Jane is shocked by what Elizabeth tells her about Mr. Darcy. It is her nature to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, Mr. Wickham’s account seems to leave no doubt that Mr. Darcy is intentionally unkind. However, Jane still thinks it is possible there has been a misunderstanding. She can’t believe Mr. Bingley could be so fooled by his friend. Elizabeth is more willing to believe that Mr. Bingley is a fool than doubt Mr. Wickham’s account.
Mr. Bingley invites them to a ball at Netherfield. His sisters talk to Jane and basically ignore the rest of the family. However, everyone is happy about the ball. Jane wants to spend time with Mr. Bingley and his sisters. Elizabeth wishes to dance with Mr. Wickham, and she wants to be able to confirm that Mr. Darcy is the man Wickham says he is.
Mr. Collins also plans to accept the invitation. In fact, he claims the first two dances with Elizabeth, which she regrets but accepts. She also realizes that Mr. Collins wishes to make her his wife, though he hasn’t proposed. Her mother tells her she approves of their union. Elizabeth realizes a quarrel is inevitable if Mr. Collins does ask for her hand.
The prospect of the ball cheers the Bennet girls, though rain interferes with their plans for the rest of the week.