To Lady Catherine from Mr. Collins

Bees in the Rose Gardens 28-07-2011 by Karen Roe via Flickr.

Bees in the Rose Gardens 28-07-2011 by Karen Roe via Flickr.

This was the letter first found by me (Charlotte Lucas Collins) as I tidied Mr. Collins’s study one day when the housekeeper was occupied elsewhere and Mr. Collins was attending to his garden, watching for any news that he might be the first to convey.  

To my dearest Catherine,

How I long to call you such. I hold you in the highest esteem for your bounty and beneficence in preferring to me the honour of this valuable rectory within your parish. For all that I have to be grateful, owing most to you, I can think of nothing so gratifying as to reside so near your greatness. With the greatest of humility have I been able to extol upon your many admirable qualities; however, it has been my most ardent longing to expose myself to you directly with profusions of love.

Oh, that you considered as I do that the clerical office which I hold were as equal in point of reality, rather than mere dignity, with the highest rank in the kingdom. Then the lane that separates my humble abode from your expansive and lush Rosings Park would not present the insurmountable gulf, which relegates me to neighbor, liken to an onlooker of Eden.

From the moment you graced me with your deference to receive this position I could not staunch the admiration such notice and kindness from you elicited within me. That day you deigned to bless these unworthy halls with your presence it was as if an angel, nay, an archangel of distinction had appeared. Your approval served as an approbation and with unfailing duty did I see to the addition of shelves in the closet up stairs that you vouchsafed to suggest, which have proven a most wise. Why just this morning I inspected them once more by hand feeling the rough contours of the wood grain and thinking of you.

How I lament you should induce me to marry a woman that is but a shade to your glorious personage. Were I not bound by honor to such vows, nor you to such nobility I would throw aside all to fall at your feet. I pray you to know that I would never betray my true feelings lest they compromise so glorious a lady, nor would I ask you to demean yourself to accept my most violent affections. It is only my deepest wish that nothing existed to prevent such passion as I hold for you.

These recent months have tortured me to see you so displeased by those with no respect for your influence and favor. It has been agony to be separated from your beneficence, your bounty, and could not bare it any longer. Having returned to see you no less displeased has been to be without light. I would gladly serve as whipping boy under your firm application if it would but ease your ladyship’s distress. It would be as heaven to be the means of your pleasure.

Most devoutly yours,

William (for so I long to hear you call me)

After reading it once again I find the contents no less disturbing. Mr. Collins no doubt did not plan for it to ever be received by her ladyship, but I cannot help but wonder if by writing it he hoped that somehow it might. What would be the reaction should it somehow reach her? Is there a liaison I have missed in my managing of my marital affairs? These questions are the very ones I pondered when I happened upon the second letter just outside the garden gates, which I shall review Friday next, giving myself time to consider carefully all that must be considered.


The second letter discovered beyond the garden gate To the Darling Mr. Collins from Anne.


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