Mrs. Gardiner writes back promptly with a long letter.
Mr. Darcy had done his own search for Lydia and Wickham. He contacted Mr. Gardiner. He explained that he loathed revealing his private life, but he blamed himself for not revealing Wickham’s true nature.
He got the information from Mrs. Younge—the woman he had fired when she allowed Wickham to seduce Georgiana. By bribery, he had found out where the couple was. He saw Lydia and tried to get her to leave Wickham. She refused, certain that they would get married eventually.
Wickham had never intended on marrying Lydia. He had to flee his debts and blamed Lydia totally for her leaving with him. He hadn’t married her because he still hoped to make his fortune by marrying a rich woman. Mr. Darcy and he came to an agreement. Mr. Darcy then contacted Mr. Gardiner. Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Darcy argued about who should pay the money. Mr. Darcy finally wound up paying but allowed Mr. Gardiner to take the credit.
Mrs. Gardiner asks Elizabeth not to tell anyone else (except Jane) about this. She believes that Mr. Darcy had another reason for interfering with this affair. She expresses displeasure at Lydia’s behavior. She also reveals that Mr. Darcy attended the wedding and dined with them afterwards.
Elizabeth is both pleased and pained by Mr. Darcy’s interference. She owes him a great obligation now. She wants to believe he did it for her but feels she is being vain.
Wickham approaches her during his visit. He questions her about the trip she took with the Gardiners, what she thought of Georgiana, and what Reynolds had said about him. He comments that he regrets not going into the church as a career. He now thinks it would have been a fine life for him.
Elizabeth brings up some things Mr. Darcy had said about Wickham. Wickham says he had told her those things before. However, she leaves him on good terms for her sister’s sake.