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Jane feels a little better by evening, so Elizabeth again joins the party in the drawing-room. Darcy is trying to write a letter to his sister, but Miss Bingley repeatedly interrupts him by calling out messages from her to include in his letter to his sister. When Darcy finally finishes the letter, he turns his attention to the conversation in the room. He notices that Elizabeth talks animatedly on every subject and is impressed by her sharp observations and succinct way of wording ideas. Darcy is also magnetically drawn towards Elizabeth’s fine eyes. Elizabeth notices that he frequently stares at her.
Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance with him, but she flatly refuses, much to the relief of Miss Bingley, who has been jealously watching the two of them. Darcy does not feel thwarted by her refusal; instead, he is so bewitched by Elizabeth’s unconventional charms that he feels that had it not been for ‘the inferiority of her connections’, he would have been in danger of falling in love with her.
The following morning Jane is feeling much better. Elizabeth goes for a stroll in the garden with Mrs. Hurst. They come upon Darcy and Miss Bingley in the garden. The path on which they are walking is spacious enough for three people only, so Elizabeth is rudely left behind by the two sisters to walk by herself. Darcy is annoyed at how Elizabeth is treated.
This chapter focuses on the budding relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth, and the pride and prejudice that stand in its way. Elizabeth’s wit, animation, and discerning observations impress Darcy. He finds himself staring at her, especially noticing her fine eyes. When he asks her to dance, she flatly refuses because of her previously established prejudice against him. Elizabeth is sure that Darcy is mocking her by asking her to dance, for he has told her he has a low opinion of dancing. If she accepts the invitation, she is certain he will think she cares only about light and trivial things. The truth of the situation is far from what Elizabeth imagines, for Darcy is now truly attracted to her. He even thinks that he might fall in love with her, except for her low connections. With such thinking, Darcy clearly reveals his snootiness and pride, which also stand in the way of a relationship with Elizabeth.
Miss Bingley is also further developed in this chapter. She constantly thinks only of herself, as evidenced in her repeatedly interrupting Darcy while he writes a letter; she obviously will do anything to get his attention. She is also very jealous of Darcy and watches enviously as he takes an interest in Elizabeth. She is quite relieved when Elizabeth refuses to dance with Darcy.