Here you will find a Pride and Prejudice summary (Jane Austen's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.
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Rumors about a wealthy bachelor, Charles Bingley, moving into Netherfield Park creates a buzz within the Bennet household, a family with five unmarried daughters. The eldest, Jane, wins Bingley's affections at a local ball, while his friend, Mr. Darcy, comes across as arrogant, particularly towards Elizabeth, the second eldest. Over time, however, Darcy finds himself captivated by Elizabeth's wit and charm. A series of social events, misunderstandings, and a rejected marriage proposal from a foolish clergyman, Mr. Collins, who is set to inherit the Bennet's estate, further complicate the relationships between the characters. As the seasons change, the Bingleys and Darcy leave for London. Jane is heartbroken, Elizabeth's best friend Charlotte marries Mr. Collins, and Elizabeth learns of Darcy's role in discouraging Bingley's affections towards Jane from Wickham, a charming soldier who claims Darcy deprived him of his inheritance. A visit to Charlotte's new home in the spring results in a surprising marriage proposal from Darcy, which Elizabeth rejects, criticizing him for his arrogance and his interference with Jane and Bingley's relationship. A subsequent letter from Darcy explaining his actions prompts Elizabeth to reassess her feelings for him. As summer arrives, Elizabeth learns that her youngest sister Lydia has eloped with Wickham. This scandalous event threatens to ruin the family's reputation until news comes that Wickham has agreed to marry Lydia. The source of this resolution turns out to be Darcy. After Bingley and Jane rekindle their relationship and get engaged, Darcy finally confesses his unchanged feelings for Elizabeth, leading to a second proposal, which she accepts. By the end of the narrative, both Jane and Elizabeth are happily married.
Everyone knows a rich bachelor must need a wife. When Charles Bingley, a rich young man, moves into the nearby Netherfield Park, the local village of Longbourn buzzes with excitement. The Bennet family, with five unwed daughters, is particularly interested. Mrs. Bennet, a silly and talkative woman, wants her daughters to marry well. She pushes her husband to meet the new neighbor, hoping to marry off one of their daughters. Mr. Bennet teases his family by acting uninterested, but eventually meets Mr. Bingley in secret. When the family learns of the meeting, they are thrilled and eager.
Mrs. Bennet and her daughters are curious about Mr. Bingley, who pays them a visit but does not meet the girls. A dinner invitation is extended but he leaves for London, only to return with his sisters, brother-in-law, and friend Darcy to Netherfield Park. They all attend a local Meryton ball where Jane, the eldest Bennet daughter, dances with Bingley twice. Bingley praises Jane's beauty to Darcy and suggests he dance with Elizabeth. Darcy declines, saying Elizabeth is only "tolerable" and he has no interest in women ignored by other men. This earns Darcy dislike from the locals who find Bingley quite pleasant. After the ball, the Bennet ladies return home where Mrs. Bennet shares stories of the night until told to stop by her husband. In their room, Jane expresses her surprise to Elizabeth about Bingley's interest in her, not realizing her own charm. Both agree Bingley's sisters lack manners, but Jane finds them intriguing up close. Elizabeth, however, dislikes them. The story shares Bingley's background - he lives as a tenant despite inheriting a large sum of money from his father. His friendship with Darcy persists despite distinct character differences. Bingley is cheerful and sociable, shows interest in Jane, and enjoys the ball, whereas Darcy, intelligent but less considerate, finds the guests uninteresting and critiques Jane's frequent smiling. Bingley's sisters, however, approve of Jane, reinforcing Bingley's favourable opinion of her.
