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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

Now that the two gentlemen have left, Elizabeth speaks of her own and Maria's imminent departure. The mood shifts back to comedy briefly, as Lady Catherine lays down all the details for the coming journey, including how the trunks should be packed. Maria is so intimidated that on returning to the parsonage she takes all her clothes out again and repacks them according to Lady Catherine's advice.

But the story soon turns back to Elizabeth's serious thoughts. She spends her remaining mornings in solitary walks, sorting out her confusing emotions.

She arrives at some certainties. For one thing, she believes now that Bingley's affection for Jane was not just a passing infatuation but deep and sincere, and she can criticize him only for trusting too completely to another's judgment.

She admits to herself that her family has some serious defects. She loves and admires her father, but she knows that he is wrong to be merely amused at his wife and younger daughters; he should instead take the trouble to control them.

She is ashamed of her attack on Darcy. But she cannot honestly admit any regret at having refused him, and she feels no desire to see him again. For now, she feels only worry for Jane, disappointment in Wickham, and a lack of hope that anything can change for the better for either Jane or herself.



CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

It is the day of departure. Mr. Collins makes his farewells in his excessive, exaggerated style. When Elizabeth does not praise his house, his gardens, his marriage, and his patron's attentions eloquently enough, he does the job himself. He also boasts of the success of his marriage. In his eyes, he and Charlotte are in total agreement about everything.

If Elizabeth were not so concerned with her own troubles, she would find his illusion laughable. She doubts Charlotte's happiness, but she admits to herself that her friend at least seems contented with her domestic concerns.

At the Gardiners', she finds Jane feeling better. She keeps all mention of Darcy and the surprising turn of events at Hunsford for when she and Jane are home again at Longbourn.

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Barron's Booknotes-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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