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Why was Wickham interested in eloping with Lydia?

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Stephen I know that Wickham tried pulling the eloping trick with Darcy but then his mark had a large fortune of her own plus Wickham would be getting revenge on Darcy as well.

However when Wickham elopes with Lydia, he knows she has no fortune and he can't really be looking for any revenge against Lizzie, can he?

I know that Lizzie did sort of make him uncomfortable at their last meeting before the regiment left for Brighton. She told him that she'd spent three weeks in company with Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam and that she'd come to think better of Darcy. She even sort of intimated that she'd learned the truth of his claims.

But in no way could he have expected that Darcy would come to Bennet's aid like he did.

I know that Lydia and Georgiana were about the same age when Wickham tried his eloping thing with them.

Do you think he just has a thing for young girls?
If not why would he elope with Lydia and screw up his service with the regiment?

Am I missing something?


Paul Burry I would call Wickham's plan for he and Lydia "shacking up," not "eloping." He's going to fly off with her for a bit of fun, and then abandon her. He has no intention of marrying her, and only does so under the influence of Darcy and Mr. Gardiner, which is the only thing that rescues some small remnant of Lydia's honour. The point is to illustrate the depth's of Wickham's depravity, and thus the consequences of Elizabeth's misjudgement of him.


Mitali It is clearly stated in the book that Wickham was actually fleeing the regiment, as he had racked up a huge debt he couldn't pay. He decided to let Lydia tag along, because she had a crush on him, and he didn't mind a little female companionship, but he had no intention of marrying her. That's why instead of going to Scotland (where they could get married immediately), they shack up in London, and are unmarried when Darcy finds them. It's Darcy bribe that persuades Wickham to marry Lydia, not her own (extremely little) money.


~*Trema Renae*~ I have to agree. Wickham had no intentions of marrying Lydia. She was just his temporary fling and he took her along on the run. He only agreed to marry her after they were found and Darcy bribed him(which was done in Lizzie's honor).


Sidra because he didn't have another choice except her thats why he went with her


message 6: by Keri (last edited Jan 31, 2013 11:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Keri I agree with the others that he had no intention of marrying her though he clearly led her to believe they were to be married. No matter how foolish and silly Lydia was I don't believe that she would have run off with him if she had known the truth.


Learnin Curve I think a lot of your confusion stems from the language of the time, anything concerning sex was always hinted at or implied but never overtly mentioned. :)

At that time a true elopement would have meant immediately heading off to Gretna Green in Scotland, as the Marriage Act of 1753 meant that anyone in England under the age of 21 had to get parental consent and the banns had to be read which takes 4 weeks. These changes did not apply in Scotland and it was the equivalent of a vegas wedding today.

So as others have said taking her to London meant that he had no intention of marrying her and didn't care a jot about her reputation, or the reputation of her family, who would have been damned by association, especially the parents who would have been considered at fault.


Mitali Keri wrote: "I agree with the others that he had no intention of marrying her though he clearly led her to believe they were to be married. No matter how foolish and silly Lydia was I don't believe that she wo..."

Of course Wickham must have lied to Lydia about wanting to marry her. But even so, Lydia was quite ok with living together with him before marriage, even though at that time, it was considered extremely shocking and immoral behaviour.


message 9: by Jettcatt (last edited Feb 01, 2013 02:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jettcatt Perhaps Wickham had wanted revenge on Darcy and when Lydia wanted to go with him we perhaps thought of it as an opportunity to damage the family name.


Joana Mitali wrote: "Keri wrote: "I agree with the others that he had no intention of marrying her though he clearly led her to believe they were to be married. No matter how foolish and silly Lydia was I don't believ..."

I agree. I also think that Wickham lied to her, but even though she was silly and foolish, she was not dumb, so I'm pretty sure that after a while, she guessed what her situation really was and highly doubt she regretted it. She was very young and dazzled by a handsome man that claimed to like her.


