Right, so, after the shit hits the fan with the Bingleys, a few weeks later it's Christmas, right? The Gardiners come up from London for the holidays. Jane is feeling blue and Elizabeth and Mrs Gardiner decide that she should go stay with them in town for a while. So after Christmas they take her back to London with them. Then nothing much happens in January and February, but in March, Lizzie's going with William and Maria Lucas to visit Charlotte. On the way they spend one day and night in London, and of course they stay the night in Gracechurch Street. The Gardiner kids are excited about the guests arriving, especially Lizzie because she's such a favorite. But they're still a little shy with her at first, because, and this is what I think I must have misheard, they haven't seen her for like a year. WTF?
Is Austen really saying that Mr and Mrs Gardiner went off at Christmas to spend the holidays with their favorite relatives and have fun in the countryside, and left their children at home?
I always read them as really good parents, but now I have to reconsider. o_O