Skep's Place


Chapter 15: Much Ado About Wickham

Mr. Collins—fancying himself quite clever and a truly generous person—drops a hint to Mrs. Bennet that the primary intention for his visit was actually to secure one of the Bennet daughters as a bride. This was what he had meant by his desire to make amends; marrying one of the girls would keep the estate within the family, and provide some measure of security for all. A real win-win in his book.

At first, his interest is in Jane, as the eldest and prettiest. However, Mrs. Bennet casually informs him that, actually, they expect Jane to be engaged to another man in the near future; but you know, Elizabeth is the next eldest, and nearly as good...

The Bennet daughters walk to the nearby town that day; Mr. Collins accompanies them at the behest of Mr. Bennet, who doesn't want the dimwit in his library anymore.

However, the presence of Mr. Collins is very quickly forgotten by the girls, who are introduced to a newly-commissioned lieutenant by the name of Mr. Wickham. With his good looks and friendly manners, he's turning the heads of all the ladies, and spends some time in pleasant company with the Bennet party.

a picture of Mr. Wickham

Mr. Wickham

As they are conversing by the road, their group is very coincidentally approached by Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy on horseback. Of course, Mr. Bingley only has eyes for Jane; but while the pair of them are doing their chaste flirting or whatever, Elizabeth notices that Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham exchange a look of recognition. However, it's quite clear that neither seems comfortable in each other's presence, and Mr. Darcy can barely even bring himself to return a hat tip that Mr. Wickham eventually offers.

Of this discomfort, no more knowledge is gleaned; Bingley and Darcy soon depart, and Wickham takes off shortly as well.

There is some good news for the girls when they, along with Mr. Collins, reach the house of their aunt and uncle who live in town. The following evening, they will be inviting some of the officers over for dinner and games; and will gladly invite Mr. Wickham as well, if the Bennets will be present.

This is, as you may expect, a very agreeable invitiation for the Bennet daughters.

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