceptable" / was even more desirable to avoid a family circle / than those / who did not think "These parties were acceptable". or the reverse? I'm so confused by who is who, or the words order.
    – user86301
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 8:56
  • I thought I had explained that such as did think (the more sensible, thoughtful ones) were even more glad than such as did not (the silly, frivolous ones) that the parties were taking place, because they found it uncomfortable just having the family present. (Note the correct punctuation supplied by AIQ above.) Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 10:17
  • The Oxford dictionary says "such as" ="(archaic)those who". so the sentence means: those who did think of avoiding the family circle / is more desirous of the parties / than those who did not think of avoiding family circle. Thanks for your explanation.
    – user86301
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 13:55
  • 1
    As I understand it, such as did think doesn't refer to those who had a particular opinion, but those who were thinking people (rational and intelligent). Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 10:04
  • 1
    That is what I tried to make clear in my answer and earlier comment. Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 12:22

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