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Chapters 51 and 52

Chapter 51

Lydia's wedding day arrives, and a carriage is sent to retrieve the newlyweds. Mrs. Bennet greets her daughter and son-in-law with rapture, but Mr. Bennet gives an understandably cool reception. The sisters are horrified at Lydia's behavior, which is as loud, wild, and rude as ever. She demands congratulations from all of her sisters, takes Jane's seat at the dining table, declaring that, as a married woman, she has higher status than her oldest sister now. She revels in her new position, and calls on the Lucases and Philipses, just to hear them call her Mrs. Wickham. Her husband is also without shame. The Wickhams stay for ten days, and in that time, Lizzy makes careful assessment of the situation. It is obvious that Lydia likes her husband far more that he likes her, and that he brought the girl with him on his escape only to serve as a companion. Lizzy endures Lydia's description of her wedding and of the "horrid" treatment she endured at the hands of the Gardiners, who did not take her to one ball or affair the entire time she was with them. The only detail that interests Lizzy is the revelation that Mr. Darcy had been in attendance at the wedding. After Lydia spills the fact, she remembers that she was supposed to keep it a secret. Lizzy writes a letter to her aunt, demanding an explanation.

Chapter 52

Elizabeth receives a reply very quickly. Her aunt begins by explaining that she does not believe Lizzy entirely ignorant of the situation, but that, if she is wrong, she gives the following explanation to satisfy her niece. She writes that the day after she arrived home, Mr. Darcy called on them and revealed that he had located Wickham and Lydia, and spoken to both of them. He had come to town only one day after Lydia and the Gardiners had left so quickly, and had hunted for them ever since. He said that he felt responsible, for he had been too proud to tell people about Wickham's true nature. Anyway, he had hunted them down through Mrs. Younge, bribed her, and found out their location. He told Lizzy to return to her friends, for she was causing her family great trouble, but the girl firmly intended to stay put. Thus, Darcy decided his only hope was to force Wickham to marry the girl, and after talking with him, realized that Wickham had absolutely no plans of going through with such a match. He still hoped to find a woman with a more sizable fortune. Finally, Mr. Darcy agreed to pay off his debts in exchange for the marriage, and after much haggling, the amount was set. Mr. Darcy took care of every detail. He settled the extensive debts, bestowed an additional sum on the newlyweds, and bought Wickham's commission into the army. Mrs. Gardiner asks for Lizzy's secrecy in all these matters, and stresses that both she and her husband believe there to be a deeper motive for Darcy's interest, and only share the story with her for this reason. Darcy returned for the wedding, and Mrs. Gardiner repeatedly tells Lizzy how much she likes him. She ends her letter by suggesting that Lizzy will have them to Christmas at Pemberley. The news shocks Lizzy and sends her reeling in both pleasure and pain. Lizzy realizes, as her aunt has, that Darcy did all of it out of love for her. Quickly, though, she changes her mind, certain that Darcy could not love the sister-in-law of Wickham and the woman who has already refused him. Her thoughts are interrupted, however, by Wickham, who asks about Pemberley. Lizzy makes it very evident that she knows everything, but urges him to look only to the future.

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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