Mr. Collins was an ignorant man, raised by an illiterate father. His university education did not expand his mind. His conceit came from being weak-minded and achieving prosperity very young.
He plans to marry one of the Bennet daughters as part of his reconciliation with the family. He decides on Jane until Mrs. Bennet tells him that she already has another suitor. He quickly decides on Elizabeth, second-in-line, and Mrs. Bennet highly approves. She is glad to have both of her eldest daughters with a promise of marriage.
Mr. Collins is driving Mr. Bennet crazy, never leaving him alone—even in his private sanctuary (the library). Mr. Bennet thus suggests that Mr. Collins accompany the Bennet girls to Meryton to visit their aunt.
The youngest girls are more interested in officers than in Mr. Collins, particularly Mr. Denny. Mr. Denny introduces them to his friend Mr. Wickham. Just then, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy ride up. Mr. Bingley was on his way to see Jane. Mr. Darcy pales when he sees Mr. Wickham.
Mr. Denny and Mr. Wickham escort the ladies to their aunt’s house but decline to come in. Mrs. Philips plans to invite them for dinner.
When they return home, Mr. Collins praises Mrs. Philips’ manners to Mrs. Bennet.