Pride and Prejudice AudioBook: Perhaps the most famous opening lines from any nineteenth-century novel are the opening lines to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
These words are spoken by Mrs. Bennet to Mr. Bennet on the news that a gentleman of fortune has just moved to Netherfield Park, a nearby estate. The Bennets begin this story with a peculiar problem: they have five unmarried daughters and no sons. Their estate is entailed, or restricted in…
Here we are introduced to Mr and Mrs. Bennet, both of the Longbourn Estate. Mrs. Bennet arrives with some interesting news that a wealthy gentleman from the north has arrived in Netherfield, moved to a nearby estate. She has plans immediately to marry him to one of her daughters. She warns her husband that she will send him to see the new neighbor Bingley as soon as he arrives. She also reminds him of their daughters while he muses on how Elizabeth is his favorite daughter with “something more of quickness than her sisters”. Knowingly he questions why his visit to Bingley is so important.
Elizabeth and three of her sisters are introduced, including Kitty, Mary, and Lydia. After Mr. Bennet’s early teasing over visiting Bingley, in chapter 2 it is revealed that he was first in line to meet Mr. Bingley, and subsequently the rest of the chapter is spent considering when Bingley will visit the Bennets in response.
Bingley returns Mr. Bennet’s visit and the Bennets invite him to have dinner with them but he declines as he has business in town. When he returns for a nearby ball thrown by Sir William and Lady Lucas, he brings his own sisters and Mr. Darcy. The first introduction of Darcy is not favorable as the ladies observe that he is rich and attractive but too proud. He makes his own comments on Elizabeth, that she is not quite “handsome enough” for his tastes, turning down someone’s comment for him to ask her to dance. Jane, meanwhile dances with Bingley and excites Mrs. Bennet.
In each other’s confidence, Jane tells Elizabeth that she admires Bingley and that she enjoys his sisters’ company as well. Elizabeth is not so easily charmed and finds her sister too easy to impress, “blind to the follies and nonsense of others”. She finds his sisters proud all by themselves and too eager for Bingley to make his own estate (he inherited his money from his father). Miss Bingley, the unmarried of his sisters will live with him in Netherfield and the friendship between Darcy and Bingley is revealed to be rather deep with Bingley having a high regard for Darcy’s intelligence.
Chapter five introduces more of Sir William and Lady Lucas and their family, which is quite large with many children. Their oldest daughter Charlotte is one of Elizabeth’s best friends and the chapter shows the conversations between the Lucas and Bennet daughters as they discuss Mr. Darcy and his pride, including his unwillingness to talk to a woman he sat beside for as much as half an hour and how rude he was to Elizabeth. They agree however that much of her being upset is because he was rude to her.
In chapter six, the Bennet sisters spend more time with Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, although Bingley’s sisters are largely disinterested in spending time with anyone but Jane and Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Charlotte discuss Jane’s budding relationship with Bingley and the two disagree over how she should show her feelings, with Elizabeth agreeing with Jane’s coy approach and Charlotte thinking she should be more straightforward, lest nothing come of it.
Also in this chapter, Darcy begins to show a bit more interest in Elizabeth. Beyond his early observations that she was just tolerable, he begins to find her much more interesting and when he willingly takes her hand to dance at another party at Sir William’s, she turns him down. It is here though that Bingley’s sisters discover that Darcy has an interest in Elizabeth.
The two youngest Bennet sisters, Kitty and Lydia, visit their Aunt (via their mother) Mrs. Phillips in Meryton. There is a military base of sorts in Meryton and in due time the two become acquainted with the officers in the regiment, learning more on each visit.
Jane is invited to Netherfield to have supper with Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst (not to mention Bingley himself) and is advised by her mother to go on horseback so that if there is rain, she will be invited to stay the night. In the course of the three mile ride, Jane is soaked by the rain and does in fact stay there, but gets a cold in the process. Elizabeth therefore visits her to check on her health and ends up staying herself at the request of her sister.
Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst however do not fully appreciate Elizabeth and take the opportunity to jab at her pride and lack of manners whenever she is not around. They voice their empathy for Jane as well because of her family and lack of connections. They worry for her chances at making a good match.
