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Mr. Collins is ecstatic over the invitation to Rosings, for he wants to display "the grandeur of his patroness to his wandering visitors" and to show "her civility towards himself and his wife." He spends hours instructing the guests on what they are to expect and how they are to behave at Lady Catherine’s.
The company arrives at Rosings. They are greeted by Lady Catherine with an air of condescension designed "not to make her visitors forget their inferior rank." Lady Catherine is a tall, large woman who speaks in an authoritative tone. Her daughter is a sickly, diminutive creature who speaks in a muffled voice, but only to Mrs. Jenkinson, who fusses over her comforts.
Mr. Collins raves about the delicious and exotic dinner; Lady Catherine seems gratified from this overdose of praise. After dinner, Lady Catherine advises Charlotte on how to manage her house, her cows, and her poultry. Elizabeth is shocked at how the woman delights in dictating to others. She is also shocked by Lady Catherine’s many personal questions to her about her family; Elizabeth considers them interfering and impertinent and answers in a manner that surprises the smug Lady Catherine. After several games of cards, Lady Catherine indicates that the evening is over. Mr. Collins is eager to know Elizabeth’s opinion about Lady Catherine and Rosings. For Charlotte’s sake, she says the evening and the hostess have been pleasant.
Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine, and her daughter are all unlikable characters. Collins grovels before his snooty neighbor in a pathetic manner. Lady Catherine eats up his compliments and is rude to Charlotte and Elizabeth, showing that she is heartless and domineering. Her daughter is a diminutive, wispy girl who needs to be continually fussed over; if she were to marry Darcy, it would be a total mismatch.
Lady Catherine lives in an ivory tower and occasionally stoops from her gilded chair to entertain "social inferiors," such as Collins, Charlotte, and Elizabeth. When the party arrives, she clearly indicates to them that she feels herself superior. During dinner, she tells Charlotte how to run her life and asks Elizabeth rude, personal questions about her family.
It is to be noted that Elizabeth is the only person who is not intimidated by Rosings Park and its monarch. She dares to answer Lady Catherine’s questions in a way as to put her in her place, which adds to the humor of this chapter. Elizabeth shows once again that she is an independent woman who is not afraid to overstep social conventions and assert her free-will.