But, then, we again come up against the question of what it means to marry your daughters well. Mrs. Bennett remarks at least once that there was a well-off soldier that she could have taken up with instead of the wry Mr. Bennett -- as you mentioned, she appears to believe that marrying well means marrying money. The frivolity with which Mrs. Bennett conducts herself in this first chapter and the objections which Mr. Bennett raises seem to be aimed towards discouraging us, the readers, from agreeing with Mrs. Bennett (although society certainly seems to have her back in this matter). The teasing which Mr. Bennett inflicts on Mrs. Bennett may serve as another warning to the reader: marrying for beauty (without considerations to intellect) is also ill-advised. Mr. Bennett isn't being cruel in playing dumb; instead, he is both exercising a means of coping with the inequalities between himself and his wife, and expressing his own thoughts and concerns about what makes a good marriage.
Here's another thought: in parrying Mrs. Bennett's requests, Mr. Bennett may also be attempting to assert his own will and beliefs in what I believe is a world ruled primarily by women: the world of visiting and news, a world in which matches are considered and made. I haven't really fleshed this out, and it might not have much relevance to the current line of discussion, but I think it could be good to keep in mind as we examine who decides what in the process of matchmaking and courtship.
I have packed up my copy of PNP for the move, but rest assured that I'll squirrel around for it the moment I get that box transferred. In the mean time, I'll give your questions another look and will eagerly anticipate your next post.