Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen

Chapters 41-61

Chapter 41: Mrs. Forster, the young wife a Colonel in the regiment and Lydia's friend, invites Lydia to Brighton with her. Mrs. Bennet is delighted, Kitty is jealous and Elizabeth is worried. The officers have dinner at Longbourn before they go; Elizabeth hints to Wickham that she knows the truth of his relationship with Darcy. They part amicably but with relief. Lydia leaves Longbourn.

Chapter 42: Elizabeth sets off for Derbyshire with Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. They decide to go to Pemberley, Darcy's house, which is famous for its beauty.

Chapter 43: The housekeeper at Pemberly, who shows the Gardiners and Elizabeth around, gives a glowing account of Darcy's behaviour as a master, a son and a brother. While walking in the grounds they meet Darcy himself, who has returned home a day before he was expected. Elizabeth keeps up an awkward conversation; she is amazed, however, to see him being polite to her uncle and aunt and to herself, asking if he may introduce his sister to her.

Chapter 44: Darcy, his sister and Bingley (who is staying at Pemberly) visit Elizabeth. Georgiana is shy but not proud; Bingley is as pleasant as ever and hints that he is still thinking of Jane; Darcy goes out of his way to be polite, asking Elizabeth and the Gardiners to dinner. Elizabeth concludes that he must still be in love with her and begins to wonder whether she could make him propose again. This marks the beginning of her total change of heart towards him.

Chapter 45: While Darcy, Bingley and Mr. Gardiner are fishing, Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner call on Georgiana and Bingley's sisters. Miss Bingley is barely civil to Elizabeth; she is jealous of Darcy's affection.

Chapter 46: A letter arrives from Jane; Lydia has eloped with Wickham. At first it was thought that they had gone to Scotland to get married, but it now appears that they are in London and no-one knows whether they have any intention of marrying or not. Mr. Bennet has gone to London to try and find Lydia and wants Mr. Gardiner to join him. As Elizabeth is reading this, Darcy comes in and hears the news. His reaction is to leave quickly, which Elizabeth interprets as a desire to disassociate himself from the scandal. The Gardiners return from their walk, are informed of what has happened, and the whole party is very soon on the road home.

Chapter 47: Elizabeth tells her aunt and uncle about Wickham's history, showing that his eloping with Lydia is by no means uncharacteristic behaviour. They arrive home to find Mrs. Bennet near hysterical. Jane fills Elizabeth in on the details, showing her the letter that Lydia left for Mrs. Forster. It is flippant and thoughtless, but reveals that she loved Wickham and hoped that they would be married.

Chapter 48: There is no news from London; the hunt for Lydia and Wickham is so far unsuccessful, but it has come out that Wickham was quite seriously in debt. Elizabeth worries about the effect that this scandal in her family will have on her relationship with Darcy. Mr. Bennet arrives home, leaving Mr. Gardiner in London to continue the search.

Chapter 49: Mr. Gardiner writes to say that he has found Lydia and Wickham and that they are not married, but that if Mr. Bennet will send money to settle on Wickham they soon will be. From the small sum asked of him Mr. Bennet concludes that Mr. Gardiner must have put a lot of his own money into making the couple marry and hence saving the family from further disgrace. Mrs. Bennet is delighted by the way everything has turned out: it is enough to her to have a daughter married, however it came about.

Chapter 50: The news spreads through the neighbourhood; Elizabeth wishes that she had not told Darcy what was happening in Derbyshire, and is afraid that she has lost him. She is now convinced that they could be happy together. News arrives from Mr. Gardiner that Wickham has decided to join a regiment near Newcastle and that as soon as they are married they will leave for their new home. Mr. Bennet, having said that he would not receive the couple in his house, is persuaded by Jane and Elizabeth to let them pay a farewell visit.

Chapter 51: Lydia and Wickham arrive at Longbourn. Lydia lets it drop that Darcy was at her wedding, but immediately says that his being there was meant to have been a secret and that she cannot say any more. Elizabeth is wild with curiosity to know what his involvement has been and writes to Mrs. Gardiner in the hope of finding out.

