By Ruth Goode
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Extra resources for Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice
NOTE: Charlotte here expresses an attitude toward marriage that was common among middle-class young women of the time. Security was the main thing, not love. Elizabeth can’t accept this philosophy. For her, marriage must be based on mutual affection and respect. CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE Sir William Lucas comes to the Bennets’ house to announce his daughter’s engagement. Mrs. Bennet cannot forgive Elizabeth for losing a husband, but Mr. Bennet is delighted. Lady Lucas can hardly hide her joy at having her plain daughter well married before any of the pretty Bennet girls.
All the same she is shocked at the story Wickham tells her. According to him, Darcy has refused to give him the “living” he is entitled to—that is, the rectory of the parish in which Darcy’s estate is situated. He declares that Darcy has done this even though the position of rector there was bequeathed to him in the elder Darcy’s will. Elizabeth is now confronted with the claim that Darcy is not only an unpleasant man but also a dishonorable one. Wickham further tells her that Mr. Collins’s patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is Darcy’s aunt and that Darcy is intended to marry her daughter.
A regiment of militia has arrived, to be stationed in the town for the winter. From this moment on, the two girls—especially Lydia—can talk of nothing but the officers and their hopes of being noticed by them. NOTE: Officers in the military were ranked as gentlemen, whatever the families of their origin. It was customary for a family to buy a commission in the army or navy for a younger son who could not inherit a title or estate; or they might help out a promising young man from a lower social class in this way; he could then make a gentlemanly career in the services.
Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice by Ruth Goode