Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 22. Charlotte Lucas has a very business-like attitude to marriage. Here she reflects on her marriage of convenience to Mr. Collins. While Elizabeth turned Collins’s proposal down, Charlotte accepts when he proposes to her. She is aware that he is not husband of the year material, being annoying and disagreeable. But she had always wanted to marry, as it was the only way educated women of small income could be provided for. Marriages like this, born not out of love but from the benefits it bestowed on both partners, were commonplace in Jane Austen’s time. Austen is using Charlotte to satirize how marriage was a necessary career move for many women of small means at the time.