Stephen Jettcatt wrote: "Perhaps Wickham had wanted revenge on Darcy and when Lydia wanted to go with him we perhaps thought of it as an opportunity to damage the family name."

Actually, I was thinking that Wickham might have a tendency to seek revenge by sleeping with sisters of those that had piqued his anger. He seemed to in his elopement plan with Georgiana and Elizabeth had managed to upset him just before he left for Brighton by intimating that she'd learned that he'd been lying about Darcy's perfidy.

I never thought that W was seriously thinking of marrying Lydia when he asked her to go away with him, but it does occur to me that he probably had his choice of victims and settled on Lydia BECAUSE Lizzie had angered him.


Lesley I think Lydia was on the outlook for a husband & settled on Mr Wickham probably because he showed her some attention & also to spite Elizabeth because Lydia thought Elizabeth was partial to Wickham. Lydia always was spoilt & got what she wanted. I think wickham told Lydia that he was leaving (fleeing the regiment due to debts & debts of honour)& she decided to go with & he wasn't going to say know to a pretty youbg thing tagging along. I don't think Wickham had any plan on marrying Lydia or thought that he would get any money from her father or from Darcy. I think he would have dumped her in London when he got sick of her & moved on.


Child of Ilúvatar I agree with everyone here. Poor Lydia! Imagine being bound for the rest of your life to someone who treated you so and then had to be bribed to marry you! Although, she is so silly this doesn't appear to bother her one bit. She'd get a bit of sense as she aged though. Still, the alternative to marrying him was much worse I suppose.


Simone Haha, Wickham isn't interested in marrying Lydia at all, that's just his line so he can get in her pants.

He only becomes interested in marrying her when Darcy bargains to pay off his debts if he does marry her, in order to save the reputation of Lizzie's family.


Sorrel Agree with everyone here. I got so annoyed with Lydia. She doesn't care a jot that she almost ruined her families reputation or that she'd committed something which (in those times) was thought to be morally wrong! I just wanted to shake her and go WAKE UP YOU NAIVE IDIOT!!! She would have deserved to be ruined but her family didn't


message 16: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Stephen wrote: "Jettcatt wrote: "Perhaps Wickham had wanted revenge on Darcy and when Lydia wanted to go with him we perhaps thought of it as an opportunity to damage the family name."

Actually, I was thinking th..."


Interesting perspective. That would make him pretty creaapy indeed!


message 17: by Tina (last edited Mar 22, 2013 07:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina Don't forget, Lydia NEVER thought she had done anything wrong. She offered to take her sisters with her and Wickham so she can get husbands for all of them - causing Lizzy to respond "I don't like your way of getting a husband". I think that Wickham knew that Lizzy had fallen for Mr. Darcy when he spoke the last time with her and saw a way to get all his debts paid, his future set up, and a silly wife that would let him do whatever he wanted. The end of the story tells us how both Jane and Lizzy continued to support them just to keep them away.


Kristen Callihan Mitali wrote: "Keri wrote: "I agree with the others that he had no intention of marrying her though he clearly led her to believe they were to be married. No matter how foolish and silly Lydia was I don't believ..."

Yes, but part of me feels that Lydia doesn't care what type of attention she gets, good or bad, as long as she is getting attention.


Nancy Paul wrote: "I would call Wickham's plan for he and Lydia "shacking up," not "eloping." He's going to fly off with her for a bit of fun, and then abandon her. He has no intention of marrying her, and only does ..."

I agree...but Lydia? I couldn't stomach to be with her for an hour!


siriusedward Paul wrote: "I would call Wickham's plan for he and Lydia "shacking up," not "eloping." He's going to fly off with her for a bit of fun, and then abandon her. He has no intention of marrying her, and only does ..."

nancy wrote:I agree...but Lydia? I couldn't stomach to be with her for an hour!

i agree with both...


