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In the privacy of their room, Jane confesses to Elizabeth how much she admires Bingley and likes his sisters. Elizabeth teases her about Bingley but says nothing about his sisters-even though she finds them haughty, conceited, and insincere. This is the first time that we see Elizabeth holding back some knowledge or observation from Jane; it won't be the last. Elizabeth may laugh at Jane sometimes, or tease her into laughing at herself when she becomes too serious, but she is also careful to protect Jane from anything that will hurt her gentle sister's feelings.
The scene at Longbourn is mirrored in one at Netherfield, where Bingley and Darcy also rehash the ball and where opinions also differ. To Bingley, everyone at the party was delightful and Miss Jane Bennet in particular is an angel, while to Darcy it was a company that had no fashion and little beauty. He admits that Miss Bennet is pretty, but in his opinion she smiles too much. Bingley's sisters tell him she is a sweet girl.
NOTE: The original title of Pride and Prejudice was "First Impressions." As you read the novel, decide how accurate the characters' first impressions of each other were-and watch how their attitudes change.
The Lucases come to visit the Bennets, and of course the subject of discussion is the ball. In this small, self-contained society, it is inevitable that such an event become the top subject of conversation. All the local gentry were there, and every word that was spoken, every move that was made, were noted and will be commented on.
Mrs. Bennet energetically voices her dislike of Darcy. Charlotte Lucas suggests that with family, fortune-everything-in his favor, Darcy has a right to be proud. Elizabeth replies laughingly that she could forgive his pride if he had not offended hers.
NOTE: This scene gives us our first indication of how different Charlotte and Elizabeth are. Charlotte is sensible and realistic, willing to accept things and people as they are. Elizabeth, for all her jokes, is very idealistic. She has high expectations about life and strict standards of how people should treat each other.