William Collins (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) is a man upon whom the face of undeserved fortune has smiled. Despite his notable shortcomings of mind and character, he has secured for himself a comfortable living as the rector of Hunsford parish, and a humane and sensible wife. He can also look forward to the day when he will inherit a tidy estate in Hertfordshire. Until then, he basks in the rarified light of Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s patronage, a place where he can sample, albeit vicariously, the wealth and consequence he secretly yearns for.
Perhaps Mr. Collins should be satisfied, yet he cannot help hungering for a slightly higher style of living than his pocket currently supports. After all, a simple country parson cannot afford to put a fine cut of meat on his table every day… but his esteemed patroness can. When, over the strenuous objections of his wife Charlotte, Mr. Collins induces his noble patroness to send a fine joint of mutton to the parsonage, little does he suspect that tasty meal will be his last.
Mr. Collins’s Last Supper is the tongue-in-cheek tale of how a pompous clergyman discovers (too late) why gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins. The 5,000 word story also serves as a prequel of sorts to The Darcys of Pemberley, since news of Mr. Collins’s untimely demise opens that book.
Read an excerpt here on this site.
Both my entries in the Bad Austen contest were selected for publication in that collection of short stories parodying Jane Austen’s writings. It was released in November 2011 by Adams Media (available here).
In Miss Dashwood Gets Down and Dirty (a different take on how the sisters from Sense and Sensibility might have chosen to handle their romantic woes), Marianne urges Elinor to become more proactive in vanquishing her rival for Edward’s affection. Demanding, “Elinor, where is your fighting spirit?” she drags her more sensible sister to a sporting contest where Elinor can confront Lucy Steele face to face, if she’s not afraid to get down and dirty.
Woman of Wonder: This story about the origins of a super hero begins by parodying the opening words of Northanger Abbey: No one who had ever seen Wonder Woman in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine… But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of every disobliging circumstance imaginable cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a call to heroism in her way.
I’m toying with the idea of putting together a collection of short stories and publishing it as one volume, as soon as I have enough material. I’ll keep you posted on any progress there.