Skep's Place


Chapter 21: Much Ado About Moving Out

For the rest of the day, Mr. Collins doesn't talk to Elizabeth; instead, Charlotte Lucas takes the brunt of his attention, for which all the Bennets are thankful. To nobody's surprise, Mr. Collins isn't the type of person to take a hint and, you know, maybe end his vacation early; he'll still be sticking around the rest of the week.

an image of Charlotte Lucas

Charlotte Lucas

Thus, the next morning, the Bennet girls decide to get out of the house and walk to town to see if Mr. Wickham is back in. It turns out, he is, and explains to Elizabeth that he did, in fact, flake out on the ball just to avoid any uncomfortableness with Mr. Darcy. She sees this as an entirely respectable reason for standing her up, and the two spend the remainder of the trip pretty much ignoring everybody else.

After the girls return home, a letter arrives for Jane, addressed from Miss Bingley. The content of the letter upsets her, although Jane mostly keeps her composure over dinner, meaning that Elizabeth is the only one that clocks her distress.

In private, Jane reads the letter to Elizabeth, which details how the Bingley sisters have left Netherfield to follow the gentlemen into London. Miss Bingley expects they will stay there all winter, at least; on top of that, Mr. Darcy is itching to see his sister Georgiana again, who, the letter says, Mr. Bingley has quite the thing for, so they'll probably all go do that then.

In other words, it sounds to Jane like Bingley ain't coming back.

Elizabeth tries to allay her sister's concerns. For one, Miss Bingley doesn't decide where Mr. Bingley does and doesn't go. For two, Miss Bingley is a stuck-up hussy whose only goals in life are to live fancy and get with Mr. Darcy—both of which are goals that become vastly more achievable if Mr. Bingley hooks up with Georgiana Darcy instead of some country girl, so it's in her best interest to do what she can to make sure Jane stays out of the race. But Elizabeth saw the way Mr. Bingley made goo-goo eyes over Jane every time, so she figures there's no way he won't be back.

But there's nothing more that can be done for now. Ultimately, Jane tells Mrs. Bennet about the departure, but says nothing about Mr. Bingley's likelihood to return; and Mrs. Bennet, after some consideration, reassures herself he'll be back before long, securing Elizabeth as the only major disappointment in her life.

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