Free Study Guide: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Free BookNotes|
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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: ONLINE NOTES / SUMMARY
Mr. Collins sends a letter of condolence, but is brimming with painful references to Lydia’s disposition and her faulty upbringing. Messages in a similar vein from Lady Catherine are also included. Another letter from Colonel Forster is sent to Mr. Gardiner, informing him that Wickham has left sizeable gambling and other debts behind him in Brighton.
Persuaded by Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Bennet finally returns to Longbourn. He appears
unruffled as ever but tells Elizabeth that he is to blame for being lenient
with Lydia. He resolves, in his ironic manner, to be more strict with
This chapter presents a merciless letter from Mr. Collins, again revealing his despicable nature. On hearing of Lydia’s "licentious behavior", he advises Mr. Bennet to "throw off his unworthy child from his affection forever" and with unparalleled egotism congratulates himself of not being ‘personally’ involved in the family’s disgrace. Mr. Collins also includes Lady Catherine’s expert derogatory comments.
Mr. Bennet’s ineffectual nature is also highlighted in the chapter. With a
little encouragement from Mr. Gardiner, he returns to Longbourn leaving
it to his brother-in-law to shoulder the responsibilities of finding Lydia.
He has retreated so far into his isolation over the years that it is next
to impossible for him to correct his behavior now. He does, however, somewhat
blame himself for the mess with Lydia and promises to be more strict with
Lydia and Wickham are found and, as expected, they are not married. Wickham,
however, has agreed to marry her on the stipulation that his debts are
cleared and he is given a stipend of one hundred pounds a year. Mr. Bennet
agrees to the offer, but suspects that a much greater amount must have
been passed on by Mr. Gardiner to maneuver Wickham to yield. Mrs. Bennet,
upon hearing that Lydia is to be married, forgets the disgraceful state
of affairs under which the marriage is coming to a pass. She enthusiastically
proceeds to make arrangements for a wedding and to convey the glad tidings
in the neighborhood.
When Lydia is found living with Wickham, Elizabeth realizes that her sister
is devoid of moral scruples; so is Mrs. Bennet. When she hears that Lydia
is to be married, she forgets the shameful circumstances, eagerly plans
a wedding, and tells all her neighbors the "good" news. She
never gives a second thought to the kind of man that Lydia is getting
for a husband or that the family has to pay one hundred pounds a year
to Wickham to accomplish the marriage.
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. 09 May 2017