Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Chapter 39 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
"And we mean to treat you all," added Lydia, "but you must lend us the money, for we have just spent ours at the shop out there." Then, showing her purchases—"Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better." (39.3)
Ugh, Lydia. This is bad news for Wickham (of course, Wickham is bad news for her, too). Pro tip for the wife-hunting nineteenth-century gentlemen: make sure your bride-to-be can manage her money.
And when her sisters abused [the bonnet] as ugly, she added, with perfect unconcern, "Oh! but there were two or three much uglier in the shop; and when I have bought some prettier-coloured satin to trim it with fresh, I think it will be very tolerable. Besides, it will not much signify what one wears this summer, after the ——shire have left Meryton, and they are going in a fortnight." (39.3-4)
Truth: we all know someone like this. And, just like now, some (thankfully, a lot more than today) people thought that all girls were ditzy idiots who wasted money on clothes and thought only about boys. Pride and Prejudice was so revolutionary in part because it showed that women could be lots of ways. (Check out "Brain Snacks" for a fun quote about that.)
"I will answer for it, he never cared three straws about her—who could about such a nasty little freckled thing?"
Elizabeth was shocked to think that, however incapable of such coarseness of expression herself, the coarseness of the sentiment was little other than her own breast had harboured and fancied liberal! (39.13-15)
This is a really great moment, pointing out how that Lydia isn't some kind of totally alien outsider in her family. She's more like their irrepressible id, the side of all of them that's is interested in comfort, pleasure, food, and sex. It's not that Lydia thinks differently than others; it's just that she actually says what she's thinking. The girl just talks with no filter.