Hello fellow Jane Austen fans! This is the first completed item of fanfiction I have ever written. I would love beneficial criticism not only for my general writing but also in regard to the fact that I am no historian and do not have any strong familiarity with the British English language other than my enjoyment of reading it. If there is anything I can do to update the writing for my own progress or for the reader's enjoyment, please message me and let me know. Enjoy!
Mrs. Collins sat in her personal drawing room savoring, not for the first time, the relief it gave her from the consistent persecution of her husband's long-winded discourse he often subjected her to. The speeches were not, by any means, a surprise now nor were they when she was first married. Her best friend, Elizabeth Darcy, nee Bennet, was quite distressed at the thought of Charlotte marrying Mr. Collins. But Charlotte knew better. She was aged, much older than the brides that frequently graced the chapel isles with their presence. Mr. Collins had a standing in society, a home that was quite secure, a means of supporting her, and the wish to do so. He required a respectable wife to listen to him, to grovel with him towards their lovely patroness, and some one to offer him some sort of company. They were, as well as they could be, a match made in heaven.
It was quite normal, she argued, that a married couple not be in love. To be in love was the oddity. There are things, like respect, which are more than ample to make up for love in a marriage. This she and Mr. Collins had for each other. They did not always crave each other's company, but it was there when needed.
Through the open window in her parlour, she heard the sweet notes of a hymn wafting through the thin curtains that were dancing in the afternoon breeze. It was uncommonly warm and sunny out and her husband had taken advantage of the opportunity to work in his garden, which she never discouraged. It allowed her the house to herself. Today, however, the house seemed uncommonly empty and lifeless without his bold, and occasionally trying, presence. "Tea in the sunlight", she thought, "is what this fine day calls for."
Making her way toward the kitchen, she prepared a tea service consisting of two cups and a small snack of which included fruit, biscuits, and various sandwiches. All this she put on a tray, and taking the Good Book with her, set out to the chairs and tables in the shade nearest her husband.
"Mr. Collins," said she as she approached him. "I have brought some refreshment and you favorite reading material. Perhaps you might quit the garden for the present moment?"
"My dear Mrs. Collins, I would be delighted. Those sandwiches look absolutely delightful and the tea would be a welcome cure for my dry throat."
They sat there, immersed in the rare moment that occasionally passed when they both of them simultaneously favoured each other's company. " Mr. Collins," said his lady to him, " perhaps I might hear a preferred excerpt of yours out of the Good Book?"
"Nothing would fill me with more delight than to grace your ears with His words as He intended," Mr. Collins replied as he reached for the book on the table, chose a spot, and began to read, his baritone voice filling the garden. "'Though outwardly we are all wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.'" *
Mr. Collins' voice continued on in that way for sometime longer, his tone drawing Mrs. Collins in to a light meditation. It was times such as these that Mrs. Collins was not simply content with her life, but was quite happy indeed. His utterance, she mused, was very welcoming and comfortable when it wasn't tasked with the odious job of expressing his overly drawn-out and unsolicited thoughts towards almost any person's ears, exclusive of herself. Indeed, when he was absent from company other than her own, he had the exceedingly rare habit of dropping all pretences of his character and letting his true nature show.
Soon, however, the sun began to droop below the horizon in a sleepy nature and the air took a chill to its winds, prompting Mrs. Collins in to drop her musings for the current moment and drawing her shawl tightly against her body, she addressed her husband as thus-
"Mr. Collins, I do believe the sun has begun to retire for the evening. Shall we not have supper and then follow its example?"
Mr. Collins, who had the inclination to loose himself from the world when reading, startled, looked about, cleared his throat and replied with, "My lady, I do believe such a plan is quite suitable to my person. Pray, have you the knowledge of what it might be that we are to supp on tonight?"
She answered him as she rose from the chair she had been occupying, collected the tea items, and started with him in the direction of the door. They supped together very amicably with surprisingly little converstaion from him and when finished, retired to the parlour for she held the longing to continue her embroidery, and he to finish a book selected for him by his noble patroness, the Lady Catherine de Bourgh. As the fire aged from a roaring youth to and elderly pile of glowing orange embers, Mrs. Collins looked about tiredly, set in its proper place her embroidery and bade her husband goodnight.
"Mr. Collins, I find myself wishing to retire directly as my body is quite protesting to its currently staying alert."
"My dear of course. I do hope you sleep well and remember, Lady Catherine has extended an invitation to tea tomorrow. It would not do to upset her Ladyship by being tardy as she has imposed upon me many times her upmost knowledge and thoughts on punctuality. Pray, will you kindly wear your blue dress? I dare say we will not be outshining Lady Catherine and Miss de Bourgh in all their finery and grace, but you are quite handsome to look upon in it and it would please me greatly if we were to strive to match their angel-like qualities."
"Of course, sir. I should never wish to be an embarrassment to you, my husband, and in turn, the Lady and Miss de Bourgh," replied she, kindly seeing through the obnoxious remark and separating the compliment to her from the need to be noticed and praised. She turned towards the door to retire to her bed when she surprised herself by glancing over one shoulder and inquiring, "Mr. Collins, your reading in the garden this afternoon gave me much joy and refreshment. Mayhap you might retire with me so that you can read more of His words aloud to me before I am taken over with sleep?"
"Charlotte, my dear wife," replied he, using her given name. "What a wonderful proposition." With that, the lamps downstairs were smothered so that from the outside, one lone light could be seen out of an upstairs window joined with a calm, low, and strong voice traveling out through the fresh night air.
"'For you know I have plans for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart…'"*1
Yes, Mrs. Collins was not simply content with her life. No she was quite happy with her situation, indeed.
Hope you enjoyed it! Comments are welcome. I will hopefully update this to include more chapters of my thoughts of what Mr. and Mrs. Collins' married life together might perhaps look like. Be on the look out for those!
(*) Corinthians 4:16- 4:19
(*1) Jeremiah 29:11- 29:13