Lydia Bennet Quotes

I feel myself called upon, by our relationship, and my situation in life, to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering under…No arguments shall be wanting on my part, that can alleviate so severe a misfortune – or that may comfort you, under a circumstance that must be, of all others, most afflicting to a parent’s mind. The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this. And it is the more to be lamented, because there is reason to suppose, as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this licentiousness of behaviour in your daughter, has proceeded from a faulty degree of indulgence, though, at the same time, for the consolation of yourself and Mrs. Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an enormity, at so early an age…Let me advise you then, my dear Sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offence.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 48. Clergymen console members of their flock who are in pain or difficulty in different ways. But Mr. Collins’s style is the most unique and strangest of all. On the matter of Lydia’s elopement and promiscuous behavior, he writes to Mr. Bennet to "condole" with him on his "grevious affliction." Then he suggests that the death of his daughter would have been a blessing in comparison with this. He goes on to insult the family, criticizing the parents for their bad parenting by indulging Lydia. Then he advises Mr. Bennet to disown his daughter. Austen is satirizing Collins here and being wickedly ironic. The irony is in the fact that it is supposed to be a consolation letter, but most of it is spent attacking the Bennet family.
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