Sir William Lucas and his family, who reside close to the Bennets, are featured prominently in this section. Elizabeth, the Bennet's second daughter, is particularly close to Charlotte, the eldest Lucas child. Following a ball, the ladies from both families discuss the event, speculating about Mr. Bingley's preference for Jane over Charlotte, despite having danced with the latter first. Elizabeth's dislike for Mr. Darcy is also apparent, as she vows never to dance with the man who is deemed too arrogant, despite his wealth and social standing. The Bennets and Bingley's sisters become more acquainted, with the sisters specifically trying to befriend Elizabeth and Jane. Bingley's growing affection for Jane is evident, leading Elizabeth to suspect that her sister is falling for him, even though she's quite good at hiding it. This observation prompts a conversation between Elizabeth and Charlotte about the importance of knowing one's feelings and the character of a potential spouse prior to marriage. Meanwhile, Darcy is increasingly drawn to Elizabeth and begins to pay more attention to her during social gatherings. His interest surprises Elizabeth. During a gathering at the Lucas residence, Sir William tries to get Elizabeth and Darcy to dance together but is met with rejection from Elizabeth. Darcy later confesses his admiration for Elizabeth to Bingley’s unwed sister.
Mr. Bennet's estate is subject to legal condition known as entailment, implying it can only be passed on to a male heir and not his daughters. To amuse themselves, Kitty and Lydia, the youngest of Bennet daughters, often visit their aunt, Mrs. Phillips, at Meryton and chat about the military men stationed there. An invitation arrives one evening for Jane to spend a day at Netherfield Park. Her mother cunningly arranges for her to travel by horse anticipating rain which would inevitably require Jane to spend the night at Bingley's. As predicted, Jane gets drenched, falls sick and has to stay at Netherfield. Elizabeth, deciding to visit her ailing sister, walks over and arrives with muddy stockings, becoming a subject of ridicule. Regardless, Jane insists Elizabeth stay the night and the Bingleys agree. During Elizabeth's visit, the Bingley sisters mock the Bennets, but Darcy and Bingley come to their defense. However, Darcy admits he wouldn't approve of his sister walking such a distance and acknowledges the Bennets' small fortune and family reputation make them less appealing marriage candidates. Upon Elizabeth's return to the room, the conversation shifts to Darcy's impressive library at Pemberley and his views on the qualities of an "accomplished woman." Elizabeth sarcastically responds that she has never seen such a woman with all the attributes Darcy and Bingley listed, indicating she finds Darcy's standards too high.
Upon Mrs. Bennet's visit to Jane with Lydia and Catherine, she tries persuading Bingley to stay at Netherfield, showcasing her lack of tact by comparing rural life to the city and over-praising Jane's beauty. Lydia, aged fifteen, queries Bingley about having a dance at Netherfield Park, but he says it would only happen after Jane recovers. Later, Elizabeth notices Miss Bingley's excessive flattering of Darcy while he pens a letter to his sister. Their conversation leads to Bingley's reckless behavior, sparking a dispute between Elizabeth and Darcy about the importance of heeding friends' advice. Despite Elizabeth declining to dance with Darcy, his admiration for her grows. Miss Bingley, realizing his interest, mocks Elizabeth’s family the next day and sarcastically suggests that Darcy should associate them with his esteemed lineage out of jealousy. In a final attempt to gain Darcy's attention, Miss Bingley takes up reading, picking a book only because it’s the sequel to Darcy's. However, her lack of interest in literature soon becomes evident. She announces there's no pleasure like reading, whilst also admitting her quick boredom with books, and hopes to have an excellent library in her future home.
Miss Bingley spends her evening trying to captivate Darcy's attention through various activities like reading, criticizing balls, and walking around the room. However, it's only when she invites Elizabeth for a walk does Darcy notice. The women then discuss mocking Darcy's character, to which he replies that his only flaw is his inability to forgive. Elizabeth finds it difficult to mock his 'hatred for everyone.' Miss Bingley, noticing Elizabeth holding Darcy's attention, demands music. The following day, Elizabeth sends a letter to her mother informing their readiness to return home. Mrs. Bennet, wanting Jane to spend more time with Bingley, refuses to send their carriage. Elizabeth, eager to leave, arranges to use Bingley's carriage and they depart Netherfield Park. Darcy, though attracted to Elizabeth, is relieved about their departure due to her unsuitability as a marriage prospect.
