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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 also looks forward to the day when he shall 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 Lady Catherine to send a joint of mutton to the parsonage, little does he suspect that tasty meal will be his last.

Mr. Collins's Last Supper: A Short Story Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the tongue-in-cheek tale of how a pompous clergyman discovers too late why gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins.

©2012 Shannon Winslow (P)2013 Shannon Winslow

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