Summary: Chapters 13–17
The morning after his daughters came back from Netherfield, Mr. Bennet informs his wife that his cousin that he has never seen will visit Mr. William Collins, who will inherit Mr. Bennet’s property. Mr. Collins is a clergyman whom the wealthy noblewoman Lady Catherine de Bourgh has recently selected to serve her parish. His letter as Mr. Bennet said contains “a mixture of servility and self-importance,” and his personality is similar. He arrives at Longbourn and apologizes for being entitled to the Bennets’ property but spends much of his time admiring and complimenting the house that will one day be his. At dinner, Mr. Collins lavishes praise on Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter, a lovely young lady who will one day inherit the de Bourgh fortune. After the meal, he is asked to read to the girls, but he refuses to read a novel and reads from a book of sermons instead. Lydia becomes so bored that she interrupts his reading with more gossip about the soldiers. Mr. Collins is offended and abandons the reading choosing to play backgammon with Mr. Bennet. Mr. Collins is in search of a wife and when Mrs. Bennet hints that Jane may soon be engaged, he fixes his attention on Elizabeth. The day after his arrival, he accompanies the sisters to the town of Meryton, where they encounter one of Lydia’s officer friends, Mr. Denny. Denny introduces his friend, Mr. Wickham, who has just joined the military, and the young women find Wickham charming. While they converse Darcy and Bingley walk by, and Elizabeth notices that Wickham and Darcy are extremely cold to each other. Darcy and Bingley depart, and the company pays a visit to Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Bennet’s sister, who invites the Bennets and Mr. Collins to dine at her house the following night. The girls convince her to invite Wickham as well. They return home and Mr. Collins spends the evening telling Mrs. Bennet how greatly her sister’s good breeding impresses him. At the Phillips’s dinner...
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