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Sir William Lucas comes to the Bennets' house to announce his daughter's engagement. Mrs. Bennet cannot forgive Elizabeth for losing a husband, but Mr. Bennet is delighted. Lady Lucas can hardly hide her joy at having her plain daughter well married before any of the pretty Bennet girls.
Mr. Collins writes a self-congratulatory letter to Mr. Bennet, reinviting himself for another visit so that he can be close to Charlotte. Mrs. Bennet is furious. Elizabeth has deliberately lost a chance to be married, and with Bingley gone, Jane's prospects do not look as bright as they once seemed. Elizabeth begins to fear that Bingley's sisters may indeed prevail and that Bingley may be gone from Netherfield for good.
The mood now definitely changes from comedy to gloom. A letter from Miss Bingley puts an end to Jane's hopes. The Bingleys are settled in London for the winter. Mr. Bingley is an intimate of the Darcy household, where he can pursue his courtship of Georgiana.
Jane is downcast, and Elizabeth is indignant. She is furious at Bingley's sisters, suspects Darcy of conspiring with them, and is angry with Bingley for allowing himself to be influenced against his genuine love for Jane.
With Darcy and his friends gone, Wickham now freely tells his tale to everyone. Darcy is now generally condemned. Elizabeth somehow does not see how improper it is of Wickham to make his story so public. She is still charmed by Wickham and prejudiced against Darcy.