I am thoroughly enjoying Pride and Prejudice simply because I love Jane Austen's style of writing. (I sadly admit: I have never read a Jane Austen before.) I am annoyed to pieces over the female characters and so grateful I was not alive during this time period. I already have a favorite character: Mr. Bennet, and I absolutely love how Austen adds his subtle sarcasm, although maybe it is not subtle; only the receivers of it are too oblivious to it. Well, I am only on Chapter X, and opinions could change.
The Bennets are friends with the Lucas family, and the day after the ball was a perfect opportunity to gossip about the details of the evening, whereas the subject of Mr. Darcy comes up and how he has a right to be proud given his status; but Elizabeth admits that it would be agreeable if he had not mortified her own pride. Then Mary Bennet explains the difference between pride and vanity: pride being an opinion of our selves, and vanity is what we desire others to think of us.
Elizabeth mentions to her friend, Charlotte Lucas, of Jane’s ability to exhibit composure of her emotions over Mr. Bingley, although Charlotte believes this may not be helpful. Meanwhile, Elizabeth does not suspect that Mr. Darcy is developing an interest in her, and even with his polite gestures, she snubs him.
Jane receives correspondence from the Bingley sisters, who are staying at Neterfield, to visit as soon as possible; however, she rides out on a rainy day, is taken ill, and sends notice to Elizabeth informing her of her misfortune. Elizabeth sets out immediately on foot to be with her and cares for her, along with the Bingley sisters; yet, when Elizabeth prepares to return home, Jane asks her to stay over night, and the Bingley sisters insist, in which she consents.
Elizabeth is correct about the Bingley sisters: they are phonies; as soon as Elizabeth is out of the room, they begin to backbite and gossip about the condition of her appearance and for her decision to walk several miles to care for her sister. Although no one rebukes them for their unpleasant behavior, Mr. Bingley recognizes her loyalty towards Jane and appreciates it.
As Jane’s health remained in a delicate condition, Elizabeth entreated her mother to come to Netherfield and give an account of Jane’s wellbeing; and though her mother was sure there was no danger, yet she desired her to stay longer and concluded that Jane was in no state to travel home (because a bedridden lady is so attractive after all). For the remainder of the day, Mrs. Bennet entertains the others with more shallow conversations, and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy compare the results of poetry, as Elizabeth jokes it could drive away love, and Mr. Darcy opining that he considers it “as the food of love.” After Mrs. Bennet leaves Netherfield, Elizabeth returns to her bedridden sister, and the Bingley sisters continue their boorish commentaries about Elizabeth without any rise from Mr. Darcy.