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We follow Elizabeth's reactions to Darcy's letter. At first she is angry and disbelieving. After all, she thinks, Darcy has expressed no regret at destroying Jane's happiness-he is still proud and insolent. And in his story of Wickham, she is certain he is lying from start to finish. She will pay no attention to the letter. She puts it away, resolving never to look at it again.
In the next moment she is reading it a second time. Now she is struck by certain truths. For instance, all along she has known nothing about Wickham except what he himself told her. She has accepted his charm and good looks as evidence of his good character.
Now, for the first time, she realizes how improper it was for him to confide in her, a perfect stranger, on their first meeting. She recalls that he spread his story through the town the moment the Bingleys and Darcy had left the neighborhood. She begins to feel ashamed of her blind acceptance of Wickham and her unreasoning prejudice against Darcy. She decides that although Darcy has told her to consult Colonel Fitzwilliam for the truth of all this, it would be awkward to ask him and surely it is unnecessary.
She returns once more to his comments about Bingley and Jane. She acknowledges now that Jane did indeed conceal her feelings too well, and Darcy could not be blamed for mistaking them. She remembers how her mother embarrassed her at the Netherfield ball, and she feels the justice of Darcy's comments about her family. Then she feels, with something like despair, that Jane's loss of love and happiness can be blamed on her own family.
After hours of walking and thinking, Elizabeth returns to the parsonage and learns that both Darcy and Fitzwilliam have called to say goodbye. She is glad that she missed them, since she is no longer interested in Colonel Fitzwilliam, and her feelings towards Darcy are in complete confusion.
NOTE: This chapter is the beginning of Elizabeth's exploration of her own mind and emotions. Her earnest self-examination is one of the strengths of the novel.