We first hear of Mr Collins, one of Mr Bennet's distant cousins, in a letter
addressed to the family living in the house which after Mr Bennet's death will
become his own. In this letter he sounds very pompous, irrelevantly
reiterating and repeating the name of his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
Mr Collins is honest that he has an ulterior motive for wanting to stay at
Longbourn: he wishes to take the hand of one of the Bennet sisters in a
marriage which would ensure that at least one daughter of Mr Bennet would
remain comfortable, living at Longbourn as 'Mrs Collins'. He does not ask to
stay at Longbourn, he expects his stay to be welcomed, and even desired, by
the Bennet family. "I remain, dear sir, with respectful compliments to your
lady and daughter": this quote shows how ingratiating Mr Collins is: a side of
his character which the reader sees more readily during the rest of the novel.
Having previously thought Mr Collins was an "odious man", Mrs Bennet is
quick to change her mind after Mr Collins made compliments towards her
daughter (and herself) in the letter.
Upon arrival at Longbourn Mr Collins assures that "the young ladies I come
prepared to admire". The word 'prepared' in this quote gives the implication
that Mr Collins does nothing in a rash manner and has everything planned in
what appears to be quite a sly way. Once inside the house Mr Collins begins
to commend each and every item of furniture within it. Mrs Bennet would on
any other occasion have been delighted at this, but she knows that when Mr
Collins entails the estate all that he admires will be his own. Mr Collins
believes that by ingratiating Mrs Bennet about her house he will please her,
but this begins to vex her a fair deal. "The girls were not the only objects
Mr Collins desire", here we can see that Mr Collins views the girls as nothing
more than materialistic, as objects.
By the evening, Mr Collins is getting somewhat tiresome as he "eloquently
praises" his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, with great vivacity and
unstoppable determination. "Lady Catherine was reckoned proud by many
people"; Mr Collins cannot see that Lady Catherine is proud because he is
proud himself and rates Lady Catherine very highly: perhaps high enough to
warrant a little, or is Lady Catherine's case a lot, of pride. Mr Collins is
very much in awe of Lady Catherine - another reason why he does not see her
as other do. Mr Collins informs Mrs Bennet that he lives near Lady Catherine
is his "humble abode". He is trying to make himself sound more lowly than
he really is. He uses the phrase "humble abode" to demean himself and
elevate Lady Catherine. "I am happy on every occasion to offer those delicate
little compliments which are always acceptable to ladies", it is obvious by
that Mr Collins is ingratiating with every woman he meets. His
complimentary manner is usually planned, but he gives it "as unstudied an air
as possible". Mr Bennet is quite amused by Mr Collins and realises...