He was not in the least in a state of tension or of vigilance with regard to Catherine’s prospects he was even on his guard against the ridicule that might attach itself to the spectacle of a house thrown into agitation by its daughter and heiress receiving attentions unprecedented in its annals.
There are no more uses of "ridicule" in the book.
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It’s easier to ridicule her ideas than to seriously refute her findings.
In his day, he was ridiculed for saying the earth is round.