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The next morning Mr. Bennet informs his wife that they will be having a guest for dinner. Mr. Bennet has received a letter from his cousin, Mr. Collins, who will inherit Longbourn after Mr. Bennetís death. Mr. Collins, a clergyman, hopes to reconcile the differences between Mr. Bennet and himself. He comes, offering an olive branch of peace, and hopes that his efforts will be accepted. Mrs. Bennet is perturbed over the visit and complains about the cruelty of "settling an estate away from a family of five daughters, in favor of a man whom nobody cared anything about".
When Mr. Collins, a tall, swarthy young man of twenty-five, arrives, he heaps indiscriminate praise on everything. He compliments Mrs. Bennet on her cooking and speaks highly of everything about the girls. In every way, he appears to be a peculiar figure.
Chapter thirteen introduces the reader to Mr. Collins. Like the letter he writes, he proves himself to be a vain and stupid young man who utters preposterous things. He attempts to be flattering, but is clumsy and foolish. Mr. Bennet comments that he is "a mixture of servility and self-importance".
A central feature of Austenís style is that the dialogue of a character corresponds to his personality. This trait is clearly seen in this chapter. Mr. Bennet speaks with a tongue-in-check humor. Mrs. Bennet attempts to speak in long, flowing sentences, but she usually breaks them up with sudden interruptions. Elizabeth speaks in a lively way. Mr. Collinsí speech is pompous and contrived.
It is important to note that again in this chapter Mrs. Bennet shows her concern that her daughters will have no means of support when Mr. Bennet dies, for his estate must go to the foolish Mr. Collins. It is no wonder that she is concerned about them finding husbands who can take care of them.