Mr. Bennet's cousin, Mr. Collins, comes to stay for a week. Mr. Collins has the inheritance rights to the Bennets' house, and Mrs. Bennet fears that he will kick everybody out of it as soon as Mr. Bennet dies.
Mr. Collins expresses his hope that he will be on better terms with Mr. Bennet than his father had been. A Lady Catherine de Bourgh has become his patron, and he will be re-locating to that nearby parish.
At dinner, he compliments Mrs. Bennet on having such beautiful daughters. He is certain that she will soon be saying good-bye to all of them as they get married.
Mrs. Bennet replies that she hopes the girls will soon be married, or else they will be destitute.
Mr. Collins responds that she must be alluding to the entailment of the estate (meaning how he will inherit the house); he says that, though he must be discreet, he is prepared to admire the girls and will say more when they are better acquainted.
Mr. Collins thinks he's being vague, but everybody knows he's decided he will marry one of the Bennet girls. Which one will it be, hmm?
Mr. Collins praises everything – the girls, the house, the cooking. When he wonders which one of the girls was responsible for the delicious dinner, Mrs. Bennet corrects him, slightly offended, for she has a cook. Then he apologizes for a quarter of an hour that he gave offense.
Mrs. Bennet's negative opinion on Mr. Collins is rapidly reversed.