Gretchen Wickham was interested in a "good time" Lydia was a naive easy girl. He had done it before. Only this time the girl's family had clout and support and he was forced to marry her, the money was an incentive too. Although I am sure had he refused Darcy could have made things a bit more unfortunate for him and had him thrown in jail for his debt and desertion or worse.


message 22: by Gretchen (last edited Apr 24, 2013 01:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gretchen In defense of Lydia. Did she purposely set out to hurt her family? I don't think so she was really, very young, too young with parents who had not taught her how to behave or what "dangers" are out in the world. Frankly she was stupid. She probably honestly thought this was the way to snare a husband. I'm sure she did not know anything about mistresses or prostitutes and probably thought if she was with Wickham of course he would marry her.


Mitali Gretchen wrote: "In defense of Lydia. Did she purposely set out to hurt her family? I don't think so she was really, very young, too young with parents who had not taught her how to behave or what "dangers" are out..."

She probably had no malicious intentions, but the fact remains that her thoughtlessness nearly ruined her family.

Also, she was 16, not 6. She may not have known about the existence of mistresses and prostitutes (I doubt that very much), but she surely knew that in her society, women were not supposed to live with men before marriage.


message 24: by Ame (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ame I don't think Wickham ever intended to marry Lydia but I think she was infatuated with him and believed he would marry her.....

Another angle about Wickham.... I think he really was into young girls.... Georgiana was 15... Lydia 16..... I think he was kind of perverted guy....


Gretchen @Mitali, of course she would have known not to live with a man prior to marriage. I suppose what I am trying to imply and apparently failing at, is that in her naivety and lack of knowledge of the world she probably thought that sleeping with him was ensuring she was marrying him. Similar to a modern situation of the equivalence of a young girl thinking, if I sleep with him that means he loves me.
Lydia would not necessarily have been brought up to know that some men bed women outside of marriage. While 16, she was not 16 in today's standards and still would have been very sheltered.


siriusedward @ gretchen..i agree with you and of course lydia was a silly self absorbed girl..i dont think she would care much even if she had known.. i think..


Sorrel Ame wrote: "I don't think Wickham ever intended to marry Lydia but I think she was infatuated with him and believed he would marry her.....

Another angle about Wickham.... I think he really was into young gir..."

Didn't think of it that way before... Could be, but he could just be exploiting their youth and naivety. If they were older and more responsible they would know better than to go off with him at the risk of their families disgrace. So maybe he was just going for an easy target


Jettcatt I still think Wickham was a little more calculating in his actions, it was more than just his like for young girls. I think he was determined to get his hands on Darcy's money no matter what, knowing that Darcy was a man of honour in learning of Darcy's interest in Elizabeth opened a door to his ultimate gain.


Kristen Callihan Did he really know Darcy was interested in Elizabeth though? I mean he was off in another place, and couldn't have known about anything going on between them... Or am I wrong?


Gretchen Kristen wrote: "Did he really know Darcy was interested in Elizabeth though? I mean he was off in another place, and couldn't have known about anything going on between them... Or am I wrong?"

I agree, I doubt he knew. I mean when he left he and Elizabeth were sorta making eyes at one another. He was just a guy looking for an easy good time. Lydia was probably not the only one he had a good time with during that time away either.


MaryAnn Kempher He took Lydia just for her company and sex. He had to leave, so he might just as well have a companion. He had no intention of marrying her.


MaryAnn Kempher I don't think he had any idea about Darcy's growing attraction to Elizabeth, how could he?

He was just a cad, Lydia would be used for sex. Once he'd grown tired of her, he'd have left her, unmarried and no longer a virgin.


MaryAnn Kempher Agreed. Lydia's company would likely get old quick. Lydia was just a dope and Wickham was little better than a pervert.


Tyshawn Knight I believe that Wickham knew Darcy so well that he knew Darcy would give him some money to save Liz's and her sisters' name. The fact that he was a pervert was just an added bonus. I believe he knew of Darcy's attraction to Liz because he grew up with Darcy, saw them together and knew Darcy's type of woman. Remember the men probably had loads of conversations with each other. Women definitely came up. Plus there was the strong possibility Liz would fall for Darcy. Wickham was an opportunist and a money lover. People like him think everyone is like themselves. He felt Liz was like him and would fall for Darcy's money.

