Pride and Prejudice
How we cite our quotes:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. (1.1-2)
Historical Context Snack: men may have had it a little easier than women when it came the whole marrying thing, since they wouldn't be ruined without it. But they weren't supposed to stay swingin' singles forever, either. There was a lot of social pressure on men with money and/ or estates to marry and have children—it was their duty. Austen is bringing the snark here, but it works for a reason: it kind of was a universal truth that rich, single men needed to marry.
"My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his parish; secondly, that I am convinced that it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly—which perhaps I ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness. […] But the fact is, that being, as I am, to inherit this estate after the death of your honoured father (who, however, may live many years longer), I could not satisfy myself without resolving to choose a wife from among his daughters, that the loss to them might be as little as possible, when the melancholy event takes place—which, however, as I have already said, may not be for several years. This has been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself it will not sink me in your esteem. And now nothing remains for me but to assure you in the most animated language of the violence of my affection. […]" (19.9)
Mr. Collins's marriage proposal just keeps going on and on and on. It's all practicality. And it's the worst marriage proposal we have ever heard.
"Though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never for many hours together; and, as they always see each other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every moment should be employed in conversing together. Jane should therefore make the most of every half-hour in which she can command his attention. When she is secure of him, there will be more leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses." (6.5-6)
For Charlotte, there's no "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Mr. Bingley pushing the baby carriage." Instead, it's "First comes marriage, then comes the baby carriage"—and love is just a bonus.