While Mrs. Bennet did not know the details of Mr. Collins proposal to Miss Lucas, she knows now; and she is rather incensed to think of Charlotte becoming the inheritor of the estate when Mr. Bennet passes. Also, Jane is still eagerly waiting to hear from Bingley, and it is even concerning Elizabeth as the days pass that his selfish sisters and haughty friend, Mr. Darcy, may very well be effective in preventing him from returning.
Another letter from Caroline Bingley arrives only to emphasize the plots of the previous letter and providing Jane reason to relieve her heart over Mr. Bingley altogether, but Elizabeth is seething over her displeasure of others; while Jane is one who sees good in others, Elizabeth trusts no one. Regarding the matter with Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth is content in judging him without complete knowledge of the particular issue at hand pertaining to Mr. Wickham, but Jane always leaves room for truth and amendment.
Mrs. Bennet has a sensible sister-in-law, Mrs. Gardiner, and she is visiting for Christmas; the older Bennet girls have a special relationship with Mrs. Gardiner, and I understand why. (She reminds me of the gentle and gracious, well-grounded Mrs. Caroline Ingalls from Little House. And on that note, Mrs. Bennet is reminding me of Mrs. Olsen!) Upon hearing news between Jane and Bingley, Mrs. Gardiner invites Jane to stay with Mr. Gardiner and herself in London for awhile as a change of scenery, but she also is concerned about Elizabeth’s interest in Mr. Wickham. It’s a small world, and she knew the late Mr. Darcy.
Before the Gardiners and Jane leave, Mrs. Gardiner has a private and candid conversation with Elizabeth about her relationship with Wickham requesting of her to use good judgment and not to disappoint her father (given that she is her father’s favorite!). Elizabeth assures her that she is. In London, Jane receives a visit from Caroline Bingley, whereas it is apparent that Miss Bingley’s conduct is indifferent towards her being in town, and Elizabeth is grateful now that Jane will no longer be deceived by Caroline again. By the way, Mr. Collins and Caharlotte are married.
Elizabeth apprehensively agrees to visit Charlotte and travels with Charlotte’s father and sister, Maria; but first they stay with the Gardiners for a day and night, and Elizabeth is able to spend time with Jane. Mrs. Gardiner also speaks again with Jane about Wickham, whereas her aunt questions Mr. Wickham’s character for interest in a girl, Miss. King, immediately after she had inherited her grandfather’s fortune. Elizabeth declares her unfortunate attitude of men in general, and her aunt invites her to travel with them in the summer, in which Elizabeth cries, “What are men to rocks and mountains?”