One day, while Charlotte and Mr. Collins go to visit Rosings, Elizabeth stays behind. The doorbell rings: expecting Colonel Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth is surprised to find Mr. Darcy.
In Austen's time, it would be awkward and often inappropriate for an unmarried man and woman to be alone together.
Her surprise becomes shock when he passionately confesses his love for her and asks her to marry him. Darcy then explains how his affection outgrew his concerns about Elizabeth and her family's inferiority. Elizabeth grows angry, and firmly refuses his offer of marriage.
Darcy is astonished and demands an explanation. Elizabeth blasts him for insulting her, for ruining Jane's happiness forever, and for robbing Wickham of his chances in life.
Elizabeth unleashes the full force of her prejudice against Darcy, finally letting him see what she truly thinks of him.
Darcy stands by his decision to break up Bingley and Jane. He is sarcastic about Wickham's misfortunes. And he tells Elizabeth that he was only being honest about his complicated feelings for her.
Darcy, his pride insulted, responds with the same lack of composure. Although he isn't smooth, he is at least honest.
Elizabeth assures Darcy that he's the last man she would ever marry. Darcy leaves angrily and Elizabeth breaks down crying, though she soon regains her confidence that she was correct to reject Darcy.
Elizabeth's rejection of Darcy is the climax of her prejudice against him. Yet her crying indicates that she still may have deeper feelings for him.