That evening, the Bingleys, Hursts, and Darcy have a card game in which more details regarding Pemberley – Darcy’s own estate – and his sisters are revealed.
The rest of the Bennet women arrive to visit Jane – Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, and Lydia – and it is generally decided that she should not yet return home as she is not quite perfectly healthy. Lydia plays her part well and mentions to Bingley that he had made mention of a ball being held at his own estate, to which he agrees when Jane is feeling better. Mrs. Bennet discusses the differences between country and city living with the Bingley sisters, after which they once again take to jabs at the Bennet family. Darcy, however will not take the opportunity himself to join in mocking Elizabeth.
As Jane continues recovering, with the women reading, writing, and playing music, Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance. She once again turns him down, unwilling to allow him “the pleasure of despising” her and her taste. Miss Bingley grows increasingly jealous of Darcy’s attentions for Elizabeth, a girl she finds beneath her.
With Jane finally feeling better, she arrives in the drawing room and spends a few hours of the evening talking with Bingley in the drawing room. Meanwhile, Miss Bingley engages him in discussion of the ball, to which he replies that he was serious about having one. She also notices that Darcy does not pay her any attentions but that when she asks Elizabeth to walk with her, he takes note.
Darcy and Elizabeth have a conversation of their own on the nature of pride in each of them. She comments that his problem is a “propensity to hate everybody” and he responds by saying that she tries to “willfully misunderstand” those same people.
With Jane’s recovery complete, she and Elizabeth decide to return to the Bennet household. However, their mother makes excuses as to why they cannot use the carriage to return. Jane is finally coerced into borrowing Bingley’s carriage, but it means they will need to wait for one more day to leave.
Meanwhile, Darcy notes that he has been paying too much attention to Elizabeth and decides to speak with her less. The next day the Bennet sisters return home to a mother who is not entirely happy that Jane has returned, having wanted her to stay with Bingley as long as possible. Kitty and Lydia do their part by spilling the details of the military officers in Meryton.
Mr. Bennet announces, after some playfulness in withholding the name, that his cousin Mr. Collins has written him a letter and will be staying with them for a few days. He is the heir of Mr. Bennet’s estate because he has no sons. For his part, Mr. Collins is guilty over being the next in line for property that should not rightfully be his. He is a man of the church as well and has been given an important patronage. Mr. Bennet does not appreciate the letter however and decides that his cousin is too self important. When Mr. Collins arrives, he is the picture of perfect manners and compliments and it is soon realized that he intends to marry one of the Bennet girls.
Mr. Collins goes on at length during dinner about his patronage, the Lady Catherin de Bourgh and her residence in Rosings Park. He continues on and relays how he is exceptionally well suited at flattering Lady de Bourgh and her daughter Miss de Bourgh. Mr. Bennet is not impressed and finds his cousin rather silly.
Very quickly, Mr. Collins decides that due to his obligation in the inheritance he will ask for Jane’s hand in marriage, but is dissuaded when Mrs. Bennet tells him that there is another to whom she will likely soon be engaged. Quickly, Mr. Collins changes his choice to Elizabeth. The Bennet sisters, accompanied by Collins take a walk to Meryton where they run across Mr. Denny, one of Lydia and Kitty’s officer friends. He has with him a Mr. Wickham, a recently commissioned corps member of Mr. Denny, whom Elizabeth finds rather appealing. As the group meets and discusses matters, Bingley and Darcy arrive, to which Elizabeth takes note of both Darcy and Wickham’s change in color at meeting each other, with Darcy appearing angry at the officer.
The sisters quickly move on with Mr. Collins to visit Mrs. Phillips, who invites them to dinner the next day. At the dinner there will bee numerous other guests including some of the officers and Mr. Wickham.
The Bennet sisters and Mr. Collins arrive at Mrs. Phillips’ for dinner the next day where Mr. Wickham is as well. Wickham and Elizabeth engage in a long evening of conversation in which the topic of Mr. Darcy is brought up and her disgust with his pride. Wickham speaks highly of Darcy’s father as “one of the best men that ever breathed”, who bestowed upon his son a decent sum that would have kept him well off for as long as he lived. He also reveals that he grew up with Darcy as his father was steward for Darcy’s father and that in the will Wickham was to receive a post as a Clergy of one the Rectory that Darcy’s family oversees. However, Darcy did not honor the will, which angers Elizabeth to no end. Wickham expands by adding that Darcy’s sister is equally full of pride and that he is Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s nephew and is intended to marry Miss de Bourgh. Elizabeth is left for the evening to dwell on Wickham’s words.
