Volume I, Chapter XIII
"I hope, my dear," said Mr. Bennet to his wife, as they were at breakfast the next morning, "that you have ordered a good dinner to-day, because I have reason to expect an addition to our family party."
"Who do you mean, my dear? I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in--and I hope my dinners are good enough for her. I do not believe she often sees such at home."
"The person of whom I speak is a gentleman, and a stranger." Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled. "A gentleman and a stranger! It is Mr. Bingley, I am sure. Why, Jane--you never dropt a word of this; you sly thing! Well, I am sure I shall be extremely glad to see Mr. Bingley.--But--good lord! how unlucky! there is not a bit of fish to be got to-day. Lydia, my love, ring the bell. I must speak to Hill this moment."
"It is not Mr. Bingley," said her husband; "it is a person whom I never saw in the whole course of my life."
This roused a general astonishment; and he had the pleasure of being eagerly questioned by his wife and five daughters at once.--After amusing himself some time with their curiosity, he thus explained--
"About a month ago I received this letter; and about a fortnight ago I answered it, for I thought it a case of some delicacy, and requiring early attention. It is from my cousin, Mr. Collins, who, when I am dead, may turn you all out of this house as soon as he pleases."