Pride and Prejudice Volume 1, Chapter 7
Mrs. Bennet desperately wants her daughters to be well-settled. A large part of her obsession is that Longbourn, their home, goes to another branch of the family when Mr. Bennet dies because he has no male heir and women cannot own or inherit property. Therefore, if her daughters are unmarried, Mrs. Bennet (and the girls) will have nowhere to live.
Lydia and Kitty, Elizabeth's youngest sisters, are fascinated by a regiment of soldiers who are stationed in Meryton, the nearby town. Mr. Bennet thinks the girls are completely silly for their fascintation with the soldiers, but Mrs. Bennet encourages their behavior, seeing it as a potential marriage.
Bingley's sisters invite Jane to have lunch with them, and Mrs. Bennet hopes for rain so that Jane will have to stay overnight at Netherfield since she is not taking the covered carriage over there. Mrs. Bennet believes that the more time Jane spends with Bingley, the better her chances for a match with him. Mrs. Bennet gets her wish, and Jane stays the night at Netherfield because of a rainstorm. The next day a note comes from Netherfield saying that Jane has taken ill and will have to stay at Netherfield longer because she is too sick to leave. Elizabeth knows that Jane must be miserable and lonely, so she walks the three miles to Netherfield to check on her sister. When she arrives, she is muddy and disheveled from the walk, and all the members of the Netherfield household are at breakfast. When Elizabeth goes upstairs to check on Jane, Miss Bingley gives Darcy a hard time because of the impropriety of Elizabeth walking all that way alone and arriving looking dirty and unkempt. Darcy ignores her again.
Elizabeth sees Jane and is relieved to learn that she only has a bad cold and that the Bingleys have been good to her. Bingley invites Elizabeth to stay there with Jane until she is well enough to go home, and Elizabeth agrees. Bingley's sisters come to Jane's room and sit with her all day. Initially Elizabeth does not like Bingley's sisters, but their kindness to Jane makes her think better of them, at least until dinner that evening.