"When I do myself the honour of speaking to you next on the
subject, I shall hope to receive a more favourable answer than
you have now given me; though I am far from accusing you of
cruelty at present, because I know it to be the established
custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application, and
perhaps you have even now said as much to encourage my suit
as would be consistent with the true delicacy of the female
"Really, Mr. Collins," cried Elizabeth with some warmth, "you
puzzle me exceedingly. If what I have hitherto said can appear
to you in the form of encouragement, I know not how to express
my refusal in such a way as to convince you of its being one."
"You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear cousin, that
your refusal of my addresses is merely words of course. My
reasons for believing it are briefly these: It does not appear
to me that my hand is unworthy your acceptance, or that the
establishment I can offer would be any other than highly
desirable. My situation in life, my connections with the family
of de Bourgh, and my relationship to your own, are circumstances
highly in my favour; and you should take it into further
consideration, that in spite of your manifold attractions, it is
by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be
made you. Your portion is unhappily so small that it will in
all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable
qualifications. As I must therefore conclude that you are not
serious in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it
to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the
usual practice of elegant females."
"I do assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions whatever to that
kind of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man.
I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere.
I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in