Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Excerpt from Chapter 20
Mrs. Bennet rang the bell, and Miss Elizabeth was summoned to
"Come here, child," cried her father as she appeared. "I have
sent for you on an affair of importance. I understand that Mr.
Collins has made you an offer of marriage. Is it true?" Elizabeth
replied that it was. "Very well--and this offer of marriage you
"I have, sir."
"Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother insists
upon your accepting it. Is it not so, Mrs. Bennet?"
"Yes, or I will never see her again."
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day
you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will
never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will
never see you again if you do."
Elizabeth could not but smile at such a conclusion of such a
beginning, but Mrs. Bennet, who had persuaded herself that her
husband regarded the affair as she wished, was excessively
"What do you mean, Mr. Bennet, in talking this way? You
promised me to insist upon her marrying him."
"My dear," replied her husband, "I have two small favours to
request. First, that you will allow me the free use of my
understanding on the present occasion; and secondly, of my
room. I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as