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This chapter is of the "time passing, not much happens" variety, but it serves a few purposes beyond that. I feel a list coming on:

1. We find out that Wickham left beaucoup de debts behind in Meryton, and may have been involved in some seductions as well (whether they amounted to anything past flirtation is unclear).

2. We learn by further factual proof that Mr and Mrs Gardiner are good-hearted, useful people and that Mrs Philips is . . . not. She claims to come to cheer the family up, but really she's just running in daily with additional tales about how awful Wickham really is.

3. We are reminded of the Kent contingency – Mr Collins is practically chortling with glee over his ability to pontificate, gossip, and triumph over the Bennets all at the same time, while explicitly indicating how glad he is NOT to have married Lizzy, since the scandal would have caught him up as well. He is full of useful "condolements" like

The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this. And it is the more to be lamented, because there is reason to suppose, as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this licentiousness of behaviour in your daughter has proceeded from a faulty degree of indulgence, though at the same time, for the consolation of yourself and Mrs Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an enormity at so early an age.

Hateful man.

4. We learn that in addition to living large, Wickham is a gambling man – and owes at least £1000 in gaming debts in Brighton. (No wonder he fled town.)

5. Mrs Bennet is still more ridiculous than we'd believed. She insisted Mr Bennet come home so as to keep him from fighting a duel with Wickham (as if!), then got upset over the news that he was, in fact, coming home without Lydia – because she quite wanted him to fight a duel. *headdesk*

6. Elizabeth realizes that she'd be only half as upset over Lydia's elopement (the term was still used, even though marriage wasn't part of the scheme) if it weren't for the situation with Darcy. Had she never met him, and had he never proposed in the first instance, she never would have thought about his good opinion – and now she's worried that his good opinion has, in fact, been lost – and lost forever. Woe.

7. Mrs Gardiner expected Elizabeth to get a letter from Darcy – and, as we know from discussions about correspondence in prior novels, correspondence between members of the opposite sex were generally limited to those who were related, married or betrothed – so this is an indication that Mrs Gardiner believes that Elizabeth may be secretly betrothed to Darcy.

8. Mr Bennet indicates his awareness that he has been a failure as a father, and acknowledges that Lizzy was right in warning against Lydia's going to Brighton. He also shows a level of self-awareness in indicating that he's not likely to beat himself up overly long.

Kiva - loans that change lives

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2011 11:44 am (UTC)
Mr. Collins is the LIVING END. Imagine what he's saying around the house... and at Rosings. Picture Charlotte's face. Imagine the iron discipline that is now keeping her from smothering him in his sleep.
Feb. 17th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
This made me laugh exceedingly hard. And then I read your comment to my friend Angela and we BOTH laughed.
Feb. 17th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
Always glad to provide a chuckle.
Feb. 17th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
One of my favorite Mr. Bennet lines (from memory) "No Lizzy for once let me feel how much I am to blame, I have no fear of it overpowering me, it will pass away soon enough"

Awesome. :D
Feb. 17th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
"It will pass away soon enough" pretty much sums up his character, doesn't it?
Feb. 17th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Oh Mr. Collins, wretched man. Makes me feel very bad for poor Charlotte. And the Bennet parents are something else. Makes you wonder how Lizzie and Jane turned out so well.
Feb. 17th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
I credit the Gardiners for assisting with the elder Bennet girls' success.
Feb. 17th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
'If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take you to a review at the end of them' Lol!
At least he's thinking about what he ought to have been doing with his daughters... but yep, the feelig of remorse probably won't last that long, as his own self awareness tells us.

Oh Mr Collins! I assume the letter that informed him of the lydia incident came from Charlotte's mother... shame she felt the need to spread gossip. I can hardly imagine Mr Collins being able to tell Lady Catherine the news without being interrupted many many times - I'm suprised he was allowed to talk long enough to spill - I'm sure after he had she had MUCH to say on the matter. I aways think in the '95 screen version its a little unbelievable that he arrives to say all this in person and then leaves again, since it takes some time to get there - but hey what is 50 miles of good road eh?
Feb. 18th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
We're also told that Mr Bennet is kidding, but that Kitty takes him seriously and starts to cry about it.

I'm sure they were trying to avoid another "reading a letter" scene, especially since it follows right after Lydia's letter, which they opted to keep in (and, of course, Lizzy's letter-reading scenes as well).
Feb. 18th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
Oh, here's another opportunity to display my ignorance! What, precisely, is a "review"? Does he mean, a parade of young officers being reviewed by their superiors, or something else entirely?
Feb. 18th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
I think he means in the same way as a book or film is reviewed... a summary of the highlights etc... this is what happened in your last ten years, in a nutshell - lol
Feb. 18th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Austen is referring to a review of the troops, which is something I believe still occurs on military bases, etc., but back then they often did them in the public. For instance, they might stage a large review in a park in London, and the Prince Regent might come along to "review the troops". The troops would all get decked out in their uniforms and march in formation and stand in formation (at attention) while the reviewing officer(s) (and the public crowd) watched. There would've been honor guards and possibly orders to present arms, etc., and there may have been demonstrations of shooting or firing of cannons in some cases, although it was never a widespread thing, but more of a "look at our troops - aren't they pulled together and prepared to fight Napoleon?" sort of thing that was intended to reassure the civilians and/or help keep the peace.
Feb. 18th, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC)
Ah ha, that makes more sense, although I've always chuckled at Mr Bennet taking Kitty to something where someone gives a synopsis of her last ten years as a good girl - lol!
Feb. 18th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
It does seem the sort of thing he might say!
Feb. 20th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
Contextually, that's about what I thought it must be, but I wasn't sure - so thank you for the clarification!
Feb. 18th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
Yup, I got that he was kidding, but I think on the - 'I have at last learnt to be cautious' he probably is somewhat more serious, although not to the extent he goes on... but poor Kitty, she tends to take things to heart!

Good point on the letter reading!
Feb. 18th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
He's kidding about the "no balls" and "officers may not enter the town" part, but he's probably NOT kidding about being far less lax from here on out. At least, one must home he'll pay more attention!
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Feb. 18th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
Feb. 18th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
Talk about your Job's comforters...

I enjoyed your paraphrase very much!
Feb. 18th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
He really is a horrid man, isn't he?
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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