Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Chapter 27 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
"Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin? Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, because it would be imprudent; and now, because he is trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, you want to find out that he is mercenary." (27.8-9)
Lizzy points out to her aunt that tying marriage to money like this just makes the entire population hypocritical: Wickham can't marry her because that would be "imprudent," i.e. really dumb. But when he goes after an heiress, he gets called "mercenary," i.e. a gold-digger. This is literally a lose-lose situation for Wickham, not that he needs any help being a loser.