Hello, dear readers! I am very excited to welcome back author Suzan Lauder to Austenesque Reviews today! And she is here to celebrate her newest release, A Most Handsome Gentleman, which features a #HotCollins, yes, you heard correctly, Mr. Collins is “incredibly handsome” in this latest tale. What a fun twist, don’t you think? I wonder if anyone will succumb to Mr. Collins’s charms now that he has a more pleasing face and figure? Today Suzan shares a lovely “deleted scene” from her new release where Lady Catherine and Anne de Bourgh meet Mr. Collins for the first time!
This isn’t the first time I’ve written a brand new vignette for Meredith’s blog, and I hope to continue the tradition with future books.
My apologies to Leslie, Nina, Gail, and Ellen, as they did not beta or edit this scene, and there will be extra commas.
This particular vignette is the recruitment interview for the handsome Mr. Collins by Lady Catherine and Anne de Bourgh.
A New Rector for Hunsford: Part One
The gentleman in front of Lady Catherine was tall and, judging from the manner in which his clerical robes hung loosely on his frame, a bit on the thin side. On the other hand, his posture was sturdy enough—rather like an old oak—though he was barely five and twenty. After a dauntingly complete set of questions intended to intimidate him into showing his flaws, he asked if that was all.
Lady Catherine adjusted herself from one hip to the other upon her throne-like chair before she dismissed him while rolling her eyes skyward. She could not help it. The man, Mr.—what was his name again?—had shown himself as a dreadful candidate. He stammered his goodbyes and turned to leave. Before he placed his plain hat on his head, Lady Catherine noted he had a large bald patch in his greasy black hair.
“What say you, Anne?” Lady Catherine asked her daughter, who was perched upon satin cushions in an elaborate cherub and dove carved seat next to her.
“Mr. Blather was knowledgeable about the affairs of being a parson and had a perfect Biblical quote for every question. But he is far too boring for my tastes,” Anne de Bourgh replied.
“He was timid as a church mouse, and an unattractive one at that. Did you see the size of his nose?” Lady Catherine was enjoying making sport of the poor fellow who had just left the room.
Her daughter was clever in her own way of skewering those unfortunate enough to meet with the disapproval of the two ladies. Anne giggled and nodded. “And his ears. For such a young man…well, I’d hate to see them once he is aged.”
“A cleric need not be so unsightly. In addition, I prefer a man who can state his opinions in his own words and show some original thought.”
“Yet he contradicted you at one point!”
“You noticed that! Dearest, what sort of pie-brain would disagree with his patroness?”
“One lacking in the right sort of wit, I should think, Mama.”
“Indeed. And did you see his balding pate? That would be so diverting during Holy Communion! I shudder to anticipate the giggles from amongst the parishioners whilst he is performing the service! It will not do.”
“Perhaps the next applicant will be more successful.”
“Yes. His letters of introduction are odd and mixed, yet he has written to me himself, and I admire the fresh mix of servility and self-importance he portrays. With my guidance, he could become just what Hunsford needs.”
“He is waiting in the saloon as we speak?” asked her daughter.
“Yes, and if you are prepared, we may as well go ahead with the interview.”
Anne nodded her approval so Lady Catherine signalled to the footman to show the next aspirant to the living at Hunsford into the parlour where they were asking questions to determine the suitability of each.
“Mr. Collins,” the name was announced just as the most handsome man in the Kingdom walked through the door of the parlour. He bowed exceedingly low to her then snapped up to his full glorious height before he bowed and scraped to Anne in turn.
One of Lady Catherine’s hands went to her touchstone, a large emerald in the middle of the choker that was a prize of the de Bourgh collection of jewels, whilst the other flipped open her lace fan in order to help cool her heated complexion. Could she avoid an apoplectic attack before she was able to speak again? Because her heart had stopped as she stared wildly at this uncommonly wonderful specimen of male perfection in front of her.
—To be continued on “Laughing with Lizzie” on October 31, 2017!
Thanks for hosting this little tidbit, Meredith. Readers, what would you think if you saw #HOTCollins at a job interview?
Oh my, Suzan! I think if I saw #HOTCollins for an interview, I would become extra nervous (hosting interview would render me nervous anyway). But with an attractive candidate, I think I would be even more nervous and probably forget half my questions! 😉 Can’t wait to see how Lady C and Anne conduct this interview! Thank you so much for sharing!!
Connect with Suzan
Meryton Press is generously giving away 8 ebook editions of A Most Handsome Gentleman in conjunction with this blog tour!! Woot woot!
Commenting on this post and entering through the rafflecopter widget on this blog enters you in a chance to win!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Meryton Press!
- This giveaway ends November 3rd!
~ A Most Handsome Gentleman Blog Tour ~
Thank you to Janet Taylor, Meryton Press, and Suzan Lauder for making this blog tour possible! Click the image above to check out the rest of the tour!