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Chapter 20 To his own surprise Mr Collins found his feelings towards Elizabeth had not dwindled Upon seeing her the following morning at breakfast he resolved to have her hand Her refusal of him he reasoned must be simply the female response to a marriage proposal for a refusal from her to someone such as himself was unthinkable Miss Elizabeth is he thought more stubborn and opinionated than most women It might require more to convince her Perhaps he had been overly formal in his address Perhaps his reasons had not pleased her being more about himself and the honorable Lady Catherine than about Elizabeth A second proposal one with new reasons one more personal was in order Finding Elizabeth proved more difficult than Mr Collins expected At length he walked about Longbourn and being unable to locate her he strolled out into the gardens where he found Lydia and Kitty sitting on a bench with Elizabeth The two younger Bennets were engaged in conversation involving much giggling and whispering while Elizabeth was detached and staring intently at the landscape Noticing his approach the girls quickly departed the bench and walked to some nearby shrubs where they undoubtedly hoped to overhear the impending conversation Her sisters swift exit broke Elizabeth from her thoughts and she turned to see Mr Collins advancing Unable to escape she sat up stiffly and prepared herself for what was surely to be another of his long speeches I bid you good day my dear Miss Elizabeth It pleases me to see you looking so well Mr Collins began as he sat down After much consideration I have determined my previous address may not have accurately conveyed my feelings or intentions towards you I understand it is a way of women to reject a proposal at first therefore I beg you listen once again this time to new reasons for our union Elizabeth saw no easy escape from the
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