Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Volume Three, Chapters 6−10 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Mrs. Hill: the Bennets’ housekeeper

Summary
Mr. Bennet and Mr. Gardiner have little luck in London. They can’t find the pair, but almost everywhere they go they find more evidence of Wickham’s low character. He is a gambler and has left a trail of debts behind him. Mr. Bennet returns home and leaves the search to Mr. Gardiner. He confesses that Elizabeth was correct when she warned him about allowing Lydia to go to Brighton. He promises to be more strict with Kitty.

Wickham and Lydia are found. They did not get married, but Mr. Gardiner bribes Wickham to do the right thing by offering to pay his debts and provide them with a yearly stipend. Mr. Bennet agrees, and assumes that Mr. Gardiner must have settled a large amount of his own money on Wickham. Mrs. Hill shows that she is inquisitive and offers help.

Mrs. Bennet recovers quickly from her bed, and starts planning the wedding details, from clothes to what estate nearby will be proper for the newlyweds. She then runs off to spread the news to the Lucas family and other neighbors.

Elizabeth contemplates her own chances of ever being with Darcy again. Even if he would marry into such a disgraced family, would he ever accept Wickham as a brother−in−law? When Gardiner writes again and informs them that Wickham has been assigned a new commission in the north of England, Mrs. Bennet is again distraught. Mr. Bennet says they will never be allowed in his home, but Jane and Elizabeth soon persuade him that this would be a further disgrace to Lydia.

Lydia and her new husband arrive at Longbourn soon after. They are both unashamed and very self−assured. Mrs. Bennet is happy for Lydia, and seems proud of the match. It is obvious to everyone that Lydia is in love, but Wickham displays almost no affection for her. Wickham is as charming as ever, and he tries to win back the good graces of Elizabeth. She meets this with cool reserve. Lydia is as flighty as ever, and she informs them that Mr. Darcy was involved with the wedding arrangements. Darcy paid off all of Wickham’s debts, set up his new commission, and arranged for the yearly stipend. It was Darcy who found the errant pair, not Mr. Gardiner, as everyone thought. Elizabeth ponders whether this was done because of his love for her or because he felt responsible for Wickham’s actions.

Discussion and Analysis
The settlement after the elopement is carried out by Darcy without anyone except Lydia and Wickham knowing. Many conflicting factors drove Darcy to straighten out the situation.

Mr. Collins is again shown to be a pompous fool. His letter to the Bennets about the elopement is full of criticism. He gloats about not getting involved with such a family. He advises Mr. Bennet to “throw off” Lydia. He also informed Lady de Bourgh of the incident, with the...

(The entire section is 745 words.)