Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Chapter 29 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
The dinner was exceedingly handsome, and there were all the servants and all the articles of plate which Mr. Collins had promised; and, as he had likewise foretold, he took his seat at the bottom of the table, by her ladyship's desire, and looked as if he felt that life could furnish nothing greater. He carved, and ate, and praised with delighted alacrity; and every dish was commended, first by him and then by Sir William, who was now enough recovered to echo whatever his son-in-law said, in a manner which Elizabeth wondered Lady Catherine could bear. But Lady Catherine seemed gratified by their excessive admiration, and gave most gracious smiles, especially when any dish on the table proved a novelty to them. (29.14)
Just because it's bad to be poor doesn't mean it's good to be rich: Lady Catherine is just as proud as her nephew Mr. Darcy, and (unlike him) she's also so conceited that she doesn't even notice that Mr. Collins is totally sucking up to her.
"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…
When the ladies returned to the drawing-room, there was little to be done but to hear Lady Catherine talk, which she did without any intermission till coffee came in, delivering her opinion on every subject in so decisive a manner, as proved that she was not used to have her judgement controverted. She inquired into Charlotte's domestic concerns familiarly and minutely, gave her a great deal of advice as to the management of them all; told her how everything ought to be regulated in so small a family as hers, and instructed her as to the care of her cows and her poultry. Elizabeth found that nothing was beneath this great lady's attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to others. (29.11-15)
You'd think that, as an actual aristocrat, Lady Catherine would have a lot more to care about the poultry. But nope. She's basically telling Charlotte how to keep house—which is pretty rich coming from someone who must have dozens of servants.