Chapter 52: Mrs. Gardiner replies to Elizabeth's letter, telling her that Darcy found Wickham and Lydia in London, discovered that while Lydia would not think of leaving Wickham, he had no intention of marrying her and hoped to make his fortune and clear his debts by marrying well elsewhere. Darcy, to save the Bennets from disgrace, gave Wickham enough money to make marrying Lydia worth his while. Mrs. Gardiner hints that Darcy did all this from love of Elizabeth and insinuates that they will soon be married. Elizabeth is overwhelmed by Darcy's generosity and embarrassed by the fact that her family still has a low opinion of him when he has done so much for them. Wickham tries to renew the subject of his ill treatment at the hands of Darcy with Elizabeth, but she will not be drawn in.

Chapter 53: Lydia and Wickham leave for Newcastle. News arrives that Mr. Bingley is returning to Netherfield; Mrs. Bennet is delighted, Jane attempts to be composed and Elizabeth wonders why he is coming and whether Darcy approves of his return to the neighbourhood given that it will inevitably involve his seeing Jane again. Bingley calls on the Bennets, bringing Darcy with him, shortly after his arrival. Elizabeth is distressed by how quiet Darcy is, but Bingley shows signs of renewing his interest in Jane.

Chapter 54: Darcy and Bingley dine at Longbourn. Elizabeth is frustrated by how little she and Darcy are able to talk to each other; Bingley continues to be very attentive to Jane.

Chapter 55: Darcy goes to London on business; while he is away Bingley spends more and more time at Longbourn, which culminates in his asking Jane to marry him. The whole family are overjoyed.

Chapter 56: Lady Catherine de Burgh calls unexpectedly at Longbourn; she has heard a rumour that Elizabeth and Darcy are engaged and asks Elizabeth if this is true, warning her that Darcy is marked out for her own daughter and that she will oppose any other match for him, especially one with someone so unequal to him in social status. Elizabeth will not submit to such bullying tactics, but eventually admits that she and Darcy are not engaged. She refuses to promise, however, that she will never enter into such an engagement. Lady Catherine leaves, disgusted with what she sees as presumption and rudeness on Elizabeth's part.

Chapter 57: Elizabeth worries that Lady Catherine may use her influence with her nephew and that Darcy may drop her acquaintance. Mr. Bennet receives a letter from Mr. Collins congratulating him on Jane's engagement, but warning him that he has heard from the Lucas's that Elizabeth and Darcy may soon become engaged and that Lady Catherine will not "look upon the match with a friendly eye". Mr. Bennet thinks the whole affair is ridiculous and amusing, but Elizabeth is not able to take it so lightly.

Chapter 58: Darcy returns from London and comes to Longbourn with Bingley. While they are out walking Elizabeth finds an opportunity to thank Darcy for what he did in bringing about Lydia's marriage. Darcy replies that his sole intention was to save Elizabeth pain; he assures her that he still loves her and asks to know whether her feelings towards him have changed. Elizabeth tells him that they have. They spend the rest of the walk talking over the last few months.

Chapter 59: Elizabeth confides in Jane, who is astonished at the news, but as soon as she realises that Darcy and Elizabeth are really in love, she is delighted. Darcy asks for Mr. Bennet's consent the next day and the news is broken to the whole family. Mrs. Bennet can think of nothing but Darcy's wealth, and consequently is very happy with how things have turned out.

Chapter 60: The news of Darcy and Elizabeth's engagement is conveyed by Darcy to Lady Catherine, by Elizabeth to Mrs. Gardiner and by Mr. Bennet to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth is embarrassed by her vulgar relations to whom Darcy is now constantly exposed, but looks forward to a more elegant social circle at Pemberley.

Chapter 61: The two couples are married; a year afterwards Jane and Bingley move to Derbyshire. Darcy helps Wickham in his career while taking care never to see him; Georgiana lives with Elizabeth and Darcy at Pemberley and becomes very fond of Elizabeth; Kitty spends most of her time with her older sisters and Mary stays in Longbourn. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are some of the Darcys' most frequent visitors, and Pemberley becomes the centre of "comfort and elegance" that Elizabeth had anticipated.