Caroline Bingley’s letter arrives, dashing their hopes entirely. She informs Jane that they have settled in London for the winter. Her brother sends his regrets that he couldn’t visit the Bennet family before departing. Miss Darcy is praised, as well as Mr. Darcy’s home—in which Mr. Bingley is currently a guest in.
Elizabeth is angry. She still believes that Mr. Bingley favored Jane, but that he lacks strength in being able to overcome the influence of his family and friends. Elizabeth resents how he has hurt Jane.
Jane takes comfort in the thought that she will forget him. Elizabeth thinks Jane is too forgiving. She herself is usually disappointed in people. Her friend Charlotte is an excellent example. Jane warns her that being so judgmental can only make her unhappy. Elizabeth doesn’t consider that people are different in temperaments. There is no saying that Charlotte can’t be happy with Mr. Collins. Elizabeth refuses to believe this.
Jane doesn’t believe that Mr. Bingley intentionally meant to hurt her. Often it is people’s vanity that causes them to feel hurt. Neither does she believe, like Elizabeth does, that Mr. Bingley’s sisters and Mr. Darcy were plotting to remove Mr. Bingley from Jane’s company. She believes they would be concerned for Mr. Bingley’s happiness.
Elizabeth personally thinks they care more about Mr. Bingley marrying into wealth, status, and connections. His happiness would not be their priority.
Jane doesn’t doubt they probably would prefer him to marry Miss Darcy. She is an old acquaintance of theirs. However, she doesn’t believe they would have objected if he had chosen Jane—and she doesn’t believe he would let them interfere. The only conclusion Jane comes to is that she was mistaken in his regard for her. She begs Elizabeth not to distress her with her bleak outlook of the situation, and Elizabeth agrees.
Mrs. Bennet refuses to believe that Mr. Bingley will not return. She holds out hope that he will come back in the summer. Mr. Bennet thinks it is a good thing for a young lady to be disappointed in love. He recommends that Elizabeth choose Mr. Wickham so she can have her heart broken.
Mr. Wickham does visit them often. Mr. Darcy becomes more unpopular with his accounts of him. Only Jane continues to defend Mr. Darcy, saying they only know one side of the story.