Following their return from Netherfield, Mr. Bennet shares with his wife that their relative, Mr. William Collins, is coming to visit. Mr. Collins, chosen to serve wealthy Lady Catherine de Bourgh's parish, is set to inherit the Bennet estate. His letter to the Bennets is marked by a blend of subservience and self-importance, a reflection of his character. Upon arrival, he apologizes for his future ownership of their property, yet seems to enjoy admiring what will soon be his. During a meal, Mr. Collins excessively praises Lady Catherine and her ailing heiress daughter. Asked to entertain the Bennet girls with a reading, he dismisses the idea of a novel and opts for a book of sermons. Lydia's boredom leads to her interrupting with military gossip, which offends Mr. Collins. He quits reading and chooses to play backgammon with Mr. Bennet. Mr. Collins reveals his wish to find a wife and, with a hint that Jane may be soon off the market, he turns his interest towards Elizabeth. Accompanying the sisters to Meryton, they meet Lydia’s friend Mr. Denny and his newly enlisted companion, Mr. Wickham. The women find Wickham delightful, but Elizabeth notices tension between him and the unexpectedly present Darcy and Bingley. After Darcy and Bingley leave, the group visits Mrs. Bennet’s sister, Mrs. Phillips. She invites them, including Mr. Collins, for dinner the next evening and agrees to invite Wickham too. Back at home, Mr. Collins spends the evening complimenting Mrs. Bennet on her sister's refined manners.
At the Phillips's social gathering, Wickham takes the spotlight while Mr. Collins fades away. Wickham confides in Elizabeth about his aspirations to join the church, not the army, but due to lack of funds he couldn't. He blames Darcy for misusing a legal loophole to withhold the financial help that Darcy's father intended for him. Elizabeth, who is naturally drawn to Wickham, believes him instantly. Later, Wickham reveals to her that Darcy is related to the imperious and arrogant Lady Catherine de Bourgh. After the party, Elizabeth's thoughts are consumed with Wickham's revelations and she forms a deep resentment for Darcy. The next day, Elizabeth shares her newfound dislike for Darcy with Jane. Jane defends Darcy, suggesting a probable misunderstanding between Wickham and Darcy. However, Elizabeth is adamant in her perception. Excited about the upcoming neighborhood ball hosted by Bingley, she anticipates seeing Wickham. But she is disappointed when she has to commit the first two dances to Mr. Collins.
Elizabeth is disappointed when Wickham doesn't show up at the ball due to Darcy's presence. This is made worse by her awkward dances with Mr. Collins and later Darcy, who avoids any talk about Wickham. After their dance, Miss Bingley tells Elizabeth not to trust Wickham, but Elizabeth thinks she's just being mean and disregards it. Jane reveals she's asked Bingley about Wickham, but Elizabeth doubts the information as it's based on Darcy's views. Mr. Collins discovers his connection to Darcy through Lady Catherine, his patroness, and introduces himself despite Elizabeth's urging against it. Darcy shows disdain for Mr. Collins, who doesn't notice due to his lack of insight. Later, Mrs. Bennet loudly talks about Jane and Bingley's potential marriage at dinner, even after Elizabeth points out Darcy's hearing. Ignoring Elizabeth, Mrs. Bennet continues to speak about the expected wedding. The dinner ends with a horrendous song by Mary and an overly exaggerated speech by Mr. Collins, making Elizabeth feel her family has made a fool of themselves.
