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Chapters 54 and 55
Mr. Bennet invites the company at Netherfield to dinner at Longbourn. During the visit, Darcy’s serious and aloof behavior disturbs Elizabeth. He sits far from her, his speech is formal, and he does not seek her out after dinner. In contrast, Mr. Bingley clearly shows his affection for Jane and seems to be in love with her as never before; he never leaves Jane’s side throughout the evening. Mrs. Bennet is in an ecstatic mood over Bingley’s attention to Jane and the overall success of the party.
Darcy goes to London a few days after the dinner party. Elizabeth is displeased over his departure, but she is delighted to learn that Bingley has proposed to Jane, who is ecstatic over the thought of marrying him. Mrs. Bennet is a delightfully happy woman, for two of her daughters will soon be married.
These are important chapters of the novel. Mrs. Bennet’s hopes for her daughters are finally materializing. With Lydia’s marriage and Bingley’s engagement to Jane, it is only Elizabeth who needs to find a husband; and even Elizabeth has overcome her pride and her prejudice against Darcy to admit to herself that she is in love with the man. Fortunately, Jane and Bingley, whose characters are not as complicated as that of Elizabeth, easily work out their romance. It is refreshing to see the love they share, for it is pure, simple, and straight-forward. It is ironic that Darcy has pushed for the engagement of Jane and Bingley, for he had earlier dissuaded his friend about Jane.