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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 26

Summary

Mrs. Gardiner cautions Elizabeth against falling in love with Wickham, who lacks wealth. Elizabeth denies that she is in love with him, but admits he is the most agreeable man she has ever come across. She promises her aunt that even if she is tempted at a later stage, she will not do anything in a hurry. Soon after the departure of the Gardiners and Jane, Mr. Collins returns to Hertfordshire. The wedding takes place on a Thursday and Mr. Collins and his bride leave for Kent immediately after the ceremony. Charlotte has extracted a promise from Elizabeth that she will visit them in March.

Jane’s letter arrives stating that she has arrived safely in London. Jane has written to Caroline Bingley, but has received no reply from her. Jane naively rationalizes that her letter must not have reached Caroline. When Jane visits Miss Bingley, her welcome is lukewarm; she says that she did not receive Jane’s letter. Caroline Bingley does not return Jane’s visit for four weeks; when she calls, her stay is short and brusque. Jane begins to understand that Caroline does not really care for her and writes to Elizabeth about it.


Wickham relocates his affections from Elizabeth to a Miss King, who has just inherited ten thousand pounds. Elizabeth writes to her aunt that she is not in love with Wickham and feels only cordiality towards him.

Notes

Mrs. Gardiner’s advice to Elizabeth against falling in love with Wickham underlines her sagacity and accentuates the fact that in marriage, money is almost as important as love. Mrs. Gardiner is not aware of Wickham’s shady past, but she has a problem with his lack of wealth and wisely gives her niece advice not to marry him.

It is paradoxical that Elizabeth should regard the phony Wickham as "the most agreeable man" and Darcy as "the most disagreeable man". Her incorrect judgement stems from her prejudice, which colors all of her thinking.

Caroline Bingley’s snobbery becomes more apparent to the naïve and accepting Jane, who finally realizes that the woman does not care for her. She writes to Elizabeth with the news.

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