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\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Pride and Prejudice:
Chapters 49 and 50

Chapter 49

Two days later, an express letter arrives from Mr. Gardiner. He says that he cannot yet give them the details of how he located the couple, but that he has found them, and they are not married. Though it seems evident that Wickham had never had any intentions of marriage, Gardiner has forced the idea on him, and set up the transaction. He says that Mr. Wickham's financial situation is not as bad as everyone had thought it to be, that his debts are set to be paid off, and that he will be able to provide a decent life for their daughter. He finishes by saying that, with Mr. Bennet's approval, the pair will be married at the Gardiner house. Lizzy and Jane are excited, anxious to get the marriage completed. Mr. Bennet, however, is melancholy, convinced that the girls' uncle has given Wickham a large sum of money to follow through with the marriage, and worried that he will never be able to repay the man. Elizabeth and Jane marvel at the their uncle's kindness, and are dumbfounded as to how Mr. Gardiner came up with enough money to pay off Wickham's debt. The girls read the letter to their mother, who rejoices. Instantly, her thoughts turn to wedding clothes and praises for the match. When Jane gently reminds her that Mr. Gardiner is almost entirely to thank for arranging the unlikely marriage, Mrs. Bennet retorts that they deserve his money anyway, as it would all be theirs if he had not married and had children of his own. She then busies herself with orders for expensive fabrics for Lydia and sharing the news with all the local women.

Chapter 50

The chapter begins by explaining that, thinking he would have a son, Mr. Bennet had never saved money to use as his daughters' dowries. It is because of this lack of planning that Lydia is thus indebted to her uncle for saving her reputation; the amount Wickham would be receiving from Mr. Bennet would not even cover Lydia's dresses and pocket money. Gossip again sweeps through Meryton, only this time painting the match in a much better light. Buoyed by such a change in reputation, Mrs. Bennet ventures downstairs for the first time in two weeks. She can talk of nothing but the marriage, and Lydia's new clothes, and the search for a suitable home. Mr. Bennet makes it known that, though they may be welcome in town, they are not welcome in his house. Furthermore, he refuses to give Lydia a single cent for wedding clothes. Mrs. Bennet is up in arms, and protests profusely, but Mr. Bennet is angry and resolute. Lydia has shamed the entire family, something he cannot excuse. Elizabeth regrets telling Darcy of the affair, for with the wedding now certain, the family's shame will not become what it once was thought to be. Even worse, the addition of Wickham to the family assures her that Darcy would never want to also join the family. Lizzy almost has to laugh as she thinks that Darcy's proposal, rejected so cruelly only four months earlier, would now be welcomed with open arms. She believes him to be the man best suited for her, whose personality and interests would be the best match for her own. The happy marriage she envisions, however, simply cannot be, now that Lydia and Wickham are entering into their own union.
Another letter arrives from Mr. Gardiner, informing the family that Wickham is quitting the militia. He intends to enter the regular army, and has a few friends who got him a station in the north. He finishes by suggesting that the Bennets invite the newlyweds to Longbourn, as Lydia wants to see her family before they move. Mr. Bennet is dead set against welcoming the Wickhams into his home. Jane and Lizzy convince him that he should acquiesce to her wishes, however, and he consents to a visit from his daughter as soon as she is married. Mrs. Bennet is pleased to have the opportunity to show off her married daughter to all the other women in the area. The pair are set to arrive in Longbourn immediately after the wedding.

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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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