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Chapters 39 and 40

Chapter 39

In the middle of May, Jane and Lizzy travel to an inn, where Mr. Bennet's carriage will meet them and take them home. They are surprised to find Kitty and Lydia there, snacking and looking over their recent purchases. Lydia displays a bonnet, which she admits is ugly, but she plans to take home and rework. She says it will not matter what she wears that summer anyway, as the officers are set to leave Meryton in two weeks. They are moving on to Brighton, and Lydia proclaims that she and her mother both hope that Mr. Bennet will take the family there for the summer. She also reveals that Wickham and Miss King are not to marry, that she has gone to Liverpool to visit an uncle, and intends to stay there. Lizzy exclaims that Miss King is now safe, and Jane hopes that there is not hurt feelings on either side. After lunch, all four women crowd into Mr. Bennet's carriage with the younger girls' purchases. Lydia says that she is ashamed of Jane, who, at almost 23, is soon to be an old maid if she does not marry. Lydia suggests that she will marry before all of her older sisters, and will have the pleasure of escorting them around to social events. Upon reaching Longbourn, they are genuinely welcomed by their family, including their usually unaffectionate mother. The Lucases join the Bennets for dinner, and everyone is excited and chatty. Her parents frequently discuss the idea of spending the summer in Brighton, and Mrs. Bennet seems certain that she will be able to convince her husband to agree to the plan.

Chapter 40

The next morning, Lizzy recounts to Jane the story of Darcy's proposal, leaving out any details that concern her sister and Bingley. Jane is astonished, not that a man would care so deeply for her sister, but that he would confess it in such an offensive manner. She does, however, feel bad for the rejected Darcy. Elizabeth then recounts the second half of Darcy's letter, careful again to leave out any discussion of Jane and Bingley. Jane is again stunned, and tries to defend both Wickham and Darcy at the same time, but Lizzy declares that it is impossible for both of them to be without fault. She admits that she is inclined to believe Darcy. She admits that she feels differently toward the man, and regrets making assumptions about Darcy that were not deserved. She then asks Jane if they should let the people of Meryton know Wickham's true nature, to which Jane replies that they probably should not, and Lizzy agrees. Meanwhile, Lizzy is happy to have gotten the story off her chest, but still feels bad at having to hide half of the truth from her sister, who she has observed to be very unhappy. She still feels very strongly about Bingley, and even believes herself to have been in love with him. Mrs. Bennet does not improve the situation by bringing up the man repeatedly. She also mentions that the Collinses look upon Longbourn as their own now, and often talk of the time when they will inherit it, but Lizzy assures her they said nothing of the matter while she was with them. Mrs. Bennet retorts that they speak of it only amongst themselves.

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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