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Summary Chapter 39

Maria, Jane, and Elizabeth arrive in Herfordshire at an inn where their father’s carriage awaits them. Kitty and Lydia greet them.
They have a meal waiting for the girls, but ask for money to pay for it. They spent all their money at a dressmaker’s. Lydia bought an ugly bonnet she hopes to redo into something prettier.

She tells Elizabeth that the infantry is moving on to make camp in Brighton. Elizabeth is pleased. Lydia and Mrs. Bennet want to vacation in Brighton come the summer. Lydia also tells them that Wickham cannot marry Mary King because she has been sent to her uncle's in Liverpool. Elizabeth is glad—not because she wishes to win Wickham, but because Miss King is safe from him.

On the journey home, Lydia remarks that she had hoped that her sisters, while away, would have found gentlemen to fall in love with and marry—particularly Jane, who is quite an old maid at almost 23 years of age. Lydia certainly hopes she’ll marry before 23, for she’d die of embarrassment otherwise. Their aunt believes that Elizabeth should have accepted Mr. Collins’ proposal, but even Lydia doesn’t agree with that. She hopes to marry before all her sisters, though, so she can be a chaperon to them.

The girls get a warm reception at home. Mr. Bennet is glad that Elizabeth is back in particular. The Lucases join the party, interested in news on how Charlotte is doing.

Lydia wants them to go to Meryton, but Elizabeth declines. She worries people will say the Bennet girls are man crazy and chasing after soldiers. She is also delaying for as long as possible of seeing Wickham. She is hoping to put it off until the infantry leaves.

Mrs. Bennet is pursuing the idea of vacationing in Brighton. Mr. Bennet is opposed to it, but his vague answers give her hope that he will eventually agree.

Jane Austen