Pride and Prejudice Volume 1, Chapter 21
Although Mr. Collins is miffed at Elizabeth's refusal, he doesn't plan to leave their house any earlier, which makes an awkward situation that much worse. The Bennet girls go to Meryton to see if Wickham has come back to town. Sure enough, he's back, and he tells Elizabeth that he didn't go to the ball at Netherfield because he didn't want to run into Darcy. When the girls leave town, Wickham walks them home and pays special attention to Elizabeth. Wickham stays for dinner.
While they are sitting in the parlor after dinner, Jane gets a message from Miss Bingley, and she seems upset by what she reads. After all the dinner company leaves, Jane tells Elizabeth that the Bingleys have all left Netherfield for good. Miss Bingley also conveniently mentions that her brother is interested in Darcy's young sister, Miss Darcy, as if she's just sharing information and not trying to hurt Jane's feelings. Elizabeth believes that Miss Bingley is just being cruel because she knows that her brother likes Jane and that Jane likes him. Jane, however, is too good hearted to think that Miss Bingley would ever intentionally hurt her feelings, so she believes that Miss Bingley was just mistaken. They decide to tell their mother nothing of Bingley's reported affection for Miss Darcy.