Pride and Prejudice: Novel Summary: Chapters 45-48

Chapter 45: Elizabeth is now convinced that Miss Bingley did not like her purely out of jealousy of Darcys attentions to her, and she is sure her appearance at Pemberley will not be welcome to Miss Bingley.  In fact, Miss Bingley watches Elizabeth closely during their visit to Pemberley, while neither she nor Miss Darcy speak much.  Darcy comes in to see the women, and all look to see how he will act around Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner leave, Miss Bingley criticizes Elizabeths person, behavior and dress, but neither Darcy nor Miss Darcy will join her.
Chapter 46: When Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner arrive back at the hotel, there are two letters from Jane, one that had been missent earlier.  The Gardiners go for a walk and leave Elizabeth to enjoy the news from her sister.  The first letter brings bad news about Lydia.  Colonel Forster had informed the family that his wife had a note from Lydia saying she had run off with Wickham to Scotland to get married.  Elizabeth immediately reads the second letter, which states that there is now reason to believe that they have not gone to Scotland to get married, and that Wickham may not plan on marrying Lydia at all.  The entire family is in turmoil, and Colonel Forster is trying to locate the couple.  Mr. Bennet is going to London, and Jane asks Elizabeth to come home right away. 
Elizabeth is just about to run out after her aunt and uncle, but when she opens the door, Darcy is standing there. Elizabeth sends the servant after the Gardiners, and she tells Darcy what has happened with Lydia.  Darcy states that he is grieved and becomes quiet.  Elizabeth observes him and believes that her power with him is sinking because of the disgraceful behavior of her family.  This belief of hers makes “her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain.” (295).  Darcy leaves the room after saying he wishes there were something he could do, and when the Gardiners return, they are all soon on their way to Longbourn.
Chapter 47: Their journey back to Longbourn is spent for the most part wondering if Wickham means to marry Lydia or not, and Mr. Gardiner tries to keep them positive.  They soon arrive at Longbourn, and find out that there has been no new news from Mr. Bennet.  Mrs. Bennet has taken ill, and Jane has been attending her.  Elizabeth and Jane discuss how they never saw a preference for Wickham in Lydia, and again discuss whether he is likely to marry her.  Elizabeth feels bad for not telling everyone before about Wickhams bad reputation. 
Chapter 48: The next morning Mr. Gardiner starts off for London when no letter from Mr. Bennet arrives.  Mrs. Gardiner and the children decide to stay in Longbourn for a few days to try to help, and on Tuesday she receives a letter from her husband saying that he and Mr. Bennet are searching the hotels in town for Lydia and Wickham.  A letter soon arrives from Mr. Collins saying that he has heard of their misfortune, and writing Mr. Bennet that it would be best for him to “throw off your unworthy child from your affections for ever.” Mr. Gardiner writes again saying he has no news yet other than that Wickham does not seem to have any family or friends that they could be staying with, and that he left a number of gambling debts in Brighton.  Mr. Bennet returns home, and Mrs. Gardiner and her children leave.  Mr. Bennet tells Elizabeth that she was justified in her advice to him before Lydia left, and that he has learnt to be cautious about his daughters.