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Chapters 20, 21, and 22

Chapter 20

Mrs. Bennet assumes the engagement is set, and congratulates Mr. Collins. Collins accepts her greetings and relates the story of Lizzy's refusals, but insists that she is soon to accept. Mrs. Bennet admits that Lizzy may not change her mind on her own, but that she and her husband will set Lizzy straight. Mr. Collins then decides that a woman who must be convinced to accept his proposal may not make the best wife, and suggests that perhaps Mrs. Bennet should not pressure her daughter. Mrs. Bennet instead yells for Mr. Bennet, and hurriedly relates the story to her husband. Mr. Bennet sends for Lizzy, and smartly announces, "Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." A relieved Lizzy laughs, but her mother is furious, both with her daughter and her husband. She continues to pester her daughter on the matter. Later in the day, Charlotte Lucas arrives to visit the Bennets, and is told the entire story by multiple women in the family. Mrs. Bennet goes on a tirade, and says that Lizzy will never get a husband if she continues on in this manner. Mr. Collins later takes back his proposal to Lizzy, and apologizes profusely to Mrs. Bennet.

Chapter 21

For the rest of the day, Lizzy has to endure her annoyed mother and embarrassed Mr. Collins. His affections seem to have transferred to Charlotte, who politely listens to his ramblings. The next day, the Bennets walk into Meryton, where they encounter Wickham and pay a visit to their aunt. Wickham tells Lizzy that the real reason he did not attend the ball was to avoid Darcy. He and another officer accompany the women back to Longbourn, and Wickham is particularly attentive to Lizzy the entire walk home. Later that afternoon, a letter arrives for Jane from Netherfield. Jane asks Lizzy to join her upstairs, and reveals the letter's contents. It is a note from Miss Bingley explaining that the entire group has left Netherfield, with no intention to return. It reveals that the business Mr. Bingley must conduct in London will likely take quite a while, and that once he is in the city, he will not want to leave. Miss Bingley then wishes Jane a merry Christmas, which Jane takes to mean that no one from Netherfield will be back during the winter. As the letter continues, it only gets worse. Miss Bingley says that everyone in the party is anxious to see Darcy's sister, Georgiana. The Bingley sisters, in fact, hope that this beautiful and highly accomplished woman will become their sister, as Bingley already likes her, and will have much more opportunity to get to know her. Furthermore, all the relatives believe it will be a good match. Jane is despondent, but Lizzy tries to console her. She assures her sister that anyone can plainly see how much Bingley cares for her, and that his sisters only think that the Bennet family is not rich or well connected enough for them. Jane argues that Miss Bingley is incapable of deception, and Lizzy tells her to console herself, then, since she will not listen to reason.

Chapter 22

The Bennets share another meal with the Lucases, and Charlotte is again friendly to the boorish Mr. Collins. As it turns out, Charlotte hopes to gain Mr. Collins' affection for herself, and is successful. The next morning, he arrives at Lucas Lodge to ask for Charlotte's hand in marriage. She accepts. Austen reveals, however, that Charlotte only wants to be established, and cares little for anything else of the matter. She does not pretend to think that Collins holds any deep feeling for her, but she is happy to be married, as that is what is expected of her. Sir William and Lady Lucas give their consent, and immediately begin the calculation of the fortune they will inherit upon Mr. Bennet's death. Charlotte's only worry is what Elizabeth Bennet will think, and decides to go to Longbourn herself to deliver the news.
Mr. Collins is set to leave early the next morning, but promises to visit again soon. Mrs. Bennet, meanwhile, hopes he will ask one of her other daughters to marry, possibly Mary. Charlotte arrives and tells Lizzy her news. She is astonished that Charlotte accepted Collins' offer. Charlotte says that she hopes Lizzy will understand in time, and that Collins is a good match for her. She has never been a romantic, and never wanted anything more than a good home and solid connections. She believes that her chance of happiness with him is as good as with any other man. Lizzy worries that Charlotte will never be happy with the life she has chosen.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1, 2, and 3
Chapters 4, 5, and 6
Chapters 7 and 8
Chapters 9 ,10, and 11
Chapters 12, 13, and 14
Chapters 15 and 16
Chapters 17, 18, and 19
Chapters 20, 21, and 22
Chapters 23, 24, and 25
Chapters 26, 27, and 28
Chapters 29, 30, and 31
Chapters 32, 33, and 34
Chapter 35
Chapters 36, 37, and 38
Chapters 39 and 40
Chapters 41 and 42
Chapters 43 and 44
Chapters 45 and 46
Chapters 47 and 48
Chapters 49 and 50
Chapters 51 and 52
Chapters 53, 54, and 55
Chapters 56 and 57
Chapters 58 and 59
Chapters 60 and 61



 






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