Pride and Prejudice


Chapter 19 to Chapter 24

Chapter 19

Mr. Collins asks for a word with Elizabeth, and Mrs. Bennet clears the room so that the two may be alone. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. Elizabeth tries to get away before he does, but her mother insists that she sit and listen to what Mr. Collins has to say. Collins mistakes her squeamishness and dislike for modesty and applauds her for it. He lists the numerous reasons for why he ought to marry; the biggest one is that Lady Catherine has told him to. His reason for choosing a Bennet girl is related to the fact that he stands to inherit the Bennet property and that by marrying one of them, their loss would be that much less. Moreover, he does not even really propose as much as suggest that they are to be married. Elizabeth is forced to interrupt him to decline his offer of matrimony. He does not even flinch at this, but dismisses it as a custom of young ladies to decline offers of matrimony made by young men.

Elizabeth insists that she does not wish to marry him, and still Collins refuses to believe her, insisting in return that she is merely showing herself to be an affectionate coquette. Elizabeth, knowing no other way to show her discouragement than to leave the room, exits and resolves to enlist her father in her defense against Collins’ hand in marriage.

Chapter 20

Mrs. Bennet sees Elizabeth’s hasty exit and learns from Mr. Collins that she has refused him. He still takes it as shyness and modesty, but Mrs. Bennet calls her headstrong, and Mr. Collins begins to doubt the correctness of his choice.

Mrs. Bennet sees Mr. Collins’ doubt and begs to be allowed to consult with Mr. Bennet on the matter. Mr. Bennet calls Elizabeth into his study and tells her that if she does not marry Mr. Collins, her mother will never speak to her again. He then adds rather humorously that if she does marry Mr. Collins, her father will never speak to her again. Elizabeth is relieved by her father’s understanding, but Mrs. Bennet is given...

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