And if he was wrong he'd have the opportunity to deflower another child. So it was a win win situation. The freak!

Ty


message 35: by Katharine (last edited May 24, 2013 10:54PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katharine Wood Tyshawn wrote: "I believe that Wickham knew Darcy so well that he knew Darcy would give him some money to save Liz's and her sisters' name. The fact that he was a pervert was just an added bonus. I believe he kn..."

I don't think the text really supports this. In fact, Wickham never saw Elizabeth and Darcy "together". The closest Wickham ever came to seeing Darcy and Elizabeth together was when Elizabeth and her sisters were walking together in Meryton with the officers and Wickham, and Darcy and Bingley stopped to say hello. No words were exchanged between Darcy and Elizabeth at that time, as he saw Wickham and coldly bowed. At no point during Darcy's sojourn at Netherfield were Wickham and he at the same social function with Elizabeth, nor is their any evidence that they ever met at all beyond that one moment. This is borne out by the fact that Wickham did not attend Mr. Bingley's ball just so he could avoid Darcy.

Furthermore, during all of the conversations Wickham had with Elizabeth about Darcy, it was very clear that Elizabeth strongly disliked Darcy. Even in the last conversation she had with Wickham where she hinted that she thought better of Darcy, she didn't exactly give the impression that she was violently attracted to him.

Finally, even if he somehow guessed at Darcy's attraction to Elizabeth, he couldn't have known that Darcy would step in as he did and pay him nearly £10,000 (equivalent to a year's income for Darcy) to marry Lydia. Because to be frank, the vast majority of men of Darcy's social status back then would certainly not have done such a thing. They would have done as Elizabeth thought Darcy would do; drop all acquaintance with the entire family to avoid any of their disgrace. Note that even though Elizabeth fully believed that was what Darcy was doing when he left so quickly after she received the news of Lydia's "elopement", she did not think badly of him for it. To people at the time, this would have been seen as a perfectly honorable, and even ideal response to finding out about such a scandal in a family of your acquaintance. That's what makes Darcy's actions so remarkable.


Katharine Wood Ame wrote: "I don't think Wickham ever intended to marry Lydia but I think she was infatuated with him and believed he would marry her.....

Another angle about Wickham.... I think he really was into young gir..."


I don't know about this. At the time, girls of 15 and 16 were routinely married, and nobody at the time would have thought of a man wanting to marry or even have sex with a 15 or 16 year old girl as a "pervert". It was a different culture. Even in Sense and Sensibility, Marianne is only 17 when Colonel Brandon begins paying his attentions to her and her own mother remarks that girls of 17 get married to much older men all the time.


message 37: by Akupsch (last edited May 27, 2013 07:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Akupsch I agree with Katharine on this one. We think of 15 and 16 year olds as children, but for this time period it was not unheard or even wrong for a man decades older to marry them. Yes, Lydia was sheltered, but with smart older sisters and questionable friends she knew exactly what she was doing and either did not care or was "dumb" enough to believe Wickham was an "honorable gentleman." I would not be surprised to discover Lydia ran off with Wickham to make Lizzy jealous. Lydia is just selfish enough to try and "one up" Lizzy.


message 38: by Cintia (last edited May 28, 2013 07:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cintia Wickham eloped with Lydia because he needed a quick way to run away from all his debts (monetary, and of honor, remember). And convincing Lydia that he was in love with her wasn't difficult, given that she was in the hunt for the first man she could get; she was the silliest girl in the world and easily fooled, and he immediately saw the advantage. Lydia would take any opportunity to prove she was superior to her sisters (don't forget she said she would be ashamed of being unmarried at 23, her sister Jane's age). She never listened to Lizzy and Jane's warnings about her impertinence, and being the first one of the Bennet girls with a husband made her the best and greatest of the entire world (at her eyes, of course).

