What does Wickham's comment to Elizabeth in chapter 16 ("I wonder... driven away by Mr. Darcy.") suggest about Wickham's true feelings about Darcy?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conversation in question, from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, illuminates Wickham's true feelings about Darcy. Here is the full excerpt:

"I wonder," said he, at the next opportunity of speaking, "whether he is likely to be in this country much longer."

"I do not at all know; but I heard nothing of his going away when I was at Netherfield. I hope your plans in favour of the ——shire will not be affected by his being in the neighbourhood."

"Oh! no—it is not for me to be driven away by Mr. Darcy.

Examining Wickham's words support the fact that he is not looking forward to meeting Darcy again. 

Many of Wickham's words are negative: not (used twice) and nothing. Through this interpretation, it does not sound like Wickham is happy about Darcy staying in the country. In fact, one can almost hear Wickham's desire for Darcy to move on. 

His concern regarding Elizabeth's plans illustrate his negative feelings towards Darcy as well. If he was fine with Darcy's presence, he would not be concerned with Elizabeth's plans being affected. This, too, illustrates that Wickham is not happy with Darcy's plans to stay. 

Read the study guide:
Pride and Prejudice

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