The next evening, Mr. Collins and the girls go to the Phillips' house for a dinner party. Mr. Wickham is also there.
Mr. Wickham sits beside Elizabeth at dinner and they get along very well. Elizabeth finds him extremely interesting, and ignores the dull Mr. Collins.
After dinner, Mr. Collins and Mrs. Phillips play whist, while Lydia and Elizabeth entertain Mr. Wickham. Lydia is clearly entranced with the soldier, but she is also interested in the game, so Elizabeth and Mr. Wickham have a chance to talk.
Mr. Wickham explains his connection to Mr. Darcy. He says he has been connected with the family since his infancy.
Elizabeth expresses her surprise, and Wickham says she might well be surprised given Darcy's cold reception of him the other day.
Elizabeth explains that she finds Darcy very disagreeable, which encourages Mr. Wickham to tell his story, after Elizabeth agrees to keep his confidence.
Wickham says he had not been brought up to be in the military or to have employment, but circumstances now dictate that he must. He was supposed to have made the church his profession, since the elder Mr. Darcy bequeathed money (informally, not legally) so that Mr. Wickham could become a clergyman. However, the younger Mr. Darcy did not honor the request. When Mr. Wickham reached the age when he should have received the living, it was given to another man. According to Wickham, Darcy hates him.
Elizabeth expresses her horror and suggests that somebody should expose Mr. Darcy for the awful man that he is. Mr. Wickham says he will not do it, as he has too much respect for the senior Mr. Darcy's memory.
Elizabeth wonders why Mr. Darcy would do this and Mr. Wickham replies that it was jealousy because the elder Mr. Darcy was attached to Wickham.
After maligning Mr. Darcy, Wickham moves on to Darcy's sister. She is, he says, very much like her brother – proud, very proud.
Elizabeth inquires why Mr. Bingley would be so fond of Mr. Darcy if he is such a bad man; Mr. Wickham suggests that Bingley may not know the truth because Mr. Darcy can please people if he tries.
When Mr. Collins mentions Lady Catherine, his benefactress, Mr. Wickham informs Elizabeth that Lady Catherine is Mr. Darcy's aunt. It is widespread knowledge that Mr. Darcy will marry Lady Catherine's daughter, so that they can merge the two estates.
As nice as Elizabeth is, she can't help but being a little bit catty, smiling when she thinks how much Miss Bingley would like to marry Mr. Darcy.
Elizabeth goes away with her head full of Mr. Wickham this and Mr. Wickham that. She's developing quite the crush on him.