Dear Mr. Collins,
As a financially stable young man, my nearest relations have urged me to marry. In regards to my chosen marriage partner, I believe her to be the most modest, submissive woman, but she has experienced some rather unusual changes. She is pale and her rose bloom has withered. She even let her petticoat slip into the mud. I’m quite fearful she may have been stricken. Due to the recent outbreak of unmentionables, how would you suggest as a clergyman to avoid aligning oneself with the stricken in marriage?
Dear Strickenly Betrothed,
Please accept my advice as the most humble member of the clergy whose patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh deigns to bestow upon me the grace of her protection and this parish. My office as a clergyman does allow me to advise you in these matters. First, my dear sir, do not under any means make great haste to wed your chosen partner. For Lady Catherine has informed me, this plague upon us all takes several weeks to fully manifest itself. I myself was quite lucky that my own dear Charlotte was not so stricken despite our haste to wed.
Secondly, if your young bride does not show any signs of the great plague, then marry her provided she does not breach any forms of decorum. She should be quiet at home and under no circumstances fight along side men against the roving armies of the unmentionables. Only the most highly esteemed ladies such as my devout and obliging patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, should ever attempt to rid us of the plague.
Photo obtained through Flickr’s Creative Commons taken by a.drian.