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Summary Chapter 46

Elizabeth is disappointed that Jane has not written. On the third day, she receives two letters. One had been sent elsewhere due to Jane’s illegible address.

The misspent letter is written over two days. The first part contains the usual gossip. The second part’s writing indicates that Jane is upset. She tells Elizabeth that Colonel Forster sent word that Lydia went off to Scotland with Wickham. Only Kitty was not surprised. Jane thinks it is a bad match but hopes that Wickham will do the honorable thing. Their mother is upset, but Mr. Bennet is handling it better. She is glad they never told him what they know about Wickham.

The second letter is apprehensive on whether the marriage actually took place. They don’t think the couple has gone to Scotland after all.

Jane continues to hold out hope that Wickham is honorable. They could have married privately in town. She also believes that Lydia would not let herself be used in such a fashion. Everyone is now angry at Kitty. Jane begs Elizabeth to return. Mr. Bennet is going to London to look for Lydia. Jane asks for their uncle to come and give advice.

Elizabeth rushes to find her uncle and encounters Mr. Darcy. Seeing she is near fainting, he sends a servant to fetch her aunt and uncle.

Elizabeth reveals that Lydia has eloped with Wickham. She blames herself for not revealing Wickham’s character.

Elizabeth feels despair, for this proves her family’s weakness. She realizes she could have loved Mr. Darcy, but here is no hope for that now. However, the humiliation Lydia has brought upon them overwhelms all other feelings.

She asks Mr. Darcy to try to keep the matter quiet for as long as possible.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner return. The Gardiners and Elizabeth return to Longbourn.

Jane Austen