Elizabeth and Jane discuss Wickham’s revelations from the night before. Jane, as one who always looks for the good, entreats Elizabeth to consider that there might be a misunderstanding somehow as no man would disrespect his father’s wishes in such a manner. Elizabeth believes Wickham however. The Bingley sisters arrive in the meantime to invite everyone to the Netherfield ball, though they leave quickly to avoid speaking with the younger Bennet sisters or their mother. The Bennets are duly excited and all of them agree to attend, even Mary, who never participates in these events. Mr. Collins asks Elizabeth for the first two dances, which she is disappointed by as she had hoped to save those for Mr. Wickham.
Upon arriving at the ball, Elizabeth realizes that Wickham would likely not attend because of Darcy. Mr. Denny relays that he had to go to town on business instead. Elizabeth is mortified in the first two dances by Mr. Collins being “awkward and solemn, apologizing instead of attending, and often moving wrong without being aware of it.” Darcy once again asks for her hand to dance and she relents this time, offering him the next two dances.
To throw him off, she breaches conversation during the dance and quickly turns to the topic of Wickham, hoping to disrupt him. He only states that Wickham is very good at socializing and making friends, but has problems with keeping those friends. Sir William drops nearby and hints at future congratulations for Bingley and Jane.
The night continues and Elizabeth is duly embarrassed by her family as her mother uncouthly reminds everyone of Jane and Bingley’s budding relationship and her sister Mary does a poor job of singing. The last to leave, the Bennets are not missed by Bingley’s sisters.
Mr. Collins arrives to the drawing room and asks Mrs. Bennet and Kitty for some alone time with Elizabeth. She tries to keep her family with her but realizes that she might as well deal with the inevitable. Collins lays out why he is proposing, including Lady de Bourgh’s advice to do so and proposes to her. Elizabeth however, rejects him as she says they would not make each other happy. Collins finds her rejection to be an attempt at modesty and decides to wait and ask again. Despite her avid declaration that she will continue rejecting him, Collins believes that eventually he can woo her by asking again.
Mrs. Bennet however is upset by Elizabeth’s refusal, regardless of how Collins feels. She decides she must convince her daughter to marry him and calls on her husband to help. She states that if Elizabeth refuses she will never talk to her again. For his part, Mr. Bennet says the opposite, not wanting Collins to marry into his family. Elizabeth continues to refuse and Charlotte soon arrives and learns of what has happened, taking the opportunity to get to know Collins.
After he withdraws his suit to, Collins quickly begins to ignore Elizabeth in favor of Charlotte. The girls visit Meryton again where they run across Wickham. He relays that his absence at the ball was due to his desire to avoid Darcy. He walks her back home where she introduces him to her parents. Jane receives a letter shortly from Miss Bingley stating that the Bingleys have returned to London indefinitely and that Bingley will hopefully be marrying Georgiana, Darcy’s sister. Elizabeth does her part by relaying that it is likely the doing of Miss Bingley and not Bingley himself and that he will return shortly. However, Jane is incapable of believing that Bingley’s sisters could be so deceiving and so thinks that they must be looking out for what is best for him.
The Bennets visit the Lucas’s the next day for dinner and Elizabeth relays her gratitude to Charlotte for spending time with Collins. However, it is revealed that much of that attention is in hopes of garnering his desire to her. They are soon engaged to be married and Elizabeth is shocked that her friend would agree to marry someone when there is no love and almost certain unhappiness. Collins leaves soon thereafter to his parish.
When Sir William arrives to announce to the Bennets that Charlotte and Collins are engaged, Mrs. Bennet is angry all on her own. Charlotte and Elizabeth quickly change in each other’s company and Elizabeth believes they can no longer be truly close in light of what has happened. Mrs. Bennet, along with her anger over Collins, wonders if the Bingleys will return, upsetting Jane further. Elizabeth begins to fear herself that the Bingley sisters might be successful in their attempt to keep Bingley away from Jane.
