A Pride & Prejudice Fan Fiction Tale
Elizabeth and Jane stood by the rose bush, trimming off dead heads and gathering stems for a fresh bouquet. Their mother was in an uproar over some slight given by Lady Lucas, but they’d been able to quash the tantrum with the well-placed idea of repaying the disservice with an act of kindness.
Of course, Mrs. Bennet’s mind went right to turning the kindness into a plan for slathering on a layer of guilt, but Elizabeth was sure Lady Lucas wouldn’t see it as anything other than neighborly thoughtfulness.
“Cousin Elizabeth!” Mr. Collins practically squealed her name as he hustled their direction. His breathing came in short gasps from the mild exertion of crossing the lawn. “Cousin Jane, you look pale.”
“Now, Mr. Collins, that is nothing like your typical compliment,” Elizabeth chided with a wry grin aimed toward her sister.
Mr. Collins, completely unaware of the teasing, kept on at his regular pace of exaggerated, eloquent speech. “Oh, no, my dear. I only ever speak the truth, though I flatter myself that I usually have an unearthly–quite holy–ability to see past the falsity of outward appearances. Why, just a fortnight before coming to Longbourn, I had the most auspicious opportunity to expound on the hidden merits of Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s estate at Rosings. Did you know that in the manor there is the most quaint and spacious second parlor that is a hidden gem, with two fireplaces, only seen by those closest to her ladyship?”
“Mr. Collins,” Jane said, “I-I am feeling quite well, though I do appreciate your concern.”
“Oh no, my dear cousin Jane. You are almost as white as that sheet billowing in the breeze. I do insist you go into the house and rest yourself.”
“I imagine your mother would be unduly upset if you didn’t look well by supper.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” she acquiesced with an rueful look to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth had spent too much of the time during Mr. Collins’ long speech daydreaming about his absurdity to stop him from sending her sister away. Now she regretted it as Jane threw one more apologetic look, one tinged with amusement, over her shoulder as she glided toward the house.
Jane had set the basket down on the ground, but Mr. Collins bent to pick it up, sliding the handle over his arm.
“Ah, yes. I’ll be happy to fill in here while you finish trimming the roses. These will make a lovely arrangement, I do believe. I am quite certain that even her ladyship, that is Lady Catherine de Bourgh, my patroness, would find them quite delicate.”
Elizabeth’s eyebrows raised in answer as she snipped off a freshly blooming rose’s head and let it fall to the ground.
“You, dear Miss Elizabeth, are . . . ahem . . . as lovely as this rose,” Mr. Collins said, reaching for one of the stems in the basket.
Elizabeth snipped off another rose and shoved it into the basket, stopping Mr. Collins from retrieving the one he’d been about to grasp.
“Cousin Elizabeth, there’s something I wish to speak with you about–“
“Mr. Collins, I’m sure there’s nothing I might speak about that could be of interest to you.”
“Oh, but there is,” he said with deep conviction.
“I could not disagree more.”
Every time his hand reached to grab for a flower, Elizabeth would toss another into the waiting basket.
“It is in regard to something I think will benefit not only you and myself, but would be a joy to your mother, and I dare say even your father and sisters.”
The urge to run hit Elizabeth full force, but the outcry of her upbringing halted even her hands from cutting down another rose. To her utter disappointment, Mr. Collins must have taken it as a sign of agreement as he continued his declaration.
“As you know, I am the heir to your father’s estate, since you have no brothers. But, my dear Elizabeth, you mustn’t see that as a failing on his part or yours. I have come here, as I’ve said before, with plans to marry from within this household.”
“I like to think so,” he said, entirely missing the hint of mockery. He reached for the rose once again, but as he clasped the slender stem, a thorn pierced his skin. “Ouch!” Without a second thought, his finger went straight into his mouth.
Elizabeth did all she could to hold her laughter in. The sight of Mr. Collins sucking on his thumb was too much to bear.
“Mr. Collins,” she said around choking back her mirth, “you must excuse me, but I’m also not feeling well, and must go lie down. Please bring the basket in when you can.”
He pulled his finger from his mouth with a loud pop, but anything he might have said after that was too late, for Elizabeth had dashed across the lawn as quickly as her legs would carry her. If only the look on his face at that exact moment could stay with her for the rest of his visit to their home, then she’d never be without a reason to smile.
I gotta be honest. I’m a Mr. Collins fan. I love his character. I’ve read the book several times (enough I won’t admit to the exact amount), and I own both the Jennifer Ehle & Keira Knightly versions of P&P DVDs. Mr. Collins is well-played by both David Bamber and Tom Hollander. 🙂 When he says, “I flatter myself . . . ” 😀 ha!