Mr. Collins must return to his home in Hertfordshire, but he hopes to prepare it for the arrival of his bride.
As usual, Mrs. Bennet’s brother, Mr. Gardiner, and his wife spend Christmas with her family. Mr. Gardiner would be approved of by the Netherfield crowd, for he is surprisingly well bred for a trader and not at all like his sister. Mrs. Gardiner is very elegant and favored by all her nieces, particularly Elizabeth and Jane.
Mrs. Bennet complains of her disappointment in getting both daughters married. She doesn’t blame Jane for her failure, but she blames Elizabeth’s perversity for messing up her chances. She considers the Lucases devious and out for themselves.
Mrs. Gardiner finds it common for men to be inconsistent. They fall easily in and out of love.
Elizabeth tells her that Mr. Bingley seemed to think the world of Jane. At social events, he would ignore everyone else in favor of her—causing some miffed feelings from other girls.
Mrs. Gardiner is sorry for Jane and worries that she won’t recover quickly. She invites the girls back to her home, thinking a change of scenery will do Jane some good. As they live in London, it may not be impossible for Mr. Bingley to visit if he chooses. Jane hopes that his sister might. Elizabeth doubts Mr. Darcy will allow Mr. Bingley to visit.
Mrs. Gardiner is unasy by Elizabeth’s attachment to Mr. Wickham and plans to advise her about it. However, she does enjoy discussing mutual acquaintances they have.