Chapters 24 and 25 – A false friend
A further letter is received from Caroline Bingley saying that they now have
no plans for returning to Netherfield. This further adds to Jane’s depression and fuels Elizabeth’s anger. Elizabeth is frustrated, but she has not means to release her pent up feelings, and she hates
the way her sister has been manipulated.
She continues to receive visits from Wickham.
Christmas arrives and the Bennett household is swelled by the arrival of Mr.
and Mrs. Gardiner, Mrs. Bennett’s brother and sister-in-law.
The Gardiner’s are acquainted with the happenings in Longbourn, and Mrs. Gardiner warns Elizabeth about her relationship with Wickham, for he has no prospects and any match would be fraught with difficulties.
In an attempt to lift Jane’s depression, Mrs. Gardiner invites her to return
to London with them. In London, Jane visits Caroline Bingley, but she receives a cold reception, and it is clear she has been a false friend.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are introduced into the storyline.
Unlike her sister-in-law, Mrs. Gardiner is able to provide good advice to
Jane and Elizabeth. She warns Elizabeth about her relationship with Wickham, as there is no future in this. This advice unfortunately Elizabeth disregards. Her prejudice against marriages of
convenience means that she would sacrifice her position in society and her stability in order to marry for love. She cannot see how Charlotte can be happy in a marriage without love.
She also shows continued prejudice against Darcy, feeling he is instrumental
in the manipulation of her sister Jane.
Ironically, Elizabeth was correct in her assessment of Bingley’s sister, for
when Jane visits her in London, it is clear that she has treated her falsely.
The society that Austen projects seems a daunting one for the women.
They have to balance their security with their feelings for their husband, and hope that at least they will be happy with their partner, if not in love with him.
Charlotte has agreed to marry Collins for security, but she may also think
she is able to control him.
Jane had hoped to marry Bingley, not only to obtain security, but it is clear that he was a man she could