Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are delighted to learn that the nearby estate of Netherfield has been purchased by one Charles Bingley of London. Mr. Bingleyis accompanied by his friend, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome young man of great wealth and position. As the Bennets have five daughters, the prospect of two newcomers who are both rich and single is quite intriguing. “What a fine thing for our girls!” Mrs. Bennet exudes to her husband, urging him to pay a call on Bingley. Mr. Bennet does so, but without the knowledge of his wife, whose vexation gives him great pleasure.
When the girls finally meet the new arrivals, the eldest daughter, Jane, and the amiable Mr. Bingley grow to mutual admiration from their first meeting. However, the relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth (“Lizzy”) Bennet is not quite so promising.
Because the Bennets have no son, their family home, Longbourn, is entailed (legally willed) to their closest male relation. This person is the Reverend Mr. Collins, a sycophant to the right honorable Lady Catherine de Bourgh. According to law, this distant relative will own the family estate upon Mr. Bennet’s death. Mr. Collins arrives to pursue marriage to one of the Bennet daughters as a conciliatory and gracious gesture. Conveniently, he also finds the Bennet sisters captivating.
A military regiment is stationed in the nearby town, providing a constant source of interest to the youngest Bennet daughters. A handsome new officer, Mr. Wickham, joins the regiment and soon becomes a favorite of all the Bennet sisters, especially Lizzy.
From this wealth of new arrivals, the story proceeds until a suitable match is found for most, but not all, of the Bennet girls.