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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: LITERATURE NOTES
The next morning, Darcy and Fitzwilliam leave Rosings. After Collins bids them farewell, he hurries to comfort Lady Catherine and her daughter. Lady Catherine invites the company at the parsonage to dine with her. At the dinner party, Lady Catherine is her domineering self, demanding that Elizabeth stay on for two months at the parsonage.
Elizabeth and Maria plan to leave the parsonage, ending their six weeks’ visit. Mr. Collins harps on the indebtedness they should feel towards his patroness and her daughter for their kindness. He also talks in flattering terms about his own social position in order to emphasize Elizabeth’s loss in refusing him.
Elizabeth and Maria go to London, where they stay at the Gardiners’ house
for a short while. They then return to Longbourn with Jane. Elizabeth
does not disclose Darcy’s proposal to Jane until they reach home.
The plot is moving towards its climax; therefore, all the characters must
return to Hertfordshire, where the action started and will end. Elizabeth
and Jane return to Longbourn and will soon be followed by Darcy and Bingley.
Elizabeth’s state of mind is ambivalent. Although she has overcome her
prejudice against Darcy, her pride now stands in the way. It will take
Darcy’s heroic salvaging of her family honor to humble Elizabeth.
Kitty and Lydia wait at the village inn for their elder sisters. On their way back to Longbourn, they tell anecdotes and jokes to Elizabeth and Jane. Lydia reveals that Miss King has gone to Liverpool to break free from Wickham.
Elizabeth and Jane are warmly welcomed by their parents. Mrs. Bennet is pleased to see Jane is still so beautiful, and Mr. Bennet more than once voices how glad he is to have his darling Lizzy back. Mrs. Bennet and her younger daughters are aggrieved because the militia regiment is leaving for Brighton. Elizabeth is relieved on hearing the news for two reasons. First, she does not want to see Wickham in her present agitated state of mind; and secondly, she feels her sisters will not be so capricious with the soldiers gone.
Lydia has been invited to Brighton for the summer, and Mrs. Bennet and the
younger girls want Mr. Bennet to take the whole family there. Although
Mr. Bennet has no intentions of doing this, his answers are vague and
Elizabeth returns home to find her younger sisters still crazy about red coat soldiers. Mrs. Bennet, as always, is still an indulgent mother, giving in to every demand of her daughters, especially to Lydia. She is also still obsessed with getting her daughters married.
Elizabeth’s decision not to disclose Wickham’s true nature to her family has serious repercussions. First, it leads to the Wickham-Lydia affair, which could have been prevented; and secondly, Darcy continues to be considered an unjust man and is treated accordingly.
Lydia pleads to be granted permission to visit Brighton for the summer; Elizabeth
begs her father not to let her go. Mr. Bennet, however, is too irresponsible
to put his foot down, a fact which makes him as responsible as his wife
for the family’s sad state at affairs. Elizabeth is shocked by the behavior
that she sees in her family and realizes the truth Darcy has stated about
the weak impression they make.
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