Hello all! I hope you are all well. Easter will soon be upon us and my work in progress is coming along nicely.
To whet your appetites I have a snippet from chapter 3 for you to enjoy! I look forward to hearing what you think!
By the looks of it, Lady Catherine’s venom is as strong as ever! 😉
(Please remember that the manuscript hasn’t been to the editor yet, this is the raw version.)
Take care and happy reading,
Lady Catherine felt faint. She had never been so insulted in her life. She was furious at everyone. Her maids attended her in her room and fled as soon as they possibly could, to avoid partaking of her wrath.
Mr Collins was to remove himself and his wife from Hunsbury. He had resigned in person, in the drawing room. Lady Catherine could not quite believe the audacity of the man. No one refused her benevolence. No one resigned from her service.
Lady Catherine’s chest felt tight and her breathing was uneasy. She felt betrayed and scorned. She replayed the conversation with Mr Collins over again in her mind.
“Lady Catherine, I am here this morning firstly, to thank you for your continued benevolence and attentions to my wife and myself.” Mr Collins bowed as he spoke. “Secondly, owing to my unfortunate accident we were visited at the parsonage by my cousin Elizabeth, the new Mrs Darcy.”
“I am very well aware of who visited you in the parsonage Mr Collins. I saw them with my own eyes.” Lady Catherine huffed.
Mr Collins looked uncomfortable as he continued. Lady Catherine wondered if he was intending to ask her forgiveness for having the Darcy’s under her roof. She determined not to make it easier on him. She wanted to hear his full apology.
“Mr Darcy has made me and interesting proposition. One which I have felt duty bound, to my wife, to consider carefully.”
Lady Catherine raised an eyebrow. This was certainly not the conventional method of apologising.
“I have come, it seems, to the attention of Mr Darcy and I am very sensible of it.”
Lady Catherine now began to doubt if an apology would be forthcoming at all.
“In short, he has made me the offer of the living on his estate of Pemberley, and after very careful and serious consideration on my part, I have decided to accept. I must therefore tender my resignation, Your Ladyship.” He placed a letter on the side table which contained his resignation in writing.
Lady Catherine’s face was a picture of disbelief. She sat and stared at the man before her. Had she heard him correctly? Had he truly resigned from her employ? She thought about what he had said for a moment. “You felt duty bound, to your wife, to consider the offer carefully?” Her voice started off at almost a whisper and increased in pitch until she practically screamed at him. “You did not consider then, what you owe to me? After everything that I have done for you and your wife! You selfish, unfeeling man!”
Mr Collins was astonished at her reaction, but for once stood firm. “I had no idea of Your Ladyship’s taking the news so badly. I believe that I have made the correct decision for myself and for my future family.”
Lady Catherine took a deep breath. “What care I for your family, Mr Collins? What do they mean to me? You have used me very ill indeed. How am I to replace you? Have you considered that?”
“As a matter of fact, yes I have, Your Ladyship. I have consulted with Reverend Oates in Westerham, and he has already begun to look out for an appropriate person for you.” Mr Collins’ triumphant smile slipped off of his face at the sight of Lady Catherine’s expression.
“How dare you presume to make enquiries on my behalf! What insolence! You assume far too much Mr Collins. This shall not be borne. You shall inform my nephew that you have reconsidered his proposal and cannot accept. I refuse to accept your resignation. You will remain here at Hunsford.”
For the first time in all the years that she had known him, Lady Catherine saw Mr Collins come within a hair’s breadth of losing his temper.
“Your Ladyship, with all due respect I cannot and I will not do that. I am heartily sorry that you are unhappy. Unfortunately, that is unavoidable, but I must put the future happiness of my wife and myself first above all else. I have accepted Mr Darcy’s offer of employment and I cannot be false to my word. I realise I am a man with little to recommend him, but I do have integrity. I must maintain it and will not go back on my word.”
This only served to inflame Lady Catherine’s own anger. “Insolent man! You have no respect for rank or person. Do you think that a mere clergyman can dictate to a person such as I? Mr Collins, do you think that I can so easily be crossed?”
Mr Collins jaw clenched. “Your Ladyship, it was not my intention to cross you, nor would I purposely injure you in any way, you must believe me. However, as I have stated, in the best interests of my myself and my wife, we are removing to Derbyshire. I recognise what is due to you, I am very sensible of that fact. Therefore, I give you one month’s notice and Mr Darcy has even made an offer of compensation to you. It can all be read in the letter.” He stood up and made ready to leave.
“Do you indeed? You deign to give me a month’s notice!” Lady Catherine’s face was so red that she could feel her cheeks burning. “Is that a fact?” She was shouting now. She was so angry that she did not know how to respond to him. Her mind was racing and she could not think clearly. “Well do not put yourself out! I would not wish to inconvenience you and your wife, Mr Collins!”
Mr Collins looked sadly at her and quietly said, “Good day to you, Your Ladyship.” He turned and headed for the door.
“Mr Collins, I want you out of the parsonage as soon as it can be arranged!” She screamed after him. She watched him close the door behind him. Snatching up the letter, she stomped out of the drawing room and went immediately to her bedroom to be alone. The tirade of abuse for Mr Collins that spilt out of her mouth was unintelligible. She was ranting and she knew it. Never before had she been left to deal with such a situation. It was usually the domain of men to handle such matters. Suddenly, she keenly felt Sir Lewis’ absence and sat down heavily on the chaise.
As the realisation hit her that she had told Mr Collins to go as soon as he could, she groaned. “Oh, what have I done?” She knew that her anger had made the situation worse.