Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Mr. Collins Quotes
"'After mentioning the likelihood of this marriage to her ladyship last night, she immediately, with her usual condescension, expressed what she felt on the occasion; when it became apparent, that on the score of some family objections on the part of my cousin, she would never give her consent to what she termed so disgraceful a match. I thought it my duty to give the speediest intelligence of this to my cousin, that she and her noble admirer may be aware of what they are about, and not run hastily into a marriage which has not been properly sanctioned.'" (57.24)
Okay, is Mr. Collins seriously the worst, or what? (He's the worst.) Here, he takes it on himself to write to Mr. Bennet and tell him that Lady Catherine would never approve Mr. Darcy's marriage to Elizabeth, as though (1) he's been asked, (2) there's any engagement, (3) anyone gives a rat's tail about what Mr. Collins thinks about class status.
"Pardon me for interrupting you, madam," cried Mr. Collins; "but if she is really headstrong and foolish, I know not whether she would altogether be a very desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally looks for happiness in the marriage state. If therefore she actually persists in rejecting my suit, perhaps it were better not to force her into accepting me, because if liable to such defects of temper, she could not contribute much to my felicity." (20.4)
Mr. Collins wants to be happy when he's married. Fair enough. But he doesn't seem overly concerned—or, well, concerned at all—about his wife's happiness. Obvi. That's totally not the point.
"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.