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Pride and Prejudice Marriage Quotes

Well! I am so happy! In a short time I shall have a daughter married. Mrs. Wickham! – how well it sounds! And she was only sixteen last June.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 49. After her previous regrets and lamentations about Lydia’s elopement and hurling invectives against the "villainous" Wickham, Mrs. Bennet is now in raptures over her daughter marrying him. Mrs. Bennet flip flops a lot between ecstacy over her schemes to get husbands for her daughters and lamentations about her personal suffering when these don’t work. After receiving her brother Mr. Gardiner’s letter that Lydia is to be wed to Wickham and her reputation saved, Mrs. Bennet suddenly reverses her opinion on the character of the fortune-hunting Wickham. Now he is fit to be her son-in-law. Here again the shallow, foolish, tiresome and vacuous Mrs. Bennet makes us laugh – but at her! The passage is another example of Austen’s fine use of ironic humor. Mr. Gardiner’s letter explains that Wickham will wed Lydia if Mr. Bennet pays Wickham a small sum of money annually to Wickham – the Bennets suspect that Mr. Gardiner has also already paid Wickham a good deal. The fuller quote of Mrs. Bennet’s reaction to this news from her brother: "It is all very right; who should do it but her own uncle? If he had not had a family of his own, I and my children must have had all his money, you know; and it is the first time we have ever had anything from him, except a few presents. Well! I am so happy! In a short time I shall have a daughter married. Mrs. Wickham! How well it sounds!"

They shook hands with great cordiality; and then till her sister came down, she had to listen to all he had to say, of his own happiness, and of Jane’s perfections; and in spite of his being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity, to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 55. Charles Bingley asks for Elizabeth’s best wishes on his engagement to Jane. Elizabeth is happy for both of them. She believes that Bingley’s hopes of their happiness together is based not just on love, but on reason also. She refers to their compatibility, shared tastes and Jane’s "super-excellent" temperment. Elizabeth has learned the lesson of the dangers of a marriage based solely on passion from the disastrous example of her young sister Lydia’s blind infatuation for Wickham. Elizabeth also doesn’t share Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s view on marriage, that it should be arranged within your class to promote the material prosperity of the families, with no regard to the individuals involved. We gain this insight into the aristocratic lady’s thinking on marriage in the next chapter in the famous battle of wills between her and Elizabeth. For Elizabeth a good marriage is best achieved with a mix of love and reason. This very considered view on love and marriage is what makes Jane Austen so much more than a simple romance novel writer. She satirizes the conventional romantic novel, exposing the risks of "love at first sight" and promoting a love that grows from a knowledge of the other’s character.