Pride and Prejudice follows the lives of the five Bennet sisters and their parents, especially focusing on the second eldest daughter Elizabeth. Though weary of her mother's desperation to place each of her daughters in good marriages, Elizabeth finds herself drawn to Mr. Darcy, a proud and wealthy gentleman who is attracted to Elizabeth because of her intelligence and wit. Amidst the drama of their friends' and families' lives, both must overcome preconceived notions and expectations in this story that explores class, love, and social change.
Since Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam have come to Rosings, it is a week before Elizabeth and the Collins' are invited to Rosings. During the evening Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth have a very enjoyable conversation. Lady Catherine is annoyed that she is not a part of their conversation. Mr. Darcy is a bit ashamed at his aunt's behavior and treatment of Elizabeth as an inferior. At Colonel Fitzwilliam's request, Elizabeth begins to play the pianoforte. As she playing Darcy walks away from Lady Catherine and watches her. They tease each other their respective character. Lady Catherine interrupts, demanding to know what they are talking about. Elizabeth resumes playing. Lady Catherine offers criticisms about Elizabeth's playing. Elizabeth observes Mr. Darcy with Miss de Bourgh but can find no love between the two.In chapter Thirty two, the next morning Mr. Darcy comes to visit Elizabeth alone. He had thought the other ladies were also at home. They talk about his quick departure from Netherfield and Charlotte's marriage to Mr. Collins. Darcy asks Elizabeth if she would like to be settled as close to her family as Charlotte. Elizabeth wonders at his question. Darcy changes the subject to the countryside. Charlotte and Marie return from their walk, Mr. Darcy stays for a few minutes and then leaves. Charlotte tells Elizabeth that Mr. Darcy must be in love with her, but Elizabeth is convinced otherwise. Colonel Fitzwilliam calls on the ladies frequently. Elizabeth can tell he admires her. Neither Elizabeth nor Charlotte can understand why Mr. Darcy calls on them so often. Charlotte again suggests that Mr. Darcy must be in love, Elizabeth simply laughs at the idea.
In chapter thirty three, Elizabeth often meets Mr. Darcy during her walks in the parks at Rosings. When they meet he stops to say hello and walks back to the house with her. On another walk Elizabeth runs into Colonel Fitzwilliam. He speaks to her about the fact that, because he is a younger son, he cannot ignore financial concerns in his choice of a wife. They also speak of Miss Darcy, and then of Bingley. Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth that Darcy recently saved a good friend from an "imprudent marriage. Elizabeth is sure that this friend is Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth gets a headache from her anger at Darcy and decides not to dine at Rosings.
Colonel Fitzwilliam proves to be popular with the ladies of the parsonage. The party is invited to Rosings on Easter Sunday. Lady Catherine pays attention to her nephews and is merely civil to Elizabeth and the Collins'. Colonel Fitzwilliam spends time talking with Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy watches the two with "curiosity." Lady Catherine becomes jealous of their conversation and feels she must know what they are talking about. Lady Catherine inquires about Miss Georgiana. Colonel Fitzwilliam invites Elizabeth to play the pianoforte. Colonel Fitzwilliam sits beside Elizabeth; Mr. Darcy stares at Elizabeth from across the room while she plays. Elizabeth relates, through a flirtatious conversation between herself and Colonel Fitzwilliam, how Mr. Darcy behaved at the Meryton ball, only dancing for dances, when "more than one young lady was sitting in want of a partner." Mr. Darcy confesses that he is somewhat shy around people he does not know; Elizabeth replies that the reason she does not play the pianoforte as well as she could is that she does not take time to practice. Lady Catherine interrupts their conversation again, demanding to know what they are talking about. Lady Catherine invites Elizabeth to practice on her pianoforte. Elizabeth can discern no love between Miss de Bourgh and Mr. Darcy. Lady Catherine constantly praises her daughter, saying that she would have been good at this or that, "if only her health had allowed her to learn."
In chapter thirty two, Elizabeth is writing a letter to Jane when there is a knock on the door. The visitor, to Elizabeth's surprise, is Mr. Darcy. There is a moment of silence. Elizabeth inquires at Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley leaving Netherfield so soon, and Mr. Darcy's subsequent stay in London. They talk of Mr. Bingley giving up Netherfield; Mr. Darcy admits that Mr. Bingley will give up the house as soon as he can find a purchaser. They then talk about Mr. Collins' choice of wife. They make small talk about how nice it must be for Charlotte to be settled so close to her family. Mr. Darcy asks whether Elizabeth would like to be settled close to her family, which surprises Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy then draws back and makes small talk about how Elizabeth likes Kent.
Charlotte and her sister return from their walk and are surprised to see Mr. Darcy talking to Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy apologizes for intruding and leaves. As soon as he is gone, Charlotte exclaims that Mr. Darcy must be in love with Elizabeth to have paid her such a visit. Elizabeth denies that this is possible, and tries to understand Darcy's behavior.
In chapter thirty three, Elizabeth frequently runs into Mr. Darcy on her walks around the park at Rosings. The two of them make small talk as to whether or not Elizabeth will return to Kent and stay with the Collins'. During one conversation Darcy asks questions which seem to imply that, in the future, when she comes to Kent, she will stay at Rosings. Elizabeth thinks that Darcy must be alluding to the prospect of a marriage between herself and Colonel Fitzwilliam. One day, while walking through the park, Elizabeth runs into Colonel Fitzwilliam instead of Darcy. Colonel Fitzwilliam then relates how Darcy recently "congratulated himself on having saved a friend the inconveniences of a most imprudent marriage." Elizabeth becomes angry, knowing that it was Jane and Bingley's romance in which Darcy interfered. Elizabeth becomes so angry that she gets a headache, which gets worse as the day wears on, and decides to stay at Hunsford instead of going to Rosings for tea.
Austen makes it increasingly clear to the reader that Darcy is falling in love with Elizabeth, though Elizabeth herself does not seem to notice. Elizabeth's prejudices against Darcy are still so strong; she is completely blinded from seeing his growing attachment to her. She is puzzled by his frequent visits to the Parsonage, and laughs at Charlotte's suggestions that he must be visiting because he is in love with her. Though she has told him where she walks so that she may avoid seeing him, she is still puzzled when he shows up and walks with her. To Elizabeth, it still doesn't seem that Darcy particularly enjoys socializing. When they are alone at the parsonage at Hunsford, Darcy's intense demeanor puzzles Elizabeth and she mistakes his manner for indifference. Even after Darcy hints that Elizabeth will be staying at Kent the next time she visits, Elizabeth still does not understand that Darcy has fallen in love with her and mistakes his question as an implication that she will marry Colonel Fitzwilliam.Colonel Fitzwilliam does admire Elizabeth and she is also fond of him, but their conversation in the park at Rosings, in which he states that he does not have the luxury of marrying for love, again brings up the theme of marriage as economic gain to the reader. Austen shows, both with Wickham and Colonel Fitzwilliam as examples, that the need for marriage is also an economic concern for men as well as women. The question Austen poses though, is that, if the men of good fortune, like Colonel Fitzwilliam, are also looking for women of good fortune, then what are women like Elizabeth to do? Everything in this society favors marrying for money and social connections, yet the novel also seems to be a sharp attack on these choices. It seems marriage is a very competitive business in Elizabeth's world, and love is usually a secondary requirement.