Miss Bingley sends yet another letter to Jane, informing her that they will be staying in London for the duration of the winter. Elizabeth finally tells Mrs. Bennet that her constantly talking of Bingley is bringing Jane pain. Caught up on her own problems, Elizabeth continues to talk against the marriage of Charlotte and Collins with Jane. She also tries to comfort her though, stating that Bingley’s sisters and Darcy are keeping him away from her. Wickham spends more time with the Bennets and soon the stories of Darcy’s ill treatment of him become public knowledge.
Mr. Collins leaves again for his parish and Mrs. Bennet’s brother Mr. Gardiner and his wife arrive for Christmas. Mrs. Gardiner is very close to both Jane and Elizabeth and when she learns what has happened with Jane and Bingley and invites Jane to stay with her in London for a while.
For Elizabeth, Mrs. Gardiner offers advice as to Wickham, stating that she should not become to infatuated as Wickham does not have any money and she will only disappoint her father. Later, Collins returns and Charlotte and he are married. They return to Kent, and Charlotte appeals to Elizabeth to visit her.
It has been four weeks since Jane left for London and she relays in her letters to Elizabeth that she has yet to see Bingley or hear from his sister. She eventually decides that he would have come by then if he really cared and that his sister is not a true friend as she continues making excuses not to visit her. Elizabeth responds to Mrs. Gardiner’s letters about Wickham by stating that he has found another woman with money of her own to lavish his attentions on. She is not nearly upset as she thinks she should be if she was in love with him.
As March arrives, the winter having been largely uneventful, Elizabeth prepares to visit Charlotte with Sir William and Maria, one of Charlotte’s sisters. On the way to Kent, they stop in London and visit Jane and Mrs. Gardiner. Jane is evidently quite healthy, but Mrs. Gardiner relays that she is often quite upset by the Bingleys and no longer speaks to Miss Bingley at all. Elizabeth also accepts an invitation to spend the summer with the Gardiners on a vacation tour.
Elizabeth and the Lucases arrive in Kent to visit Collins and Charlotte and Collins makes a point of showing off his Parsonage as if Elizabeth is personally missing out. Lady de Bourgh invites them all to join her for dinner the next day.
Collins comments the next day on their luck for so quickly being invited to dine with Lady de Bourgh. On the walk, the Lucases are duly nervous and after arriving Collins makes a show of complimenting everything in Lady de Bourgh’s home, to which she is grateful. She later gives Charlotte her share of advice on running a household and various other domestic concerns. She turns her attentions then to Elizabeth, surprised to learn that she grew up with no governess in a house with five daughters and is shocked by Elizabeth’s response to her questions, not as nervous and awestruck as the rest of her guests. She considers the Bennet girls to have been poorly raised, with no proper guidance, training, and poor manners in conversation.
After seeing that his daughter is well off with her new husband, Sir William returns home. Every so often, Lady de Bourgh arrives to offer advice to Charlotte and invites them to her home for dinner twice a week or so. A few weeks into her stay, Darcy arrives with his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. After a bit, he visits the Collins’ at their household and talks with Elizabeth about how Jane was ignored. She grills him on why he did not visit her in three months, to which he looks confused and states that he did not have the fortune to do so.
After Darcy and Fitzwilliam arrived, Elizabeth and the others at the Collins household hardly received any invitations to dinner. Lady de Bourgh finally invites them but makes a point of stating that their company was only enjoyable because of the lack of anyone else. Darcy makes a point of seeing how Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam get along during this visit. Settling closer to her while she plays the piano, Darcy shows no interest for Miss De Bourgh, his intended future wife.
While sitting alone the next day, Elizabeth receives a visit from Darcy, who states that he was unaware that she was alone. Elizabeth and him are both embarrassed, so she takes the opportunity to inquire as to whether Mr. Bingley will ever return to Netherfield. Darcy replies that thinks it is unlikely. As soon as Charlotte and Maria return, Darcy leaves. In the future he visits often with Fitzwilliam in tow. She is completely unsure as to why Darcy keeps coming.
