Chapter thirty-eight waves goodbye to Kent, with only one obnoxious, hypocritical, and inappropriate diatribe from Mr. Collins:
"You may, in fact, carry a very favourable report of us into Hertfordshire, my dear cousin. I flatter myself, at least, that you will be able to do so. Lady Catherine's great attentions to Mrs. Collins you have been a daily witness of; and altogether I trust it does not appear that your friend has drawn an unfortunate --; but on this point it will be as well to be silent. Only let me assure you, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart most cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. There is in every thing a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem to have been designed for each other."Elizabeth expresses some sympathy for her friend, but it is largely tempered by a keen sense that Charlotte must lie in the bed which she made:
Poor Charlotte! -- it was melancholy to leave her to such society! -- But she had chosen it with her eyes open; and though evidently regretting that her visitors were to go, she did not seem to ask for compassion. Her home and her housekeeping, her parish and her poultry, and all their dependent concerns, had not yet lost their charms.In all, it is a happy departure, as Elizabeth anticipates her reunion with Jane, but even before they arrive at Longbourn, the absurdity that their reigns encapsulates them. Lydia and Kitty meet them along their route, at the posting inn where they meet Mr. Bennet's carriage, and the increased forwardness and frivolity of the former, particularly, is immediately apparent. We here more from Lydia in chapter thirty-nine than at practically any point in the book, and her words all presage the coming turmoil, from an expressed wish to be married before her sisters, to an account of gross impropriety (by the standards of the day) involving the dressing of an officer in her aunt Phillip's gown. If Elizabeth is newly awakened to her family's full fault, it must also be noted that the situation, during the most worthy Bennet's absence, has gotten immeasurably worse.
I think I need to try and sneak in a quick power nap. Brain not working good.