The novel opens with Mrs. Bennet trying to persuade Mr. Bennet to visit Mr. Bingley, a rich and eligible bachelor who has arrived in the neighborhood. After some verbal sparring with Mr. Bennet baiting his wife, it transpires that this visit has already taken place at Netherfield, Mr. Bingley's rented house. The visit is followed by an invitation to a ball at the local assembly rooms that the whole neighbourhood will attend. At the ball, Mr. Bingley is open and cheerful, popular with all the guests, and appears to be very attracted to the beautiful Miss Jane Bennet. His friend, Mr. Darcy, is reputed to be twice as wealthy; however, he is haughty and aloof. He declines to dance with Elizabeth, suggesting that she is not pretty enough to tempt him.