Having told Darcy that she often walks in the park, Elizabeth cannot understand why he keeps going there and they keep crossing paths. One day in particular she comes across Fitzwilliam while walking and they walk for a while, eventually talking about Miss Darcy. He announces that he has joined Darcy in caring for her and she guesses correctly that Miss Darcy is a difficult lady to handle. She asks about Bingley and Darcy and learns that Bingley is in Darcy’s debt for his helping to get him out of an unwanted marriage to an undesirable suitor. Elizabeth assumes this to mean the marriage to Jane and is upset as to how Darcy has so much control over other men. The “very strong objections against the lady” assumes that Bingley was talked out of the suit. She later refrains from joining the others for a visit to Lady de Bourgh’s that evening.
While alone with the others at dinner, Darcy visits Elizabeth alone. During this visit, Darcy shocks her by declaring that he not only admires and loves her, but wishes to marry her. He has fought against his feelings because of her family’s position and lesser status, but cannot any longer and in his pride assumes she will accept. She, however does not accept, stating that he should be ashamed of that speech as well as his treatment of Jane and Wickham.
Darcy freely admits to his separation of Jane and Bingley and his contempt for Wickham but cannot understand why Elizabeth would hold to these accusations instead of forgiving him and that she is being prideful about his speech against the inferiority of her family. She not only refuses but assures him that he could not have said anything to make her say yes to his proposal.
Dwelling on Darcy’s visit the next day, Elizabeth decides to go for a walk. He calls for her as she walks though and she tries to avoid him. He catches her though and gives her a letter to read that states he will not renew his offer, but that he wants to explain the situations she has accused him of ill deeds.
The first accusation about Bingley, Darcy claims that he has seen Bingley fall in love repeatedly in the past. He did not realize that things had progressed so far with Jane until the ball at Netherfield in which every talked about an upcoming marriage. He observed the two and saw that Bingley was infatuated but also saw that Jane was seemingly disinterested. His explanations of Jane’s family status did not affect Bingley, but telling him that she seemed indifferent did finally convince him to leave for London.
In regards to the other charge regarding Wickham, Darcy explains that Wickham received a sum from the will after Darcy’s father’s death. He returned shortly afterward having spent that sum and asked for more. Darcy refused to give him any more and Wickham soon disappeared. Soon enough, there is evidence that the Wickham and Darcy’s sister are close to eloping, which he stops with barely enough time to spare. He asks for her removal of suspicion over Wickham, and that she can converse with Fitzwilliam for corroboration.
Elizabeth does not believe Darcy immediately in regard to the situation with Bingley and Jane, assuming that he only used the argument against their family status. However, when she considers the situation with Wickham, she realizes that she took his word at face value the moment they met and never heard Darcy’s side of the story. She thinks on how improper it was for Wickham to speak on such matters to a stranger and decides that Darcy is likely telling the truth of it. After coming to terms with his description of Wickham, she comes to believe his statements about Jane as she recalls Jane’s seeming indifference. When she finally returns home, she learns that Fitzwilliam and Darcy had stopped by to say goodbye.
The next morning, Darcy and Fitzwilliam leave Rosings and Lady de Bourgh invite them to dinner. She attempts to keep Elizabeth around for one more month, but Elizabeth is intent on leaving as she had planned. During that last week of their stay, Elizabeth and Maria are invited to the estate often for dinner for advice on traveling and packing for their return trip.
Collins and Elizabeth are alone on a day shortly before she leaves. He takes the chance to thank her, comment on her luck with Lady de Bourgh’s favor and inform her of his and Charlotte’s happiness. Maria and Elizabeth leave in short order and are soon at Mr. Gardiner’s home where they plant to stay for a few days before returning home with Jane. Elizabeth is excited to see Jane and cannot wait to tell her about Darcy and his proposal.
In May, Elizabeth and Jane are returning home when they run across Lydia and Kitty, who inform them that the officers in Meryton are soon leaving. Lydia hopes to convince their father to take them to Brighton where they are set to be stationed during the summer months. She also informs Elizabeth that the woman Wickham was looking to marry had left for Liverpool and that they are no longer getting married.
