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Summary Chapter 11

Jane comes down after dinner. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley become very pleasant until the gentlemen enter. Miss Bingley seizes upon Mr. Darcy to have a private word. Mr. Bingley fusses over Jane and focuses his attention wholly on her.

Mr. Hurst wants to play cards, but Miss Bingley refuses, knowing Mr. Darcy doesn’t want to play them. Mr. Hurst falls asleep on the sofa. Mr. Darcy and Miss Bingley read. Mrs. Hurst joins the conversation with Mr. Bingley and Jane.

Miss Bingley is obsessed in watching Mr. Darcy read his book. She occasionally asks him questions. He’ll answer the question but won’t be drawn into conversation. She overhears Mr. Bingley discussing the ball with Jane, and she tells him he should ask them before planning it. Some are not enthused with the idea. Mr. Bingley is determined to have it. He says Darcy doesn’t have to attend. He’ll send invitations as soon as there is enough food prepared.

Miss Bingley wishes conversation was how people chose to meet rather than dancing. Mr. Bingley points out it wouldn’t be a ball then.

Miss Bingley walks around the room. When Mr. Darcy fails to look, she invites a surprised Elizabeth to walk with her. Elizabeth does. Mr. Darcy stares at them but declines their invitation to join, for he suspects that it is their motive to induce him to join them.

Miss Bingley asks Elizabeth if she understands Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth says no. She knows he wants to be rude to them and suggests ignoring him. Miss Bingley demands an explanation from him. He explains he supposes they have one of two reasons for choosing to walk around the room. Either they wish to share secrets, and he’d be in the way—or they know how flattering they look when walking—and he would rather admire them sitting down, where he has the best view.

Miss Bingley is shocked and proposes that he should be punished. Elizabeth suggests making fun of him. Miss Bingley doesn’t believe that would be successful, and he would gloat at making them behave in such a way.

Elizabeth comments that the follies and flaws of other people amuse her. Mr. Darcy says he tries his best not to expose any weaknesses in fear of being ridiculed. However, he admits he has his faults. He has a bad temper. He can’t forget the mistakes of others or their offenses. He is not one to be moved by emotion. He is resentful. His good opinion is lost forever if it is lost.

Elizabeth says he has chosen a good defect to have. It isn’t laughable. He says every nature has a bad quality that one can’t overcome. He observes that Elizabeth’s defect is to purposely misunderstand people.

Miss Bingley interrupts to suggest some music. Mr. Darcy becomes aware that there is a problem in showing attention to Elizabeth.

Jane Austen