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|Chap 51: Lydia was Lydia still
Written by kathleen (elder)
(5/6/2013 7:52 a.m.)
So Lydia marries Wickham, and they come to stay at Longbourn for a few days. Mrs Bennet is delighted to greet her first married daughter, and she is sure the couple is & will be very happy!
Their reception from Mr. Bennet, to whom they then turned, was not quite so cordial. His countenance rather gained in austerity, and he scarcely opened his lips. The easy assurance of the young couple, indeed, was enough to provoke him. Elizabeth was disgusted, and even Miss Bennet was shocked. Lydia was Lydia still -- untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless. She turned from sister to sister, demanding their congratulations; and when at length they all sat down, looked eagerly round the room, took notice of some little alteration in it, and observed, with a laugh, that it was a great while since she had been there.
There has been little in the novel to indicate that Lydia was capable of maturity, but this feels nearly as shocking to the reader as to Elizabeth & Jane. Lydia nearly brought ruin to her family -- her sisters, at least, might have been shunned by most eligible men due to the lack of virtue shown by the youngest of them -- but instead of contrition she exhibits triumph.
And what of Lydia's husband?
Wickham was not at all more distressed than herself; but his manners were always so pleasing that, had his character and his marriage been exactly what they ought, his smiles and his easy address, while he claimed their relationship, would have delighted them all. Elizabeth had not before believed him quite equal to such assurance; but she sat down, resolving within herself to draw no limits in future to the impudence of an impudent man. She blushed, and Jane blushed; but the cheeks of the two who caused their confusion suffered no variation of colour.
Perhaps Wickham really delighted in the marriage (yeah, right!); perhpas he decided that the best way to deal with an embarrassment was to pretend that the marriage was exactly what he wanted all along; and perhaps Wickham is just an incredibly good actor.
Another passage which reveals our principal characters in just a few sentences.
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