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Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to [Charlotte Lucas] must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative she had now obtained; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it. (22.3)
This reads as pretty shocking now, but back in the day, this was a very traditional approach to marriage. Basically, marriage was seen as a financial transaction that would hopefully benefit both people. When you look at it that way, Charlotte and Mr. Collins are actually doing pretty well for themselves.
"But my dear Elizabeth," she added, "what sort of girl is Miss King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary."
"Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin? Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, because it would be imprudent; and now, because he is trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, you want to find out that he is mercenary." (27.8-9)
Just like that, Elizabeth very neatly summarizes the catch-22 position of pretty much every man and woman out there trying to get married: if you look like you care about the money, you're a sell-out; if you look like you don't care about the money, you're a fool.
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)
Lady Catherine spends her money to impress, which is interesting considering how little she would seem to value the opinions of those around her. Still, clearly, in order to get a lot of people kissing your behind, you need to layout a load of cash.