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Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 35 (Volume 2, Chapter 12) | Summary

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Summary

The next morning, Elizabeth goes on her favorite walk. Darcy appears and hands her a letter. His letter begins by addressing the issue with Jane and Bingley.

Darcy writes that he did indeed influence Bingley to go to London in an attempt to spare his friend a connection with the Bennet family, who lack social status. Darcy also believes that Bingley was more invested in Jane than Jane was in Bingley, and he wanted to protect his friend from falling in love with a woman who was perhaps interested only in his fortune. Darcy also explains what actually happened with Wickham. In fact, Darcy writes, he did give Wickham the inheritance he had been promised by the elder Darcy. However, Wickham squandered the money on gambling and never pursued the career in the clergy provided to him. After Wickham ran out of money, he demanded more. Finally, Darcy explains, Wickham attempted to elope with Darcy's sister, Georgiana, who was only fifteen years old. In Darcy's view, Wickham was after Georgiana's considerable wealth. Darcy intervened in time to prevent this disaster. In order to protect Georgiana's reputation, he tells Elizabeth, this episode must be kept secret.

Analysis

The letter from Darcy represents the point in the plot at which "all becomes clear," deeply affecting Elizabeth. In the letter, Darcy clarifies his role in Bingley's departure and explains his version of Wickham's account of the past. Readers get to know Darcy better by hearing these explanations in his own words.

Darcy's claim that Jane did not return Bingley's strong affection echoes a warning voiced earlier by the practical Charlotte—that Jane should not let concern over her reputation prevent her from showing her true feelings toward Bingley. At the time, Elizabeth dismissed Charlotte's advice—another example of Elizabeth's occasional overconfidence in her own judgment.

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