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Summary Chapter 51

The day of Lydia’s wedding, the Bennet girls anticipate her arrival with uneasiness. Jane imagines Lydia’s mortification, for this is how she would feel. However, Lydia doesn’t have those feelings. Mrs. Bennet is the only one who is overjoyed. Lydia demands congratulations. The family, except Mrs. Bennet, is disgusted to see that the couple is completely unashamed of themselves.

Lydia comments how when she went away, she hadn’t planned on getting married. She purposely met an acquaintance on the way here to show off her wedding ring, fearing that nobody knew of her marriage. Elizabeth bolts from the room. When she returns, Lydia is bragging to Jane that she now takes her place, for she is a married woman. Lydia can’t wait to see their friends and have them call her Mrs. Wickham. Lydia tells her parents they should send the rest of the girls to Brighton to get husbands. She is certain her sisters must envy her.

Mrs. Bennet is unhappy that the couple has to go so far away. Lydia wants them to come visit and promises to get husbands for her sisters. Elizabeth declines the offer.

Everyone but Mrs. Bennet is glad that the couple doesn’t stay long.

Elizabeth observes that Lydia loves Wickham more than he loves her. She assumes he had to leave town due to debt and desired a companion. Lydia is really in love with him and thinks he is perfect.

Lydia wants to tell Elizabeth about the wedding and thinks it is strange that her sister doesn’t want to hear about it. Lydia tells her anyway. Her aunt and uncle were unpleasant the whole time. They wouldn’t allow her to go anywhere while she stayed with them. Her uncle was called away on business, and she feared he wouldn’t be there to give her away. However, he returned in time. Mr. Darcy, though, could have done it.

Lydia frets about revealing that Mr. Darcy had been there, for it was supposed to be a secret. Elizabeth promises not to ask her about it. Her mind, though, won’t let it rest. Why was he there? She writes to Mrs. Gardiner to find out more information and hopes her aunt will enlighten her.

Jane Austen