Mr. Bennet died when Elizabeth was but fifteen. There was little money. Her mother was desperate. Mr. Collins was an awful, ugly man who mistreated the servants. But, he would marry Jane, and Jane - Jane would do what Mama begged her to.
Elizabeth would never let her dear Jane marry him. Never. Jane was too beautiful, too kind, and too good to be stuck with such a horrid man. To save Jane, Elizabeth convinced Mr. Collins to marry her instead. Six months later he died in a riding accident, and Elizabeth planned to never marry again.
Years later, when Mr. Bingley took Netherfield, Elizabeth met his haughty, clever, and handsome friend, Mr. Darcy. Even though he saw himself as superior to most of the local gentry, Elizabeth and Darcy quickly became fast friends. But as they grew closer Elizabeth’s terrifying memories of Mr. Collins began to return…
The nightmare always went the same. She could never throw herself in front of her husband. Mr. Collins would strike Lydia. Elizabeth struggled to move as the sound of his blows echoed: knock, knock. Lydia's tear stained face and accusing eyes were vaguely deformed. Action and speech were impossible, and her screams would not come. Mr. Collins's fist rose. Fell. She hurt when the blow struck. That awful sound echoed.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Collins awoke, soaked in sweat with a racing heart. The person outside knocked on the bedroom door again. "I'll be up presently," Elizabeth cried. The knocks ceased.
Elizabeth placed her hand on her stomach — she'd miscarried this afternoon. She mourned the child, but did not feel really unhappy that Providence had chosen to take him away. Motherhood terrified her: her husband would treat her child the way his brutish father treated him.
Mr. Collins became angry when he heard — very angry. Only once had Elizabeth seen him this enraged. He pushed his face inches from Elizabeth's, and exclaimed as she forced herself to not gag at the alcoholic odor of his breath, "I told you to give me a healthy son!"
His manner frightened Elizabeth, and tears began as she responded, "It is not my fault. I tried —"
"You disobeyed me. You may pretend otherwise, but it was disobedience. Disobedience. If you were a good wife this would not have happened. You owe me. Elizabeth, you owe me. You promised to never disobey. Remember?"
Tears rolled down her cheeks. Elizabeth frantically nodded. The memory of the day he extorted that promise made her sick with anxiety, "I did all I could."
"You should have done better. You should not have destroyed my child. You - you have not behaved as a wife ought. You must be punished. I do not know how — I must think on it. What you have done demands great severity." He looked down with a curled lip, "I cannot bear the sight of you. You are not sorry at all. You shall be." He walked to the door. "When I return, I will have decided how to correct this insult."
Mr. Collins left the house. Elizabeth nervously waited for his return so she could beg forgiveness again, but when he had not come home by midnight Elizabeth fell asleep in his bedroom while she waited.
Elizabeth stared at the door. He must have returned. It would be a servant sent to call her to the study so he could announce her fate. Elizabeth rehearsed a final time how she would grovel: he enjoyed it when she begged on her knees.
Elizabeth's pulse pounded as she walked to the door, her footsteps sounded eerily loud in her ears. Mrs. Hill stood there, her countenance grave. This was no mere summons to her husband. "What — what is it!" Elizabeth cried. Had he already hurt one of her sisters?
Mrs. Hill searched Elizabeth's face for an eternity, then stated it baldly, "Mr. Collins is dead."