After dinner, Mr. Bennet gets Mr. Collins talking about his favorite subjects: his benefactress, Lady Catherine De Bourgh; her lavish estate, Rosings; and the invalid daughter who will inherit it all. Mr. Bennet sits back to enjoy the absurdity of Mr. Collins's hollow praise and self-importance.
Although a clergyman, Mr. Collins is obsessed with the worldly glories of wealth and rank. Mr. Collins himself seems to have no center. He lives only to please Lady De Bourgh.
Mr. Bennet invites Mr. Collins to read to the ladies. Offered a novel, Mr. Collins flinches in disgust and chooses instead a book of sermons. Lydia, refusing to listen to this, interrupts with bits of news about Colonel Forster. Mr. Collins seems insulted, but accepts the family's apologies and joins Mr. Bennet in a game of backgammon.
Austen uses Mr. Collin's distaste for novels to poke fun at the then-common prejudice against the immorality of novels. But Mr. Collins' readiness to play a board game instead of reading the scripture shows his shallow commitment to the gospel.