I Command You
Charlotte was most uncomfortable, she wished desperatly that her husband would find the strength to say no to Lady Catherine, but it was futile.
"My dear, we really must go, we cannot deny her ladyships request," he whined.
"Mr. Collins, my time is getting near and I really am not in the mood for anymore advice from Lady DeBourg," she said tiredly.
"She has asked us to tea, we cannot say no to her, Mr. Collins replied. Come my dear it will not be long and you will feel better after talking to her ladyship."
"You are five minutes late, Mr. Collins, roared, "Lady Catherine, you know how I deplore lateness, it is a sin to be late, when your betters have commanded that you arrive at a certain you must be there on the moment."
Mr. Collins bowed almost to the floor and wiped his brow with his handerchief. Lady DeBourgh was most upset with them,"I fear my dear Charlotte was unable to move as quickly as usual, she is very close to time for the child to be born."
"I am well aware of that, sir, do you think me a fool." her ladyship roared again.
"Oh no, your ladyship, indeed not, you are the wisest of women," Mrs. Collins, replied quaking in his shoes.
Lady Catherine dismissed him with a wave of her fan as she turned to Charlotte.
"Mrs. Collins I asked your presence her to talk to you about this child, if you have no sons who will inherit Longbourn Estate on your husbands death."
"The first born son of the Bennet sisters," Charlotte replied.
"And does any of the sisters have a son at this time," Lady Catherine demanded.
"Yes, Charlotte went on, Elizabeth has a son, Jane has two girls and Lydia no children as yet, Kitty has a son but he is younger than Will by five years, Mary has a daughter and a son but they too are younger than Will.
"Elizabeth, Elizabeth Bennet's son will reclaim the estate," Lady Catherine shouted.
"Elizabeth Darcy," Charlotte corrected quietly.
"Elizabeth Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet shall not inherit anything, Mrs. Collins, her ladyship said in a tight voice, her face so red Charlottet was alarmed.
"You will have a son, Mrs. Collins, I command it, I will not stand for another daughter in the parsonage, you will bear a son as I wish."
"That is out of my hands, and yours I fear, Charlotte answered.
"Out of your hands, Mr. Collins, I will not stand for your wife's impudence, this is not to be borne, I am not accustomed to being spoken to as this, you will have a son, do you hear me."
"Yes, yes your ladyship, my dear Charlotte is merely tired from the walk over here, she meant no disrespect I am sure," quaked Mr. Collins bowing and wiping.
"Why did you not bring the pony cart," her ladyship demanded.
"You said the walk would do her good," he whined.
"Well, take her home in the carriage at once, she must be rested for the birth of your son," snapped Lady Catherine. "She must cut off all relations with Elizabeth Bennet, I have told you this before, but since she knows that Miss Bennet has a son she must be disobeying my command, see to this at once, Mr. Collins."
"Charlotte, my dear, I beg you not to ask for anymore news of the Darcys from your mother, you see how it upsets Lady DeBourgh," Mr. Collins whined as they returned home.
Charlotte did not tell him that her news of Elizabeth came from the lady herself, folded into the letters she recieved from her mother. Mr. Collins had told her soon after their return from the wedding of Elizabeth and William that she must cut all ties with her best friend, but she refused and devised this way to recieve her correspondence and slipped her own letters to the Darcys into the post when he was at Rosings.
"Elizabeth is my best friend, and I will not abandon that friendship," Charlotte said quietly but firmly.
"But her ladyship will have me sent to another parish, one in the hinterlands if we do not do as she commands," Mr. Collins begged close to tears. "She has told me so on numerous occasions."
"Her ladyship will not send you away, you are exactly what she wishes in a clergyman, one who bows to her will at all times," Charlotte sighed. When her mother had informed her that the Darcy's were to visit Longbourn last spring she had told Mr. Collins that she felt it was time for them to visit her parents who wished to see their grandchildren. Mr. Collins, as she had expected, was fearful of incuring the wrath of Lady Catherine if he left at Easter time so she had happily gone without him, though he protested for a week before she at last escaped.
How she envied Elizabeth her strong, loving husband. Mr. Darcy was the most attentive husband she had ever seen. It was so obvious to all that he adored his wife and that she returned the sentiment in kind.
The Darcy children were beautiful and well mannered, not like her own whining sniveling three, who seemed to become more and more like their father as they grew.
She remembered how the tears had formed in her eyes as she watched Elizabeth and William walk arm in arm through the garden at Longbourn, like two lovers.
She for an instant had almost hated them but she shook off her mood and reminded herself that she had made her own bed, and now she must lie in it. She had married a man she neither loved nor respected only to escape being an old maid. Now she had come to loathe him at times but she made the most of it keeping as far as she could from him most of the time. He was too vain and stupid to notice and was sure that she was of all the women in England the one most in love with her husband.She had told herself at the time that she was not romantic at Lizzie was, but now she knew that she was mistaken and she yearned for a man like Fitzwilliam Darcy, but it could never be.
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