A new character appears on the scene in Chapter 15. (Cue romantic music.) He is dashing. He is handsome. He is a man in uniform. He is charming to all the girls. He speaks with authority and just the right amount of heart. They all fall for it.
Wickham gives Elizabeth one version of his story, racking up more points against Mr. Darcy for his hardheartedness and lack of fairness. From the beginning of Chapter 17, Jane says, “it is not in my nature to question the veracity of a young man of such amiable appearance as Wickham.” Get that? She is going to believe his story because he is a stud! Girls! I’m disappointed in you. Don’t be so gullible!
(But, when I’m being honest with myself, I know it is very easy to make snap judgments based on appearance. I’ve been taken in myself a time or two.)