Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?
– Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 56. Lady Catherine de Bourgh admonishes Elizabeth over the idea of her marrying Mr. Darcy. Displaying her extreme snobbery and vanity, Lady Catherine travels all the way from her estate to the Bennets’ home to ensure that her pure family blood is not "polluted" by what she sees as an unthinkable alliance between her nephew and Bennets with their inferior blood. This is the fuller quote from the desperate lady: "Not so hasty, if you please. I have by no means done. To all the objections I have already urged, I have still another to add. I am no stranger to the particulars of your youngest sister’s infamous elopement. I know it all: that the young man’s marrying her was a patched-up business, at the expence of your father and uncle. And is such a girl to be my nephew’s sister? Is her husband, is the son of his late father’s steward, to be his brother? Heaven and earth – of what are you thinking? Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?"