Skep's Place


Chapter 14: No Ado About Sermons

Over dinner, an amused Mr. Bennet asks Mr. Collins about his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and is rewarded with unprecedented levels of ass-kissery toward the woman, somehow portraying her as an individual who is both extremely elite and totally down-to-earth.

Then Mr. Collins begins to describe Lady Catherine's daughter, who is supposedly charming but too sickly to be anything more than a shut-in. Still, Mr. Collins is quick to point out that he regularly remarks to Lady Catherine about her daughter's noble bearing, saying it's one of the kinds of "little compliments" that please his patron.

Winking at Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet asks Mr. Collins if he comes up with these compliments on the spot, or whether he sits at home thinking them up in advance. Mr. Collins proudly admits that his compliments are often premeditated, but is likewise convinced that he says them in a way that makes them sound totally off-the-cuff.

Mr. Bennet is thus delighted that Mr. Collins is as ridiculous a person as he expected.

After dinner, Mr. Collins is asked to read to the others. He's offered a selection of novels, but he tells the Bennets that he never actually reads anything interesting, so instead he recites from a book of sermons. Lydia, who is awful, can't even sit through three pages before getting bored and gossiping about the soldiers over in the nearby town atop Mr. Collins' reading.

Mr. Collins is like, man, I just can't understand why young women don't want to listen to this stuff since it's so good for them. But he gives up anyway and plays backgammon with Mr. Bennet the rest of the evening.

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