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During an evening with the officers at Elizabeth's aunt's house, Wickham at once seats himself beside Elizabeth and, without being asked, proceeds to explain the mysterious encounter with Darcy.
It seems he grew up on the Darcy estate as the son of the Darcy steward and the godson of Darcy's late father. Elizabeth admits that she finds Mr. Darcy a disagreeable man, proud and haughty. All the same she is shocked at the story Wickham tells her. According to him, Darcy has refused to give him the "living" he is entitled to-that is, the rectory of the parish in which Darcy's estate is situated. He declares that Darcy has done this even though the position of rector there was bequeathed to him in the elder Darcy's will. Elizabeth is now confronted with the claim that Darcy is not only an unpleasant man but also a dishonorable one.
Wickham further tells her that Mr. Collins's patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is Darcy's aunt and that Darcy is intended to marry her daughter. Thus the plot threads become further intertwined and the narrative gains further suspense.
Elizabeth tells Jane what she has learned from Wickham about Darcy. Jane can't believe it; she is sure there is some misunderstanding. As for Elizabeth, Wickham has won her sympathy; she has only the deepest dislike for Darcy.
Bingley announces the date of the ball he has promised to give at Netherfield. Elizabeth is excited about it and asks Mr. Collins whether, as a clergyman, he disapproves of dancing. On the contrary, says he, and promptly asks her for the first pair of dances. She is dismayed, but must accept. What she is really looking forward to, however, is dancing with Wickham.