[The Bennet sisters] were not the only objects of Mr. Collins’s admiration. The hall, the dining-room, and all its furniture, were examined and praised; and his commendation of everything would have touched Mrs. Bennet’s heart, but for the mortifying supposition of his viewing it all as his own future property.
When Mr. Collins first visits the Bennet family at their home, Longbourn, an undertone of antagonism runs through the entire visit. When Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, England practiced primogeniture, a law that real estate must be passed down to male relatives only. Because the Bennets have five daughters, the girls’ cousin, Mr. Collins, will inherit their home when their father, Mr. Bennet, passes away. During Mr. Collins’s visit to the home, his compliments about the home’s contents aren’t accepted positively by the family because they know Mr. Collins is coming to inspect his future inheritance, which is a sore subject to them. Because of primogeniture, if the Bennet girls aren’t married by the time their father passes, they could be homeless.