Mr. Bennet had never saved money, assuming that he would eventually have a son who would then inherit the family estate. A son never arrived. Girl after girl after girl after girl after girl came and, by then, it was too late to start saving for the girls' future.
He writes a letter of thanks to his brother-in-law, Mr. Gardner, for essentially bribing Wickham into marrying Lydia, but he's especially thankful for how little this marriage will cost him.
Mrs. Bennet discusses the wedding plans, but Mr. Bennet says he will not give his daughter even the tiniest amount of money for wedding clothing, and he refuses to receive the couple at Longbourn.
Historical Context Lesson: "Receiving" someone is similar to diplomatic recognition. If no one receives you, you basically don't exist in their eyes.
Elizabeth begins to wish she had never told Mr. Darcy about the Lydia-Wickham situation. Now that the couple is getting married, everything looks perfectly respectable on the surface, and she could have concealed her family's weaknesses from him.
At the same time, she acknowledges that all hope of his attachment and connection to her family is probably lost. How happy he would be to know that his proposal, spurned a few months earlier, would be so gladly accepted now! He would love to rub that in her face, she thinks.
She begins to realize how perfect Mr. Darcy is for her, in temperament and talent.
Mr. Gardiner writes that Mr. Bennet should never mention the debt again. He also says that Wickham has been convinced to leave his regiment and take up the Regulars (another variety of military service) so that he will not be settled in the vicinity.
Elizabeth and Jane prevail on Mr. Bennet to receive his daughter and Wickham in his house after their marriage. He agrees.