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Mr. Bennet is ashamed that Mr. Gardiner has paid a sum to money to Wickham to accomplish the marriage; he plans to find out the amount and repay his brother-in-law as soon as possible. He even writes a letter to Gardiner to state his plans. He is also disappointed in Lydia’s behavior and has resolved not to admit them at Longbourn. In contrast, Mrs. Bennet has no remorse. Once she hears about the marriage, she ends her voluntary exile in her room and takes her seat at the head of the table. She is in high spirits, allowing no shame to dampen her victory. She is ecstatic about her plans for the married couple but her husband has resolved not to admit them at Longbourn.
Elizabeth regrets that she has confided in Darcy, for it embarrasses her that he now knows of her family’s disgrace. She finally acknowledges her love for Darcy, but she feels the chances of marrying him are now lost forever. She is saddened over the situation, for she thinks that Darcy is just the man to make her a suitable husband; she believes their marriage would be the ideal union, but unfortunately Lydia’s disgraceful union has marred her chances forever.
Mr. Gardiner writes that Wickham intends to quit the militia and enter into a regiment stationed in the north; Lydia wishes to see her family before they depart. Mr. Bennet initially refuses Lydia’s request, but Jane and Elizabeth convince him to receive her and Wickham. It is arranged that after they are married, the couple will proceed to Longbourn.
Mr. Bennet partially redeems himself in this chapter. He is ashamed about his own finances and sad that Mr. Gardiner has had to pay a large sum to have Wickham marry Lydia. His determination to repay Gardiner shows that he is an honest and fair-minded man.
Elizabeth is ashamed of Lydia’s behavior. Now that she realizes that she loves Darcy, she is sad to think that she will never be able to marry him because of her Lydia’s disgrace. She now accepts that Darcy’s assessment of her family was correct.
Lydia’s elopement is central to the plot, for it threatens to devastate the life of her older sisters -- both of whom are immensely superior to her.