Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Having noticed the warmth between Elizabeth and Wickham, Mrs. Gardiner cautions Elizabeth about making an unpromising match, warning that Wickham has no fortune. Elizabeth can only promise that she won't rush into anything.
Mrs. Gardiner recognizes the hard reality of needing to marry into a secure situation. Elizabeth is not convinced, and still is focused mainly on finding love.
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Mr. Collins returns for his marriage to Charlotte. Before they leave, Charlotte makes Elizabeth agree to come visit. Once she is gone, Charlotte writes to Elizabeth frequently about her excellent situation with Mr. Collins, but Elizabeth has her doubts.
Elizabeth thinks that anyone who gives up the hope of love in exchange for stability (particularly with a fool like Collins) can't be anything but miserable.
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Jane travels with the Gardiners to London and writes a letter to Elizabeth. She says that she wrote to Caroline but received no reply, and then visited Caroline but was coldly received. Now four weeks have passed and Jane has heard nothing from Bingley, and when Caroline finally paid her a return visit she was again exceedingly cold.
Caroline knows that Jane and Bingley, if they saw each other, would rekindle the spark. So while being careful to conform to the niceties of high class social interaction, she at the same time does everything she can to discourage and denigrate Jane.
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Around the same time, Wickham's interest shifts from Elizabeth to a young woman who recently inherited £10,000. Elizabeth finds she isn't affected much by losing Wickham's attention. She realizes she was never in love with him and wishes him well.
A double standard: Elizabeth judged Charlotte harshly for marrying for money, but excuses Wickham for seeking a fortune in marriage.
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