Mr. Collins, expecting delight, proposes to Elizabeth. When she politely declines, he's convinced she'll soon reconsider. Mrs. Bennet, seeing potential benefits in the match, is livid. She threatens Elizabeth with disownment if she refuses Mr. Collins and asks Mr. Bennet to force their daughter's hand. Instead, he humorously warns Elizabeth that if she marries Mr. Collins, she'll lose his company instead. Days later, Elizabeth crosses paths with Wickham in Meryton. Apologizing for missing the ball, he escorts her home and meets her parents. On the same day, Jane receives a letter from Miss Bingley. The letter suggests that Bingley, along with his party, are leaving for the city indefinitely, with hints of a possible engagement to Darcy's sister, Georgiana. Elizabeth consoles Jane, assuring her that Bingley's departure is Miss Bingley's doing, not his own, and he will return.
Out of the blue, it is announced that Mr. Collins is engaged to Charlotte Lucas. This surprises Elizabeth, even though Charlotte maintains that it's the optimal alliance for her. Mrs. Bennet is livid with Elizabeth for missing out on a potential spouse. As time passes and no news is heard from Bingley, Jane's prospects of getting married also seem to shrink.
Miss Bingley's recent letter extols Darcy's sister's elegance and also mentions Bingley's decision to stay in London through winter, squashing the Bennets’ hopes of his return to Netherfield. Elizabeth expresses her disappointment over Bingley's seeming abandonment of Jane and Charlotte Lucas's acceptance of Mr. Collins's proposal. Mrs. Bennet’s aspirations of marrying off her daughters dwindle. Contrarily, Mr. Bennet, with a touch of humor, pushes Elizabeth towards Wickham, hinting at a possible romantic entanglement, mirroring Jane's predicament. Mrs. Bennet's brother, Mr. Gardiner, pays a visit. Noticing Jane's melancholy, the Gardiners extend an invitation for Jane to join them back to London post their stay. A delighted Jane views this as an opportunity to meet Mr. Bingley. During their get-togethers with different friends and army officers, Mrs. Gardiner observes an evident bond between Elizabeth and Wickham, albeit not a deeply romantic one. However, Wickham's financial instability makes Mrs. Gardiner skeptical about him as a potential match for Elizabeth. Nonetheless, she enjoys Wickham's tales about his experiences around Darcy's Pemberley estate, close to her childhood home.
Mrs. Gardiner cautions Elizabeth about Wickham's financial instability, suggesting it would be unwise and potentially disgraceful to her father to form an attachment to him. Elizabeth responds thoughtfully, assuring her aunt that she won't encourage Wickham's affection and she has no intention of disappointing her father. She accepts that she can only do so much. After Jane and the Gardiners leave for London, and Mr. Collins returns from his parish for his upcoming wedding, Elizabeth grudgingly agrees to visit Charlotte post-wedding. Jane's letters from London describe a visit to Miss Bingley, who treated her distantly and only reciprocated the visit briefly. Jane feels that Miss Bingley sees her as a hindrance to Georgiana Darcy's potential marriage to her brother. In correspondence with Mrs. Gardiner, Elizabeth shares that Wickham has moved on to Miss King, a newly wealthy heiress. Elizabeth is not deeply affected by this development and is content to believe that she would have been his only choice, had his circumstances allowed it. The narrator highlights the contradiction between Elizabeth's acceptance of Wickham's motives and her earlier contempt for Charlotte's similar actions. However, the minimal hurt caused by Wickham's shifted interests leads Elizabeth to conclude that she was never truly in love with him.
Elizabeth embarks on a journey with Sir William Lucas in March, aiming to visit her friend Charlotte, who's now married to Mr. Collins. En route, they stop in London for a night, where they meet Jane and the Gardiners. During this stay, Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth converse about Wickham's efforts to charm Miss King. Mrs. Gardiner disapproves of Wickham, labeling him as a "gold digger," but Elizabeth stands up for him, calling him practical. Before leaving London, the Gardiners propose that Elizabeth joins them on a trip, possibly to the lakes, to which she joyously agrees. Upon reaching Hunsford, where Mr. Collins' parish is located, both he and Charlotte welcome Elizabeth warmly. On her second day there, Elizabeth catches a glimpse of Miss de Bourgh, Lady de Bourgh's daughter, from a window. She finds the girl to be unhealthy and grumpy, and derives some pleasure imagining Darcy marrying such an unattractive person. They receive an invitation to dine at Rosings, the grand mansion of the de Bourghs, which leaves even Sir William Lucas in awe. During the dinner, Lady Catherine monopolizes the conversation. Post-dinner, she scrutinizes Elizabeth's upbringing, concluding that the Bennet sisters were not raised well. She criticizes Mrs. Bennet for not employing a governess, the sisters' lack of musical and artistic skills, and even calls out Elizabeth for her audacity, all in one evening.
