Pride and Prejudice Chapter 18 Summary
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- But when it's time for the ball, Wickham isn't actually there at all.
- Elizabeth is so bummed that she's actually surprised into saying yes when Darcy, of all people, asks her to dance.
- By the time they hit the dance floor, however, she's recovered her confidence enough to make snide little remarks.
- Darcy barely talks, so Elizabeth talks for him. She suggests that the two of them are similar—both of them love being unsociable and only talk if everyone will be amazed by their comment.
- Darcy recognizes her sarcasm and tries to sweet talk her—which is about as awkward as you think it is—but Elizabeth can't help but mention her new acquaintance, Mr. Wickham.
- Darcy says that Mr. Wickham has qualities that enable him to make friends but not to retain them.
- Oh, says Lizzy, like how he lost your friendship?
- The dance finally ends, and things don't improve: Miss Bingley prances up to tell Lizzy not to trust everything Mr. Wickham says, because it's not true at all.
- Right—like Elizabeth is going to believe Miss Bingley.
- Jane asks Mr. Bingley about it, too. He vouches for his friend's character, although he doesn't know anything about the Wickham story.
- And then Mr. Collins discovers that Lady Catherine's nephew is at the ball and slides up to introduce himself.
- Lizzy sees that Mr. Darcy is polite enough but obviously thinks the guy's disgusting; Mr. Collins, however, thinks he's made a big hit.
- And then Mrs. Bennet brags loudly about how Jane is totally going to marry Mr. Bingley—in range of Mr. Darcy's hearing. Ugh, Mom.
- And then, to make matters worse, her sister Mary sings not one but two songs—and she's mediocre, at best.
- And then, Mr. Collins makes a loud speech about the duties of a clergyman and how it is always in good form to testify his respect towards anybody connected with his benefactress's (Lady Catherine's) family.
- Elizabeth wonders if her family could possibly have embarrassed her any more. She's glad Jane and Mr. Bingley haven't noticed, but Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley's sisters have, which is bad enough.
- As they leave, Mrs. Bennet invites the Bingleys to visit them at Longbourn, especially Mr. Bingley, who says he will come as soon as possible.
- Mrs. Bennet leaves feeling good about things: Jane will be married to Mr. Bingley within a few months and that Elizabeth will soon be married to Mr. Collins.
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