Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
In March, Elizabeth accompanies the Lucases to London, for she is eager see Jane. They are to spend the night at the Gardiners, where Jane eagerly awaits her sister. Mrs. Gardiner confides in Elizabeth that although Jane still has periods of utter dejection even though she tries to be cheerful. Mrs. Gardiner compliments Elizabeth on bearing Wickham’s new attachment to Miss King with grace. Elizabeth thoroughly enjoys her stay with the Gardiners. She readily accepts their invitation to accompany them on their summer vacation.
Mrs. Gardiner is a substitute mother for both Jane and Elizabeth; she gives her nieces understanding and friendship, which is missing in the relationship with their mother. The aunt, unlike Mrs. Bennett, is sensitive to Jane’s suffering and gently cares for her niece. She also gives Elizabeth wise advice about Wickham and praises her for behaving nobly when he deserts her.
Once again, the importance of money in marriage is highlighted in Elizabeth’s remark, "What is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end and avarice begin?"