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Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 48 (Volume 3, Chapter 6) | Summary

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Summary

Mr. Gardiner leaves Longbourn to join Mr. Bennet in London. Soon Mr. Bennet returns home, leaving the situation in Gardiner's hands. Gardiner writes to the Bennet family that he has not been able to locate Lydia and Wickham. The townspeople are beginning to talk about the situation. To add to the gossip, a letter arrives from Mr. Collins. Its pious-sounding content includes insults about the Bennets as well as advice to disown their daughter. Mr. Bennet returns home from London but doesn't reveal much about what transpired there.

Analysis

This section reveals once again how ineffectual the Bennet parents have been. Mr. Bennet is concerned but does not seem up to the task of resolving the crisis; he leaves Mr. Gardiner to fix the problem. Once again, the Gardiners play an important parental role for the Bennet daughters.

Mr. Collins's letter reinforces his insufferable piousness—and his startling lack of compassion, particularly as a clergyman—but also reflects real attitudes about wayward daughters.

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