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Summary Chapter 41

Lydia and Kitty are miserable that it is the regiment’s last week in Meryton. Mrs. Bennet sympathizes, remembering her youth. They are all disappointed they can’t go to Brighton. Elizabeth is ashamed of them, remembering Mr. Darcy’s objections, and understands all the more why he interfered with his friend’s relationship with her sister.

Mrs. Forster invites a delighted Lydia to Brighton. They are intimate friends. Kitty is upset that the invitation wasn’t extended to her.

Elizabeth tries to advise her father against allowing Lydia permission to go. Mrs. Forster will hardly encourage Lydia’s behavior to improve. Mr. Bennet thinks it is a matter of time before Lydia’s behavior causes her problems. At least if it happens away from home, her behavior won’t inconvenience the family. Elizabeth tells him that Lydia has already done damage. Mr. Bennet says any man who can’t bear a connection with a little absurdity is not worth pining over. Elizabeth tells her father that if he doesn’t try to alter Lydia’s nature, it will become fixed. Her behavior will also influence Kitty. They will soon be despised, and this will affect the other girls.

Mr. Bennet replies that people respect Jane and Elizabeth, and they will not be at a disadvantage because of their sisters. He is certain that Colonel Forster will keep Lydia out of trouble, and she is too poor to be taken advantage of. He hopes the officers will find other women, and Lydia will be humbled by not being the center of attention. Elizabeth feels disappointed but has done her duty.

Elizabeth finally has to be in the company of Mr. Wickham, whom she now sees differently. She is dismayed that he has renewed his attentions to her. She finally mentions having seen Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam at Hunsford. Wickham becomes apprehensive. Elizabeth warmly praises Colonel Fitzwilliam, and says she is beginning to understand Mr. Darcy better. Mr. Wickham says that Mr. Darcy was probably different in the presence of his aunt, whom he is afraid of.

Elizabeth says a civil goodbye to Mr. Wickham, glad to see the back of him. Lydia leaves with Mrs. Forster.

Jane Austen