At a private ball, it was customary to serve supper, and therefore some preparation was required.
White soup was a common, fashionable dish, made of veal stock, cream, ground almonds and egg yolks.
Recipe: White soup
The name means simply "town in the west", as ham is Old English for village.
A county in the southeast of England, Kent is the home of Mr Collins and esteemed his neighbour Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
Unlike the Catholic Church, the Church of England does not object to the marriage of its clergy. More recently, it has decided to permit female priests and bishops.
The scarlet coat was the distinctive clothing of the militia officers who so preoccupy Kitty and Lydia.
Rosings is the fictional estate of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, known for its impressive number of expensive glazed windows. It was depicted by Belton House in the 1995 BBC television series and by Burghley House in the 2005 movie.
For the ever curious, here is a book written in 1822: Quadrille elucidated, a historical, critical and practical treatise on this much admired game.
A phaeton is a small, light four-wheeled carriage.
As this is associated with the daughter of Lady Catherine, a small and fragile girl herself, there is possibly a comparison intended. The fact that ponies instead of horses pull her carriage also conveys the same impression.
Circulating libraries, or public libraries, started to appear in the early 17th century. They were designed for those who wouldn't have access to books otherwise. They provided a wide array of books, including the new novels that were rapidly gaining in popularity at that time. They also offered booksellers and publishers a new place to sell or lend their books. The association with poverty and 'frivolous' novels led people from the upper classes to look down on circulating libraries.
Mr Collins' approval of this book reveals his conservative, misogynistic view of women.
Backgammon is one of the most ancient board games. A similar game has been found to date back to 3000 BC.
Muslin is a thin cotton fabric.
A garment made of muslin was also often called a muslin.
Whist is a classic card game requiring 4 players and a standard 52-card deck. It rapidly gained in popularity during the 18th and 19th centuries.
A great many books were written on the subject, for example Whist, or Bumblepuppy? written in 1883 (after Austen's time). It was described by the London Sunday Times as "one of the most entertaining and at the same time one of the soundest books on whist ever written. Its drollery may blind some readers to the value of its advice: no man who knows any thing about whist, however, will fail to read it with interest, and few will fail to read it with advantage."