Elizabeth is nervous and excited as their carriage approaches Pemberley.
Historical Context Lesson: Proper middle-class folk, like Elizabeth and her family, could visit grand estates belonging to people like Mr. Darcy. Think of it as their version of <em>MTV Cribs</em>, except they get to do it in person.
The housekeeper shows them around the house.
Elizabeth is delighted with every beautiful detail and she can't help thinking about how she might have been mistress of it all. Then she checks herself, realizing she would not have been able to invite her beloved aunt and uncle to visit if she had been (because Darcy would think her relatives beneath him).
When asked, the housekeeper informs them that the master is away but is expected tomorrow with friends.
Mrs. Gardiner calls Elizabeth over to see a painting of Mr. Wickham.
The housekeeper explains that Wickham was a son of late master's steward. He has gone in the army, she says, and has become very wild.
Though Mrs. Gardiner smiles knowingly at Elizabeth, Elizabeth can't return the smile.
The housekeeper states positively that Mr. Darcy is the best landlord and the best master ever.
She shows the rooms Mr. Darcy set up specifically to make his sister happy.
Elizabeth begins to think maybe Mr. Darcy is a good man after all, and that she has really misjudged him.
As they leave the house to go look at the gardens, Elizabeth and the Gardiners turn to look back. At that moment, Mr. Darcy arrives, and they see each other.
Both Elizabeth and Darcy blush.
He comes forward and greets her with perfect civility, his entire manner toward her different than before, and he inquires after her family.
But both feel awkward and ill at ease and soon he turns to go.
Elizabeth feels shame and chagrin, wondering how her appearance at his house must seem so vain. Yet she had never seen him in a gentler light than at this moment.
Elizabeth can't keep from thinking about Darcy as they continue walking around the grounds, wondering what is in his mind right now and whether his feelings toward her have changed.
As they head back towards the house to reach their carriage, Mr. Darcy approaches them. He asks her to introduce him to her friends.
She thinks slyly that he will be surprised to hear they are family; indeed, she wonders if he will be horrified and excuse himself when he realizes it.
Darcy, however, continues to be friendly. Elizabeth is happy at every comment her uncle makes that shows his intelligence, taste, and good manners.
Mr. Darcy invites Mr. Gardiner to come fish at his personal pond. He will make tackle available.
Mrs. Gardiner looks at Elizabeth with wonder and surprise.
Elizabeth recognizes that Darcy's behavior is all for her sake. She wonders if Mr. Darcy still loves her, but thinks he can't possibly have changed and become a better person simply because of her comments.
Soon, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are walking together and Elizabeth finds herself walking with Mr. Darcy.
He invites her to meet his sister, who will be coming tomorrow along with Mr. Bingley and his sisters.
Elizabeth knows that his wish to introduce her to his sister is the biggest compliment he can pay her.
When Elizabeth and the Gardiners get in the carriage to go home, they pronounce Mr. Darcy perfect in every way. They wonder why Elizabeth had said he was so disagreeable before. They question the fact that his behavior differed so dramatically from Wickham's description.
Elizabeth tries to let them know, with as much discreetness as possible, that Wickham is not as reliable as they had all believed.