Mr. Collins' American Cousin
"Charlotte, my dear," Mr. Collins cried as he rushed into her private parlor.
"Yes, what is it?" Charlotte replied. Now what has upset him so? she thought, glancing up from the desk were she was writing a letter.
"I have just received a letter from my cousin," he said excitedly, waving the letter about in his hands as he paced about the room.
"From Mr. Bennet?" Charlotte asked, wondering why this should agitate him, for he maintained regular correspondence with that gentleman.
"No, no, not Mr. Bennet. It is my cousin from America. He writes to say that he is coming to visit. He wishes to meet with family and see some of his father's old haunts." A chill ran up Charlotte's spine when he spoke the last. It is just a draft, she thought as she glanced at the window to see if they had been left open--both were firmly shut.
"You have never mentioned an American cousin, my dear," Charlotte commented, drawing her shawl more tightly around her shoulders.
"Of course not, my dear, you know that Lady Catherine does not approve of Americans. She considers them to be ungrateful upstarts. I thought it best to say nothing. But, how so ever that may be, my cousin is on his way here. It would not do to cut the connection, for he is very wealthy, by American standards. Besides it is my duty as a clergyman to welcome my family into my home. I am sure that when I explain all this to Lady Catherine, she will understand. For you know how graciously condescending...."
Charlotte interrupted, "Is he to stay here with us?" She hoped she had time to prepare a proper welcome.
'No, he has asked me to procure a house for him in the neighborhood," Mr. Collins was quite satisfied with the amount of the commission he was to receive for performing this task. "He is to arrive in a fortnight."
"My dear, you have not yet told me the name of your cousin," Charlotte reminded him.
"Why it is Barnabas, my dear, Barnabas Collins." He left her alone in the room.
"Barnabas Collins," she repeated to herself. She leaned back in her seat, and tilted her head to one side, exposing her long neck. "I wonder what he is like. I sincerely hope that he is much different than his cousin." The thought of there being two Mr. Collinses alive in the world made her shudder.
© 1997 Copyright held by the author.