Elizabeth finally tells Jane what happened with Darcy, deciding to leave out any part of the story that might upset Jane. Jane is appropriately shocked, and feels bad for Darcy and the pain of such a rejection. Elizabeth relates the story of Wickham and the lies he told and Jane is once again shocked. They decide however that they will not share his wickedness as his regiment is leaving for Brighton very soon. Elizabeth keeps with her decision not to mention Bingley as she notes Jane’s sadness.
After the officers leave Meryton, Kitty and Lydia are quite upset and set Jane and Elizabeth to task for not caring as much themselves. They push for Mr. Bennet to take them to Brighton, but as soon as Mrs. Forster invites Lydia to stay with her family in Brighton, the entire matter is forgotten as she was pushing the hardest. Elizabeth attempts to tell her father how Lydia is not mature enough to go alone, but he thinks it will be good for her to see how she fits in with the women in Brighton. When Wickham visits on the final day of their time in Meryton, Elizabeth makes a point of pointing out her improved feelings toward Darcy so as not to let him believe they are leaving on good terms. Lydia leaves with the officers back to Meryton to travel with Mrs. Forster.
After the regiment and Lydia leave, Mrs. Bennet and Kitty are largely bored and complain often, making Elizabeth wish that her trip with the Gardiners could arrive sooner. The trip is postponed though and will be shortened to a trip to Derbyshire instead, where Darcy lives with his estate, Pemberley. The Gardiners do finally arrive a few days later and leave their children in the care of Jane as they leave with Elizabeth. When Mrs. Gardiner mentions that she would like to see Pemberley, Elizabeth worries that she will see Darcy when they visit, until she learns that he and his family are also on vacation for the summer.
Elizabeth is excited when she first sees the Pemberley Woods and notes how nice it might be to be the Mistress of Pemberley. The housekeeper greets them and speaks very highly of Darcy, surprising Elizabeth. While walking the grounds, the party does in fact run across Darcy who immediately blushes at her presence. He talks to her though as a gentleman and soon leaves her with the Gardiners to walk the grounds. When he approaches them again he surprises her once again with his manners and asks to be introduced to her friends, a part of her family of which she is not embarrassed. Darcy for his part mentions that he would like to introduce Elizabeth to his sister who will arrive the next day. That night, Elizabeth can think of nothing but Darcy and his manners.
Instead of waiting a day to introduce her, Darcy arrives the day his sister returns home to introduce her to Elizabeth. She is surprised that Miss Darcy is shy and not excessively proud as Wickham had claimed. Bingley arrives as well, joining the party with his sisters. Elizabeth hopes that the situation will lead to the chance to ask Bingley about Jane as he doesn’t seem to show any interest in Miss Darcy. The Gardiners are surprised by Darcy’s actions and decide that he is interested in Elizabeth. As he continues trying to please her family, Elizabeth is duly surprised and when he leaves, he invites them to dinner at Pemberley. The next day, Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth will pay a visit to Miss Darcy while Mr. Gardiner goes fishing with Darcy and some other gentlemen on the grounds.
Elizabeth decides that Miss Bingley is jealous of her, that being the source of her dislike. During the visit, Miss Bingley merely watches and stays quiet along with Miss Darcy, everyone observing how Darcy himself acts around Elizabeth. When she leaves, Miss Bingley takes the chance to assault almost every aspect of her. Darcy and his sister though do not deign to join in with her.
Elizabeth returns to the hotel to find two letters from Jane, prompting the Gardiners to go for a walk and leave her to the letters. The first letter is in regards to Lydia, stating that she had run off to Scotland to marry Wickham. However, the second letter states that she may not have done so and that Wickham does not plan to marry Lydia at all. The family is thoroughly disrupted of course and Colonel Forster, with whom Lydia was staying, continues searching for her as Jane requests Elizabeth to return home.
As she prepares to retrieve the Gardiners, she meets Darcy at the door, sending a servant to get them and then relays the news of the letters to Darcy. Darcy becomes quiet in his grievement for her family and she worries that their embarrassing behavior is too much for him to want her any further. He decides he cannot help and will be in the way so he leaves, where after she decides that she does indeed love him.
The trip home is spent pondering what will happen, with both Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth wondering if the two will marry. When they return, they learn that no news has come from Mr. Bennet in London and that Mrs. Bennet is ill. Elizabeth continues discussing whether Lydia would marry Wickham with Jane. Elizabeth now feels bad for not sharing Wickham’s bad deeds with everyone to prevent such a thing from happening.