After a week, Sir William leaves, pleased with his daughter's happiness. Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, soon arrive at Rosings to see their aunt. They return with Mr. Collins from his courtesy visit and briefly interact with Elizabeth and Charlotte. Elizabeth gets more attention from Colonel Fitzwilliam at another Rosings dinner. After dinner, as she plays the piano, she teases Darcy about his rudeness at the Meryton dance, where he snubbed her. Lady Catherine instructs Elizabeth on how to play the piano correctly, making Elizabeth stay at the instrument until the night's conclusion. Darcy visits the next day, hinting that Bingley might not spend much time at Netherfield Park anymore. Their chat is uncomfortable, leading Charlotte to deduce, after Darcy's peculiar visit, that he could be in love with Elizabeth. In the following days, both Darcy and his cousin visit often, causing Charlotte to reconsider and suspect that it might be Colonel Fitzwilliam who has feelings for Elizabeth.
"Allow me to express my deep admiration and love for you." Elizabeth often crosses paths with Darcy and his cousin during her countryside strolls. In one chat, Colonel Fitzwilliam casually mentions Darcy's recent intervention that saved a friend from a reckless marriage. Elizabeth suspects that Bingley was the "friend" and his potential marriage to Jane was deemed "reckless." She views Darcy as the cause of her sister's distress. Left alone in the parsonage, Elizabeth is contemplating Fitzwilliam's words when Darcy bursts in, professing his love for her. His marriage proposal is laced with references to her lower social standing, prompting Elizabeth's polite refusal to escalate into a heated confrontation. She confronts him about his involvement in Jane and Bingley's failed relationship; Darcy confesses. She then echoes Wickham’s claims, labels Darcy as arrogant and self-centred, and asserts that marrying him is absolutely out of the question. A stern-faced Darcy takes his leave.
Elizabeth encounters Darcy during a walk and he hands her a letter before swiftly leaving. She begins to read his letter which admits his interference in Jane and Bingley's relationship. He justifies this by questioning the intensity of Jane's feelings and expressing concern about the Bennet family's social standing and lack of wealth. Regarding Wickham, Darcy's letter reveals that he had financially supported him after his father's demise. The animosity between them arose from Wickham's failed attempt to elope with Darcy's sister, Georgiana, for monetary gain. The revelations in Darcy's letter leave Elizabeth shocked. Even though she doubts his explanation about Jane and Bingley, his revelations about Wickham lead her to rethink her trust in him. Consequently, her feelings for Darcy start to waver.
Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam bid their goodbyes to Rosings. Elizabeth exits the parsonage a week after, despite Lady Catherine’s urging her to stay for an additional fortnight. Mr. Collins tells Elizabeth before she leaves, that he and Charlotte seem to be a perfect match - a notion that is not quite accurate. He wishes Elizabeth similar joy in marriage as he has experienced. Elizabeth, after a brief halt at her aunt and uncle Gardiners' London home, along with Jane, goes back home. They are greeted by Catherine and Lydia, who chatter excitedly about the soldiers throughout the journey home in their father’s coach. The regiment is due to move to Brighton for the summer, and the two young girls aspire to persuade their parents to spend the summer there as well. Lydia, with a hint of satisfaction, mentions that Wickham is no longer pursuing Miss King, who has relocated to Liverpool to reside with her uncle. Upon their arrival home, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet greet their daughters warmly, and the Lucas family joins them for dinner. Lydia chatters away about the thrilling coach journey and insists that they visit Meryton to meet the officers. Elizabeth, not desiring to encounter Wickham, declines.
