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Summary Chapter 21

Mrs. Bennet is cross with Elizabeth for ruining things with Mr. Collins. He is stiff with angry pride, though he never says anything. Miss Lucas becomes the object of his attentions, much to everyone’s relief. Despite his disappointment, he does not plan to leave Longbourn earlier than planned.

The girls visit their aunt in Meryton and see Mr. Wickham, who tells Elizabeth he avoided the Netherfield ball, fearing it would cause a problem between him and Mr. Darcy. He returns to Elizabeth’s home to meet her parents.

Jane receives a letter from Caroline Bingley which concerns her. Miss Bingley informs her that they have quit Netherfield and are not likely to come back. She regrets they will not be able to continue their acquaintance, but hopes to receive many letters from Miss Bennet. They plan to visit Mr. Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, who is very lovely and accomplished. Miss Bingley expects that her brother will marry her.

Elizabeth believes that Caroline Bingley is deliberately interfering with Mr. Bingley getting with her sister. She doesn’t doubt Mr. Bingley prefers Jane. However, she believes that the Bennets are not rich enough or have the type of status Caroline Bingley wants her brother to marry into. Plus, his marriage to Georgianna Darcy would make it easier for her to marry Mr. Darcy.

Jane doesn’t believe Caroline Bingley is that malicious and thinks the woman is trying to warn her. However, Jane realizes that Miss Bingley doesn’t seem to wish her to marry her brother. She wouldn’t want to accept a man whose relations and friends would oppose the marriage. Elizabeth consoles Jane, making her believe that Mr. Bingley will return to Netherfield—for he is his own man—and he will then marry her.

The girls only tell their mother that the Bingleys have left Netherfield for the time being. While Miss Bennet is distressed to hear this, she believes they will come back.

Jane Austen