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.
Elizabeth is captivated by the beauty of Pemberley. She almost regrets telling Darcy no, and thinks that she could have been mistress of such a fine estate. The housekeeper gives them a tour of the house and talks about Mr. Darcy and Miss Darcy. The housekeeper describes Mr. Darcy as sweet-tempered, generous and good-natured. She remarks that she has "never heard a cross word from him." Elizabeth is surprised as she still thinks of Darcy as ill-tempered. Elizabeth is impressed with Darcy's treatment of his younger sister.As they view the gardens, Mr. Darcy unexpectedly appears at the road. Both he and Elizabeth are embarrassed. After exchanging a few civilities, Darcy leaves. Elizabeth is mortified and wonders what he thinks of her. Later she is surprised to see Mr. Darcy coming toward them. Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to introduce him to the Gardiners and he converses with them and even tells Mr. Gardiner that he is welcome to come to fish at Pemberley as long as he is in the area.
Elizabeth and Darcy walk together. She informs him that she thought he would not be at home. He asks if he can introduce his sister to her when she arrives the next day. Elizabeth is surprised but accepts. The Gardiners are very pleased at Darcy's civility, having heard from that he is so disagreeable. Elizabeth tells them that they might have been previously deceived about Wickham's character.
Elizabeth spots her first view of Pemberley from the road and is quite taken with its beauty. As Elizabeth tours the estate, she marvels that she could have been "mistress" of the grand estate, and that she could have been familiar with the rooms instead of touring them as a stranger. But Elizabeth consoles herself with the thought that if she had married Darcy, her aunt and uncle would have been lost to her, considering their low social standing. The housekeeper tells the party that Darcy is out, but is expected back tomorrow. Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner view portraits of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. The housekeeper describes Mr. Wickham as having turned out "very wild." Elizabeth acknowledges to the housekeeper that Mr. Darcy is handsome.The housekeeper describes Miss Georgiana as handsome and accomplished. She then tells how Mr. Darcy is often absent. Mr. Gardiner comments that Mr. Darcy should be home more once he is married but the housekeeper remarks that she does not know anyone who is good enough for him. Elizabeth longs to hear more about Mr. Darcy. Her good opinion of him continues to grow. The housekeeper describes him as "the sweetest-tempered, most generous-hearted boy in the world."
Darcy's father is complimented, and Darcy's character is compared to that of his father. He is also described as "affable to the poor." The housekeeper goes on to describe Mr. Darcy as "the best landlord and the best master."
Mrs. Gardiner tells Elizabeth that this description of Mr. Darcy doesn't seem at all to match the one they have developed. Elizabeth remarks that "they might have been deceived."
When Elizabeth turns back to look at the house, she is faced with Mr. Darcy, who has returned early from his trip. Elizabeth is embarrassed at the "impropriety of being found there." They stand in front of each other for a few moments, both speechless, and Mr. Darcy leaves abruptly. Elizabeth is overcome with "Shame and vexation." However, Mr. Darcy soon rejoins them on their walk and gives the Gardiners a tour of the grounds, after asking Elizabeth for an introduction to her aunt and uncle. Mr. Darcy invites Mr. Gardiner to fish on the Pemberley estate.
As Elizabeth walks with Mr. Darcy, she tells him that the housekeeper had assured them that he would not be back until tomorrow. Darcy states that the rest of the party, the Bingley sisters, Mr. Bingley, and his sister Georgiana, will be arriving tomorrow. Darcy tells Elizabeth that he would like to introduce him to his sister.
This is an important chapter in that Elizabeth's feelings toward Darcy not only continue to change, but continue to something the reader begins to recognize as affection. But once again, Elizabeth's feelings for Darcy seem evident to the reader, but incomprehensible to Elizabeth herself. When Elizabeth visits Pemberley, she cannot help thinking of what it would have been like to be the mistress of such an estate. Elizabeth tells herself that she does not regret refusing Darcy's proposal, but the more learns about his amiable and generous character from his housekeeper; the more she begins to like him in spite of her best intentions not to do so.When Darcy finds Elizabeth in the garden, she is surprised by his civility. She is also surprised at the kind way in which he treats her aunt and uncle. Darcy's treatment of the Gardiners is especially noteworthy, considering how he insulted Elizabeth's low connection in his proposal. However, once again, the Gardiners are set up as a good example of what a parent should be and are treated much better than the Bennets, who are set up as the bad example of parenting. Elizabeth is also surprised that Darcy wants to introduce her to his sister, and realizes what a compliment this is to her.
Darcy seems also to have changed considerably in his demeanor since the day he first proposed to Elizabeth. His reserve, haughtiness, and extreme class-consciousness have all but disappeared. He seems more gentlemanly, and a good bit softer toward Elizabeth and her family. Darcy's regard for Elizabeth seems not to have diminished, in spite of her previous rude refusal.