Elizabeth reveals Wickham's true character to Jane, and they decide not to make this public knowledge. In the meantime, Mrs. Bennet persistently laments Jane's missed chance with Mr. Bingley and also expresses dissatisfaction over Charlotte and Mr. Collins' joyful marriage. When Colonel Forster's wife invites Lydia to Brighton for the summer, Mr. Bennet gives his approval, trusting the colonel to supervise her. Before Wickham's military unit leaves, Elizabeth encounters him one last time. They have a cautious conversation about Darcy, with her carefully avoiding any mention of her recent findings. The soldiers' departure from Meryton for Brighton leaves Kitty grief-stricken, especially since Lydia is permitted to accompany them. By July, Elizabeth ends up touring Derbyshire's scenic landscape with the Gardiners, bringing them near Darcy’s Pemberley estate. On hearing that Darcy is not around, she agrees to explore his estate.
While visiting the grand Pemberley estate with the Gardiners, Elizabeth can't help but envision herself as the lady of the house, married to Mr. Darcy. The housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, shows them pictures of Darcy and Wickham, painting Darcy in a favorable light, which leaves Elizabeth surprised, as she views him as highly conceited. In the midst of exploring the estate, Darcy himself appears. He accompanies them, displaying unexpected politeness. Elizabeth, feeling awkward about visiting Pemberley after the recent incidents, hastens to tell Darcy that she believed he was away. Darcy informs her that he has just come back to ready his house for guests, which include the Bingleys and his sister, Georgiana. He invites Elizabeth to meet his sister, to which she agrees. After his departure, the Gardiners remark on his impressive appearance and manners, which contradicts Elizabeth's previous description of him.
Darcy and his sister Georgiana, a timid beauty, along with Bingley, pay a visit to Elizabeth at her inn. Post their short meeting, they extend an invitation to Elizabeth and the Gardiners, who have observed Darcy's affection for their niece, for a meal at Pemberley. The subsequent day sees Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner visiting Pemberley to meet Miss Darcy. When Darcy walks in, Miss Bingley tries to stir up trouble by reminding Elizabeth of the militia's departure from Meryton, which she assumes is a blow to her family. Elizabeth, however, tactfully avoids any discussion on Wickham, a tactful move considering Georgiana's history with him. Following the visitors' departure, despite Miss Bingley's attempts to denigrate Elizabeth and casually reminding Darcy of his previous opinion of her as 'rather pretty', Darcy responds that he now thinks of Elizabeth as one of the most attractive women he knows.
Upon reaching her lodging, Elizabeth discovers two notes from Jane. The first reveals Lydia's elopement with Wickham, and the second suggests they may not be wed yet. Elizabeth is thrown into a panic, understanding the devastating impact on Lydia and their family's reputation if Wickham chooses not to marry Lydia. Elizabeth urgently seeks the Gardiners when Darcy shows up. She shares the distressing news with him. Darcy instantly blames himself for not revealing Wickham's true colors sooner, and Elizabeth feels the same guilt. She makes up her mind to go home at once. After expressing regret to Darcy and his sister for not being able to attend their dinner, Elizabeth, accompanied by the Gardiners, swiftly return to their residence in Longbourn.
Heading back, Mr. Gardiner tries to comfort his niece, assuring her that Wickham will likely marry Lydia to protect his own status. Elizabeth responds by vaguely discussing Wickham's previous conduct, carefully omitting his affair with Darcy's sister. Once home, Elizabeth discovers that her father has departed for London to find Lydia and Wickham. Mrs. Bennet is clearly distressed, putting the blame on Colonel Forster for not looking after her daughter. Privately, Jane consoles Elizabeth, expressing that no one could've predicted Lydia's attraction to Wickham. Anxiously, they go through Lydia's note left for Colonel Forster's wife, where she excitedly anticipates signing her name as "Lydia Wickham."
