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In a playful mood, Elizabeth asks Darcy to account for falling in love with her. He cannot: he was in love before he realized it, he says. She says he loved her for her "impertinence." He calls it the "liveliness of her mind." She surmises that he was disgusted with women who fussed over him and that he noticed her because she was different-she did not give him the flattery he was accustomed to. He might have hated her for that, she says, but because he was really good-hearted he loved her instead.
She is pleased with her explanation, but troubled because their happiness stems from a broken confidence: she thanked him for his kindness to Lydia, about which she should have known nothing. He reassures her that he meant to propose to her again anyway, because his aunt's interference had given him new hope.
He sits down at once to write Lady Catherine, telling her of his engagement. Another letter goes out that day, from Mr. Bennet to Mr. Collins, announcing Elizabeth's engagement to Darcy. Mr. Bennet advises Collins to console Lady Catherine as best he can, and counsels him to stand by Darcy, who has more patronage to give.
The Collinses arrive at Lucas Lodge. Charlotte has wisely decided to stay away from Hunsford awhile to escape Lady Catherine's rage. Despite her husband's disapproval, she calls to rejoice in Elizabeth's happiness.
Elizabeth's life is about to change dramatically, and she is painfully aware of how her family and her neighbors must appear to Darcy: Mr. Collins is so excessive and self-important in his expressions of respect, Sir William Lucas is so long-winded with his compliments, and Aunt Philips is so vulgar. But Darcy bears it all with surprising grace, a good omen for her future happiness with him.