Mr. Gardiner leaves for London the next day to see what has kept Mr. Bennet from sending word. Mrs. Gardiner stays with the Bennets to help and in a few days receives a letter from Mr. Gardiner that he and Mr. Bennet are looking for Lydia in the city’s hotels. Mr. Collins sends his own letter that tells Mr. Bennet he has heard of what’s happening and that they should throw away Lydia as an unworthy child. Mr. Gardiner’s next letter informs them of his lack of progress and that Wickham has no family and a handful of gambling debts in Brighton. Mr. Bennet finally returns and tells Elizabeth that she was right about Lydia and should be more cautious of his daughters in the future.
Two days later, Mr. Gardiner writes that he has found Lydia and Wickham and that they are not married and have no intentions to do so. Wickham will however marry Lydia for a share of the 5,000 pounds due to the five daughters when their parents pass on and an extra 100 pounds a year thereafter. Elizabeth is shocked that Wickham will marry her, and Mr. Bennet is appalled that Wickham would ask for so little. He wonders how much Mr. Gardiner might have added to cover it and if he owes him for it. When Elizabeth shares the news with her mother, Mrs. Bennet immediately becomes happy and begins planning the wedding.
Mr. Bennet is upset by the lack of money he has saved for his daughters, having assumed always that he would have a son someday. He decides he must repay Mr. Gardiner though and writes him accepting the offer of marriage and asking what he owes his brother-in-law. When Mrs. Bennet reappears to start planning the wedding, Mr. Bennet announces that Lydia and Wickham will not be welcome in his home.
Elizabeth for her part is upset that she told Darcy what had happened with Lydia as she worries he will be less likely to admire her in light her family’s actions. She decides she could be happy with him and figures she will never see him again. Mr. Gardiner replies to Mr. Bennet stating that he was happy to help his Niece and will not discuss the matter again. Wickham has decided to move to the North and so Jane and Elizabeth must convince their father to accept Wickham into the home so they can see their sister once more before they head north.
When they have been married, Lydia and Wickham arrive to the Bennet household where Mrs. Bennet is excited and Mr. Bennet is quiet and unhappy. Lydia is anything but embarrassed of her actions and actually brags repeatedly of her match, stating “I am sure my sisters must all envy me.” She states she will invite them North, but Elizabeth actually reproaches her sister and tells her she doesn’t approve of her courting methods. Lydia talks on about the wedding despite Elizabeth’s disinterest, but when she mentions Darcy having been at the wedding, she becomes very interested. Having not supposed to have said anything, Lydia will not elaborate, so Elizabeth writes a letter to Mrs. Gardiner to ask her about Mr. Darcy’s presence there.
Mrs. Gardiner replies quickly, stating that Darcy had actually gone to London and found Lydia and Wickham himself, leading Mr. Gardiner to them. He also paid the dowry for her sister to Wickham and gave Mr. Gardiner the credit for doing so and asked to be kept secret. Darcy claims that he helped because he feels guilty for not divulging what he knew of Wickham earlier, but Elizabeth thinks it might also be because of her.
After Lydia and Wickham leave, Mrs. Bennet learns that Bingley is returning to Netherfield for a couple weeks. Jane decides she will be friendly with Bingley and ignore everyone’s talk of them. Similar to the first chapter, Mrs. Bennet tells Mr. Bennet to visit Bingley when he arrives and after his refusal decides to invite him to dinner instead. Mrs. Bennet is upset when Darcy arrives with Bingley and everyone is more or less equally upset. Bingley speaks to Jane at length in the visit, but Darcy says very little to Elizabeth.
The two arrive for dinner again on Tuesday and Jane once again plays down Bingley’s arrival to keep form being disappointed. Mrs. Bennet is excited again though as Bingley sits beside Jane and talks to her at length as he did before. Once again, Elizabeth hopes to talk with Darcy but cannot because he shows little interest once more. Jane claims that she once again will not be successful with Bingley and Elizabeth tells her to quit acting indifferent or stop confiding in Elizabeth at all.