Days pass with Mr. Gardiner joining Mr. Bennet's fruitless search for the pair in London. Mr. Bennet extends his search to all possible hotels. Amidst this, a scathing letter from Mr. Collins arrives, blaming the Bennets for Lydia's scandalous conduct, stating it reflects badly on them all. As more time slips by, Mr. Gardiner sends word that all efforts to track Wickham through his contacts have proven futile. To Mrs. Bennet's dismay, the message also reveals that Mr. Bennet is planning to return home.
A couple of days following Mr. Bennet's arrival back in Longbourn, he gets a letter from Mr. Gardiner stating that Wickham and Lydia have been located. Wickham is willing to wed Lydia, provided he receives an assured small income from the Bennets. Mr. Bennet agrees readily, concluding that being wed to a villain is a lesser evil compared to a tarnished reputation. The Bennet family believes that the Gardiners must have given Wickham a hefty sum to convince him for marriage. Mr. Bennet estimates it to be no less than ten thousand pounds, thinking that they now owe their family members a significant favor. Mrs. Bennet rejoices at Lydia's impending marriage, disregarding the cost brought up by her husband and daughters. But her joy is subdued when Mr. Bennet denies Wickham and Lydia the permission to visit, and rejects giving his newlywed daughter money for new clothes.
Elizabeth, despite the scandalous actions of Lydia and the unwelcome addition of Wickham into their family, finds herself reconsidering her feelings for Darcy. If he were to propose again, she may now be open to accepting him. However, she comprehends that any such proposal is highly doubtful, given the circumstances. Mr. Gardiner communicates to Mr. Bennet regarding Wickham's acceptance of a position in the North of England. Lydia, now married, requests to visit her family prior to her move. Despite initial resistance, the Bennets concede to a short visit. The stay proves challenging due to Lydia's lack of remorse and Wickham's denial of wrongdoing. One morning, Lydia casually mentions Darcy's presence at her wedding, a revelation that leaves Elizabeth astonished. She promptly seeks further information from Mrs. Gardiner through a letter.
Elizabeth learns from Mrs. Gardiner that Darcy was the one to locate Lydia and Wickham, and also supplied the funds that made their wedding possible. Mrs. Gardiner implies that Darcy's actions were motivated by his affection for Elizabeth. This revelation leaves Elizabeth shocked and unsure of her feelings. When Lydia and Wickham leave for their new residence in the North, word comes that Bingley is coming back to Netherfield Park for a short stay. Despite the family's wishes, Mr. Bennet declines to pay him a visit. Nonetheless, three days following his return to Netherfield, Bingley, along with Darcy, visits the Bennet household. Mrs. Bennet, oblivious to Darcy's role in Lydia's wedding, showers Bingley with attention while being curt with Darcy. Before they leave, the two gentlemen assure the family they'll soon return for dinner at Longbourn.
Darcy and Bingley join the dinner, with Bingley spending much time next to Jane. Darcy, however, seats himself far away from Elizabeth, making it clear they won't be engaging in any conversation. Elizabeth comes to terms with the fact that Darcy won't propose to her again after her initial rejection. A few days later, Bingley drops by the Bennet's and gets invited to dine by Mrs. Bennet. Although he has prior commitments, he eagerly confirms his attendance for the next day. Arriving early in the morning, before the ladies are ready, he spends the day but doesn't propose to Jane. The day after, he goes shooting with Mr. Bennet and stays for dinner. He finds an opportunity to be alone with Jane and reveals his intention to ask Mr. Bennet for her hand in marriage. Mr. Bennet gladly consents and Jane, overjoyed, confides in Elizabeth about her happiness. With the engagement confirmed, Bingley starts visiting more often. Jane discovers that he wasn't aware of her presence in London during winter, implying his sisters' effort to keep him away from her. Nonetheless, the local community agrees that the Bennets are quite lucky with their daughter's impending marriage.