If Wickham felt some affection for her, it soon faded, becoming indifference. He wasn't truly in love with her -no one would in a serious way; remember she was Lydia Bennet: only 15,the most selfish, reckless, stupid and stubborn creature in England.


Daniel Paul wrote: "I would call Wickham's plan for he and Lydia "shacking up," not "eloping." He's going to fly off with her for a bit of fun, and then abandon her. He has no intention of marrying her, and only does ..."

That make a LOT of sense. Thanks.


Tyshawn Knight You have all given me something to think about, especially Katherine. I have to change my view. Wickham did not seduce Lydia for the money. Since you all are correct, teen girls could marry back then, I guess we can't even say his a pedophile pervert by today's terms. But, we must all agree that he had no intention of marrying her until Darcy paid him, which to deflower a girl without wanting to marry her was a horrible thing back then even if she had been 27 years old, because no other man would want to marry her or her sisters. Therefore we must all agree as Helena said, Wickham was the epitome of SCOUNDREL!

Here's a question? Since Wickham knew ruining Lydia could ruin her sisters, could he have done this to hurt Liz for rejecting him and could he have wanted more than money when he tried to ruin Darcy's sister? Maybe he wanted to ruin the Darcy family name too?

Ty


Katharine Wood Tyshawn wrote: "You have all given me something to think about, especially Katherine. I have to change my view. Wickham did not seduce Lydia for the money. Since you all are correct, teen girls could marry back..."

I definitely think that revenge on Elizabeth for figuring out that he was no good could've been one of his motives in choosing Lydia to run away with. I'm sure lust for female companionship was his primary motive, but if it were the only one, there's any number of young women he could have chosen. Remember that when his debts were being settled around Meryton, it was found that he'd been involved in more than one seduction. Throughout the novel he seemed to show very little interest in Lydia at all. So his sudden decision to procure her as a sexual partner might have had something to do with his irritation towards Elizabeth. Plus he certainly has a history there. It was only after Darcy denied Wickham further monetary assistance that Wickham tried to elope with Georgiana.


Marina I don't think he was trying to get back at Elizabeth by running off w Lydia. She did make Wickham uncomfortable, but by no means did she make it clear that she knew the truth. After he and Lydia were married he brought up the subject himself unprompted and tried to feed Elizabeth the same line of bs. It was at that time she made it absolutely clear that his tricks were exposed to her at least. Wickham's elopement w Lydia was just demonstrating the depth of his lasciviousness and establish Darcy's true character as the "good guy." Elizabeth needed to feel that guilt in so misjudging the two men to get over her prejudice against Darcy and therefore truly begin to fall in love w him. Wickham took Lydia because she was available and ready tho I also believe she would not have agreed to the elopment wo believing that marriage truly waited at the end.


Christine H-arcé “Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks; but I never had the chance of discovering in that way; and you did not help me!”

This is Tess speaking to her mother in "Tess of the D'Ubervilles". I find the comparison of this quote with Lydia's circumstances very pertinent. Lydia was indeed very foolish, but she was not warned of the dangers of men. Clearly, there was a lack in the education provided by the girls' parents in that aspect, Mrs Bennet never seems to have taken the trouble to explain to her younger daughters how babies are made and how reputations are lost... What's more, contrary to Elizabeth, Lydia does not seem to have been of the reading kind. Thus, she didn't learn of the bad behaviours of some men in books neither.


Cynthia Garza Christine wrote: "“Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks; but I never had the chance of discoveri..."

And to add to what you say: Mary who had a clue, but not many more life facts, appeared dull and tedious to her sisters. So Mary's warnings fall on deaf ears. Just an addition.


Stephen Mitali wrote: "It is clearly stated in the book that Wickham was actually fleeing the regiment, as he had racked up a huge debt he couldn't pay. He decided to let Lydia tag along,.."

I missed this in my reading. This pretty much answers the question for me.


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