Alert Janeite Lisa noticed a familiar name in novelist Paul Murray’s list of Top 10 Wicked Clerics in literature:
5. William Collins in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mr Collins is one of Austen’s most brilliant creations, and his proposal to Elizabeth Bennet is a comic tour de force. After setting out his reasons — good example to his flock; vague sense of altruism; really though because his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, has told him to — he assures Elizabeth of the violence of his affections. When she refuses him, he refuses, in turn, to believe her, pointing out that this is probably the only chance she will get. Two days later, he proposes to, and is accepted by, her more calculating friend Charlotte.