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Volume 1, Chapter 18 Notes from Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice Volume 1, Chapter 18

Days later Elizabeth is disappointed when Wickham doesn't show up at the ball, but she thinks that he probably planned to be out of town then so that he wouldn't have to be around Darcy, which makes her dislike Darcy all the more. When Darcy asks her to dance, Elizabeth does not want to dance with him because it might be an insult to Wickham. But she can find no polite way to refuse Darcy, and it would be rude to let him know that she knows about how he cheated Wickham. Although she and Darcy speak little during their two dances, she manages to work in Wickham's name just to see what Darcy's response will be. Darcy tries to escape without saying much about Wickham or how he knows him. So Elizabeth takes another jab by mentioning how Darcy once claimed that anyone who loses his good opinion has lost it forever, but the dance ends before she can really lay into him about all his flaws.

Jane comes over as soon as the dance has ended to talk with Elizabeth. She tells Elizabeth that she is wrong to believe that Darcy mistreated Wickham because Bingley, who could never do wrong, tells Jane that although he doesn't know all the details, he does know that Wickham is a scoundrel. Elizabeth, however, doesn't want to believe ill of Wickham.

Mr. Collins then embarrasses Elizabeth by going to introduce himself to Darcy since he has learned that Darcy is the nephew of his patroness, Lady De Bourgh. But the embarrassment does not end there. At supper, Mrs. Bennet brags so loudly of her expectations that Bingley will marry Jane that Elizabeth is mortified because Darcy is sitting silently across the table hearing every shameful remark that Mrs. Bennet makes.

After supper, Mary, the middle Bennet sister, adds to the humiliation by singing for everyone despite her lack of musical talent. She doesn't leave the piano and shut up until her father insists that she must stop. But the grand finale is that the Bennet family is the last to leave and they don't move quickly about leaving. Elizabeth is mortified by her family's imposition on Bingley and even moreso by the prospect of giving Darcy and Bingley's sisters any more ammunition. As they are leaving, Mrs. Bennet presses Bingley to accept an invitation to an informal dinner when he returns from London. He is leaving the next morning, but will be back soon.

Topic Tracking: Pride 8

On the way home from the ball Mrs. Bennet thinks of how happy she is to get rid of Elizabeth to Mr. Collins because Elizabeth is her least favorite child. But Mrs. Bennet is extremely happy for Jane's good match with Bingley, which is certain in Mrs. Bennet's mind.

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