Seven days post Jane's engagement to Bingley, Lady Catherine de Bourgh drops by the Bennet's household. She seeks out Elizabeth, insisting on an outdoor discussion. During their chat, Lady Catherine reveals a speculation about Darcy's intention to wed Elizabeth, a notion she deems preposterous due to Elizabeth's modest rank and Darcy's implied commitment to her own daughter. Elizabeth hides her astonishment well and remains unflustered throughout the confrontation. She admits to not being engaged to Darcy but resolutely refuses to pledge never to do so, despite Lady Catherine's insistence. The matriarch believes Elizabeth is morally obligated to heed her words due to 'duty, honour, and gratitude'. Reigniting an old argument, she states that the Bennet's humbler associations would disgrace Darcy, making him a contemptible figure in society's eyes. Elizabeth stands up for her lineage, asserting her position as a gentleman's daughter. She emphasizes her autonomy from the oppressive control that figures like Mr. Collins, Miss Bingley, and Lady Catherine attempt to impose on those lower in the social hierarchy. Making her stand clear, she expresses determination to act in a way that ensures her happiness, irrespective of the opinions of those unconnected with her. A livid and thwarted Lady Catherine departs, and Elizabeth chooses to keep their discourse a secret.
"My emotions and desires remain the same, but one word from you will forever stop me from discussing this topic." Not long after, Mr. Bennet receives a letter from Mr. Collins hinting that Darcy and Elizabeth will soon be engaged. Reading it to Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet laughs off the notion of her marrying Darcy, a man he believes to be overly critical and seemingly uninterested in Elizabeth. After Lady Catherine’s visit, Darcy returns to Netherfield to stay with his friend Bingley. During a group walk with the Bennets, Elizabeth and Darcy fall behind. Once alone, Elizabeth expresses her gratitude for Darcy’s help in preserving Lydia's reputation. Darcy admits he did it because of Lydia's relationship to Elizabeth and reaffirms his unchanged love for Elizabeth. In return, Elizabeth reveals her feelings towards him have shifted now and she is ready to become his wife.
Elizabeth reveals to Jane that night about Darcy's marriage proposal. Jane is taken aback, unsure if Elizabeth genuinely loves Darcy. Elizabeth assures her that she does. The next day, Elizabeth and Darcy stroll together, leading Darcy to seek Mr. Bennet's approval for their union later that evening. Just like Jane, Mr. Bennet requires confirmation from Elizabeth about her feelings for Darcy. Once convinced, Elizabeth shares with him about Darcy's settlement of Wickham's debts. Upon hearing news of her daughter's betrothal, Mrs. Bennet is initially stunned, only to explode into tears of joy shortly after. Elizabeth and Darcy reflect on the evolution of their relationship. Darcy pens a letter to Lady Catherine announcing his engagement, and Mr. Bennet does the same to Mr. Collins. Both the Collinses and the Lucases, along with Mrs. Phillips, visit Longbourn to congratulate the engaged pair, giving Lady Catherine a wide berth.
Once wedded, Bingley secures a property near Pemberley, promoting regular visits between the Bennet sisters. Kitty improves considerably, largely attributed to her time spent with her older sisters and distance from Lydia's negative influence. Lydia and Wickham, on the other hand, remain unchanged, constantly begging Darcy for financial aid and annoying Bingley with their excessive visits. Elizabeth forms a strong bond with Georgiana and even manages to establish a decent relationship with Miss Bingley. Lady Catherine is slowly persuaded into accepting the marriage and even graces Pemberley with her presence. The Gardiners remain cherished friends of Darcy and Elizabeth, who attribute their union to their initial visit to Pemberley arranged by the couple.