Darcy returns to London for a few days and Bingley comes again on his own. Mrs. Bennet does what she can to get Jane and Bingley alone together and embarrasses her daughters by doing so. When he comes again, she succeeds though and when Elizabeth returns to socialize with them, she finds that he has proposed to her and she has accepted. Jane goes to Mrs. Bennet and Bingley to Mr. Bennet to announce the new engagement, all of them equally happy with the engagement. Neighbors immediately change their opinion of the family, jealous of the match.
A week later, Lady de Bourgh arrives to question Elizabeth about the rumors that she is engaged to Darcy. She does not think it a good match because of the inferiority of Elizabeth’s family and shows her anger in doing so. Elizabeth tries to deflect the questions though, angering the Lady who insists that Elizabeth just tell her what has happened in sincerity. She states that Darcy is destined to be with her daughter and must know Elizabeth’s intentions. She finally answers the question after irritating Lady de Bourgh, telling her no, but refuses to promise never to become engaged to Darcy, enraging Lady de Bourgh yet again.
Elizabeth wonders where the rumor must have come from, and worries that Lady de Bourgh will do what she said and keep the match from occurring, talking negatively of her family to turn him against her. Mr. Bennet confronts her the next day with a letter from Mr. Collins congratulating the family on Jane’s engagement and Elizabeth’s future engagement, having originally believed Elizabeth to despise Darcy. He is amused by the confusion, which upsets Elizabeth.
When Darcy returns, he and Bingley visit the estate and head out on a walk with Jane, Elizabeth, and Kitty. Quickly enough though, Darcy and Elizabeth are left alone when the rest go off on their own. She tells him that she knows of his help with Lydia to which he insists that her family owes him nothing. He reiterates his feelings for her but that he will not mention them again if her feelings have not changed at all. She makes sure he knows that her feelings have changed and that she is happy his are the same as before. She apologizes for how she treated him before and he reiterates that her reproaches were helpful in his changing. He also goes onto admit that he told Bingley of his mistake over Jane and convinced him to propose to Jane.
The families do not worry about Elizabeth and Darcy being absent, sure nothing could happen despite how long they talk with each other. That night, Elizabeth tells Jane what happened and it takes a while to convince her that Elizabeth has changed her mind and is actually happy with Darcy. Mrs. Bennet continues railing against Darcy though and when he arrives the next day to walk with Elizabeth she keeps the rest of her family away from him. That day they decide that Darcy will request her hand from Mr. Bennet that evening.
Darcy talks with her father that evening and receives his consent, after which Mr. Bennet questions her about her change in feelings. She must again convince someone that she has changed and her feelings for Darcy are positive now. She also tells him of what Darcy did for Lydia and he is relieved and appreciative. She then tells her mother that she will be married, to which Mrs. Bennet is shocked at first, but then excited as she realizes that three of her daughters will soon be married.
Elizabeth questions Darcy about his attitudes and reasons for loving her, including why he was so silent when he first returned to visit with her. He states that he was embarrassed and it was the liveliness of her mind that attracted him. The two soon write letters to those far away to announce their engagement, and their various family members arrive to offer congratulations. Collins arrives as well with Charlotte who only wants to escape Lady de Bourgh’s anger over the match.
Mrs. Bennet is ecstatic on the marriage day of her two oldest daughters, referring to them as Mrs. Bingley and Mrs. Darcy. Mr. Bennet is often in Pemberley to visit his daughter and Jane and Bingley soon buy an estate much nearer to Pemberley. Kitty spends a lot of time with Jane and Elizabeth as well and is disallowed from visiting Lydia in The North. Wickham and Lydia for their part are often in need of money and constantly ask Elizabeth and Darcy for some, which they will often provide. Mary is left alone at home with her mother where she is forced to stop reading and spend time with Mrs. Bennet.
Miss Bingley attempts to be nice to Elizabeth, despite her anger over the match so she can still visit Pemberley, while Miss Darcy lives at Pemberley and becomes close to Elizabeth immediately. Lady de Bourgh’s anger is immense, but after a while she decides she cannot bear the curiosity and visits Pemberley to see how Elizabeth handles herself. The Gardiners visit often and are favorites of the Darcy’s for bringing the two together.
video: CC Prose Audiobooks
transcript: Projekt Gutenberg
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