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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 48

Summary

Mr. Collins sends a letter of condolence, but is brimming with painful references to Lydia’s disposition and her faulty upbringing. Messages in a similar vein from Lady Catherine are also included. Another letter from Colonel Forster is sent to Mr. Gardiner, informing him that Wickham has left sizeable gambling and other debts behind him in Brighton.

Persuaded by Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Bennet finally returns to Longbourn. He appears unruffled as ever but tells Elizabeth that he is to blame for being lenient with Lydia. He resolves, in his ironic manner, to be more strict with Kitty.


Notes

This chapter presents a merciless letter from Mr. Collins, again revealing his despicable nature. On hearing of Lydia’s "licentious behavior", he advises Mr. Bennet to "throw off his unworthy child from his affection forever" and with unparalleled egotism congratulates himself of not being ‘personally’ involved in the family’s disgrace. Mr. Collins also includes Lady Catherine’s expert derogatory comments.

Mr. Bennet’s ineffectual nature is also highlighted in the chapter. With a little encouragement from Mr. Gardiner, he returns to Longbourn leaving it to his brother-in-law to shoulder the responsibilities of finding Lydia. He has retreated so far into his isolation over the years that it is next to impossible for him to correct his behavior now. He does, however, somewhat blame himself for the mess with Lydia and promises to be more strict with Kitty.

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