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Written by BarbaraB
(4/21/2013 3:15 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I think the key to this passage is the first part..., penned by Cathy Allen
Mrs. Gardiner has nothing but "praise on the character of its late possessor," so there appears to be nothing negative about the rest of the family in general that she has heard.
Also for Mrs. Gardiner, "Wickham had one means of affording pleasure, unconnected with his general powers [of charm I would assume]." Mrs. Gardiner had lived in Derbyshire some ten or twelve years ago and they "therefore, had many acquaintances in common...[and Wickham] could give her fresher intelligence of her former friends than she had been in the way of procuring."
After so favorable a beginning for Wickham, by the time Mrs. Gardiner is informed of the present Mr. Darcy's treatment of him, Mrs. Gardiner is predisposed to think well of Wickham and go with the general assessment of Darcy by all of Meryton, basically inventing a memory to fit the general feeling of all. This is an example of how gossip, misinformation, unintentional invention, and imperfect memories contribute to false facts, so to speak.
And what I love about Austen is, no matter how great and wonderful her characters are, and no matter how much we might love them, they are still all subject to human error and faults giving them a life that takes them beyond the pages which imo has made them live forever or at least for two hundred years. :)
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