Elizabeth looks for Mr. Wickham at Netherfield but doesn’t see him. It didn’t occur to her he wouldn’t come. She had taken more care with her appearance, hoping to win his heart.
Lydia learns from Mr. Denny that Wickham was away on business, though he suspects that Wickham wished to avoid Mr. Darcy. Disappointed, Elizabeth finds it difficult to be civil to Mr. Darcy or to Mr. Bingley. Mr Bingley’s indifference provokes her.
Elizabeth recovers her humor and seeks out Charlotte. Her dances with Mr. Colliins are awkward and embarrassing, and she is glad when they are over. Her next dance partner is an officer who tells her that Wickham is generally well liked.
Mr. Darcy comes up to her for a dance. Charlotte encourages her to be amiable to him, for he is better than Mr. Wickham. Mr. Darcy doesn’t talk much. Elizabeth can’t help but notice they have quite a bit in common as far as personality traits.
Elizabeth mentions making a new friend, and Mr. Darcy becomes more guarded. He says Wickham is very charming and makes friends easily. It is more difficult for him to keep them. Elizabeth mentions that he will suffer all his life from losing Darcy as a friend.
William Lucas interrupts to speak with them. Darcy claims he has forgotten what they were talking about. Elizabeth comments they have difficulty with making conversation. Darcy asks about books, but Elizabeth can’t concentrate on that topic during a ball.
Elizabeth asks Mr. Darcy, as he is someone who doesn’t forgive easily, whether is he careful in making accurate judgments of others. He asks why she asks. She says she is confused by everything she hears about him. Mr. Darcy asks her to hold off on judgment. He goes away really attracted to her and angry at Wickham.
Miss Bingley comes up to her later and tells her about Lydia’s interest in Mr. Wickham. She advises Elizabeth not to believe Wickham’s account of Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy was kind to George Wickham, who abused that kindness. Elizabeth believes Miss Bingley is prejudiced towards Mr. Wickham because he is the son of a steward.
Elizabeth asks Jane what she has learned. Jane says Mr. Bingley is ignorant of the incident but vouches for Mr. Darcy’s character. He believes Wickham’s treatment was deserved because he isn't respectable.
Elizabeth doesn’t trust this because Mr. Bingley doesn’t know Mr. Wickham. Jane says the will had conditions for the inheritance.
Mr. Collins is excited to learn that Mr. Darcy is the nephew of Catherine de Bourgh. He wants to introduce himself. Elizabeth tries to dissuade him, certain Mr. Darcy will take offense. Mr. Collins doesn’t listen to her, feeling his position and education make him wiser.
Mr. Darcy is civil though contemptuous of Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins, though, is pleased by the meeting.
Mrs. Bennet is happily discussing Jane’s marriage to Mr. Bingley with Lady Lucas. She hopes this will provide more eligible men for the other daughters. She is rather smug in believing Lady Lucas will not be as fortunate. Elizabeth warns her to be careful what she says, particularly as she is being overheard by Mr. Darcy. Mrs. Bennet doesn't care what Mr. Darcy thinks.
Elizabeth is mortified when Mary agrees to sing for the company. Mr. Bennet stops her after the second song. Elizabeth is embarrassed for her relatives, who are putting themselves on display and opening themselves to the contempt and scorn of Mr. Bingley’s sisters and Mr. Dracy.
Mr. Collins follows Elizabeth around the rest of the night. Elizabeth tries to introduce him to other people, but he remains glued to her. Charlotte joins them and makes conversations with him.
The Bennet family is the last to leave, much to the chagrin of Mr. Bingley’s sisters.
Mrs. Bennet invites Mr. Bingley to dinner, which he gladly accepts. Mrs. Bennet leaves, convinced that Jane is destined to be mistress of Netherfield.