Chapter 1: Mrs. Bennet announces to her husband that Netherfield Park, a large Hertfordshire estate, has been let to a Mr. Bingley, "a young man of fortune from the north of England", who she hopes may marry one of their five daughters. She attempts to persuade him to visit the newcomer and is frustrated when he says that he has no intention of doing so.
Chapter 2: Mr. Bennet continues to let his family think that he will not visit Mr. Bingley, when in fact he has already done so. They are all delighted when he reveals the truth.
Chapter 3: Mr. Bingley, after having returned Mr. Bennet's visit and made a short trip to London, makes his first appearance at a local ball. With him are his sisters Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley and his friend Mr. Darcy who are all staying with him at Netherfield. Darcy is admired at first for his good looks and large fortune, but soon offends everyone by his disdainful, proud manner. He is particularly rude to Elizabeth Bennet, the second of the Bennet sisters, by refusing to dance with her, saying she is not "handsome" enough. Mr. Bingley, by contrast, is universally liked, and distinguishes Jane Bennet, the eldest and most beautiful of the sisters, by dancing with her twice.
Chapter 4: Jane confesses to Elizabeth how much she likes Mr. Bingley and in replying Elizabeth comments on her sister's ability to see the good in everyone; she herself is more given to cynicism. Austen then gives us more details about the Bingleys: the sisters are "proud and conceited"; Mr. Bingley is expected to purchase property soon, and is renting Netherfield as a temporary measure. Mr. Darcy is cleverer than Bingley, but "haughty, reserved and fastidious".
Chapter 5: Charlotte Lucas, the eldest daughter of some of the Bennets' neighbours and Elizabeth's friend, comes to Longbourn, the village where the Bennets live, to talk over the ball. Bingley's apparent admiration of Jane and Darcy's pride is the main topic of conversation.
Chapter 6: The acquaintance between the Bingleys and the Bennets is advanced by two further visits. Elizabeth remarks to Charlotte that although Jane is attracted to Bingley, she will keep this well hidden by her unwavering "composure of temper". Charlotte replies that Jane would do better to encourage Bingley if she hopes to make him ask her to marry him. Charlotte is much more concerned than Elizabeth with the importance of marrying well, feeling that falling in love is secondary to being comfortably settled. At a party at the Lucas's Darcy begins to notice Elizabeth and even asks her to dance, which she declines.
Chapter 7: We learn that because Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have no sons the Longbourn estate will be inherited by a "distant relation". The younger daughters, Kitty and Lydia, have been introduced to some officers of a regiment encamped at Meryton, a nearby town, by their aunt and uncle Philips, and can think of nothing else. Jane is invited to Netherfield and Mrs. Bennet insists on her going on horseback in the hope that she will catch cold from riding in bad weather and be forced to stay longer. The next day news arrives that Jane is indeed ill and Elizabeth decides to walk to Netherfield to visit her. She is invited to stay in order to be near her sister while she is unwell.
Chapter 8: Elizabeth spends the evening with Bingley, his two sisters and Darcy. Darcy continues to her admire her, which provokes the jealousy of Miss Bingley, who, it becomes clear, is hoping to marry Darcy herself. While she is with her sister, Miss Bingley takes the opportunity of disparaging Elizabeth and her "vulgar" relations. By the end of the evening Jane is no better, and it is agreed that a doctor will be called in the morning.
Chapter 9: Jane is slightly better on the following morning, but nevertheless Elizabeth wants her mother's opinion. Mrs. Bennet arrives with Kitty and Lydia; she embarrasses Elizabeth with her tactless remarks, and Lydia reminds Bingley of his promise to give a ball at Netherfield, which he confirms he will do as soon as Jane is better.
Chapter 10: As Jane continues to recover Elizabeth spends another evening and day with Bingley and his guests. Miss Bingley distracts Darcy from writing to his sister with compliments on his handwriting and later teases him about Elizabeth. Darcy himself becomes more and more attracted to Elizabeth.
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