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An intelligent, caring and sensible woman, Mrs. Gardiner acts a mother to Elizabeth and Jane, filling in for the inadequacy of Mrs. Bennet. She brings Jane to London with her in order to help cheer her up when she is heartbroken because of Bingley's failure to return to Netherfield, and she advises Elizabeth to avoid encouraging Wickham's affections. She attempts to help Lydia see why her elopement with Wickham was wrong, but Lydia is completely inattentive.
Mr. Gardiner is a merchant, and is an upright and intelligent man. The fact that he earns his money by working puts him in a lower social class than those who simply live off the interest of their land. Like his wife, Mr. Gardiner is one of those people whom Austen portrays as a natural aristocrat, and whom Darcy comes to like after overcoming his class prejudice.