Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Mr. Collins Quotes
"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)
Who needs love sonnets when you can have a numbered list? Here, Mr. Collins enumerates the reasons he wants to marry—and when those are checked off, then it's time to use "the most animated language," i.e. actually tell Lizzy he loves her. Which he obviously doesn't. Ugh, has anyone seen our barf bag?
"Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about your apparel. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us which becomes herself and her daughter. I could advise you merely to put on whatever of your clothes is superior to the rest—there is no occasion for anything more. Lady Catherine will not think the worse of you for being simply dressed. She likes to have the distinction of rank preserved." (29.6)
In other words, Lady Catherine likes to look socially superior to her guests. That's a bit vain…
"My dear Miss Elizabeth, […] permit me to say, that there must be a wide difference between the established forms of ceremony amongst the laity, and those which regulate the clergy; for, give me leave to observe that I consider the clerical office as equal in point of dignity with the highest rank in the kingdom—provided that a proper humility of behaviour is at the same time maintained. […]" And with a low bow he left her to attack Mr. Darcy. (18.57)
Lizzy tries to convince Mr. Collins that Mr. Darcy really, really doesn't want to meet him, but Collins mansplains to her that "rank" doesn't mean the same thing to clergy that it does the rest of the world. Sure. That may be true, but annoying is annoying is annoying, no matter what your title.