Renee Olsthoorn

Bed of roses

Renée Olsthoorn

Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mrs. Collins Take a Stroll...

...About Buzzing Bees and Busy Bodies  

Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are on the verge of leaving Rosings Park for London and they call on the parsonage to bid the Hunsford party farewell. To Mr. Darcy's great relief Elizabeth is not there and he takes his leave as soon as propriety allows. The Colonel insists on waiting for her and, to kill the time, he proposes to take a stroll about the garden. Since Lady Catherine expects Mr. Collins to show her the sermon for next Sunday's service that very afternoon and Maria Lucas wishes to write a letter to her parents, they prefer to remain inside to apply themselves to their respective occupations. However, Charlotte is most willing to oblige and accompanies the colonel on his stroll.

Anthony Calf as Colonel Fitzwilliam in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice

Whilst enjoying their stroll about Mr. and Mrs. Collins's garden, Colonel Fitzwilliam, who was perfectly ignorant as far as botany is concerned, expressed his wish to know more on the garden's treasures and infected by his genuine interest and enthusiasm, Charlotte delighted in answering all his questions. She taught him the names of the great variety of flowers, ferns and shrubs and explained the various fruits and vegetables in the kitchen garden that her husband grew with so much devotion. 

`Pray, Mrs. Collins, would you be willing to enlighten me on the art of keeping bees? Your beehives intrigue me exceedingly. I hardly know anything about these fierce little creatures except that they can sting and produce honey. Oh, and I would very much like to have a look at Mr. Collins's orchids in the greenhouse he told me about. Would that be possible?' Asked the Colonel in his well-known agreeable and easy manner.

`By all means, Colonel Fitzwilliam, but we must protect ourselves against these useful buzzing little beasts first. Even though they are not aggressive, we should not take the risk to be stung. Pray, allow me to go and fetch the bee-keeper's hoods.'

Oh my, what in the world is happening to me, Charlotte pondered confused. Since I have made the acquaintance of the Colonel but a few weeks ago, every time he opens his mouth and looks at me with those dazzling bright blue eyes, my heart jolts, my stomach shrinks into a tight, tense ball, and I could not even start describing what I feel in the nether parts of my body as this feeling - a rather pleasant one, I dare say - is completely new to me! Besides, when he addresses me, the strangest answers come to my mind and I do not seem to be able to control them!

Lucy Scott as Charlotte Lucas in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice

As she helped the Colonel arrange the veil of his hood, Charlotte noticed that her hands were trembling a little and she felt a flush rising up from her neck to her face when he looked into her eyes through their mutual veils.

Did he wink whilst I was arranging his hood? No, that is impossible! I dearly hope he will not see my flushed cheeks...

`Colonel Fitzwilliam, our bees produce a delicious kind of honey that I would love to feed to you...' What am I saying! `Umm, I mean, of which Mr. Collins and I would very much like to offer you a jar,' Charlotte hastily and nervously corrected herself.

`You are very kind, Mrs. Collins. I am most anxious to taste your sweetness... umm I mean, your undoubtedly delicious, sweet honey... erm, yes.' The Colonel blushed.

Damnation, what is going on here, he mused. Mrs. Collins definitely has a strange effect on me. Quite involuntarily I winked at her, and now this slip of the tongue! And did not she have one too? Feed me honey? Hmmm, what an enticing idea! A little honey on both our tongues and slip away.... - Stop it man! You are dealing with a married woman here. - Indeed I am, but the poor woman! She is married to a toad! - She is, old boy, but that does not alter the fact that she is a respectable, married woman. Pray, keep your thoughts in check and your imagination under good regulation!

Upon their arrival at the beehives, Charlotte started her explanations and raising her voice in order to make herself audible above the noise of the buzzing bees, she said: `Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Collins keeps the Apis Mellifica, the common honeybee, like most beekeepers do. The bees live in colonies and each colony is a family unit, as it were, comprising of a single egg laying female, the queen, and her sterile daughters, the workers. The drones, the males, are reared only at the time of the year when their presence is required for umm... mating purposes,' Charlotte concluded colouring, all of a sudden wishing she was a queen bee surrounded by handsome drone soldiers with drawn sabres.

What am I thinking! Charlotte unconsciously shook her head, utterly surprised about her bizarre, uncontrollable thoughts.

`Mrs. Collins, in which period of the year is the presence of the drones required?' asked the Colonel, looking at Mrs. Collins and indecorously imagining his companion being in need of his presence for mating purposes.

`In the summer, Colonel Fitzwilliam, but there are several flows in a year. When the weather is mild the queen can start laying eggs from January.' A furiously blushing Charlotte answered, who imagined the Colonel as the impregnator of one of her eggs.

`The interesting thing is,' she hastily continued, desperately attempting to stow away her shocking thoughts, `That a colony is remarkably well organized and the tasks between the workers clearly divided. There is a very strict hierarchy.'

Oh, this is just like me, Charlotte thought, Well-organized! How very unromantic. I hope this does not sound too tedious to the Colonel. But why would I wish him to have a different opinion of me? Indeed, this is all very confusing and vexing.

`The information you provide me with is fascinating, to be sure, Mrs. Collins. As a matter of fact, the structure and population of a beehive reminds me of the army: a well-organized, hierarchical organization where everybody knows his place and duties. I like that, I have a profound dislike of disorderly situations.

Maybe that is why you are so appealing to me... erm...  `After all, I am not a military man for nothing,' Colonel Fitzwilliam archly replied, casting her the friendliest of glances, which coaxed a sigh of contentment from Charlotte.

`Indeed, Sir. Well, I should add, that the fate of the strongest drones is rather sad. But ten of the vital drones are allowed to... umm ma... mate with the queen high up in the air during which she receives millions and millions of... umm sp... sp... sperm cells that last all her life. However, the price they have to pay for this... umm `honour'' is high: after having... umm impreg... impregnated the queen bee they die.' Charlotte stammered, furiously blushing and failing completely in her attempt to appear unaffected by revealing this perfectly normal phenomenon of nature.

`Mrs. Collins, I cannot tell you how happy I am to be a human being and not a drone!' cried the Colonel laughing, immediately sensing that he might have made a rather daring, if not unsuitable observation in the presence of a woman. Watching her eyes furtively, the Colonel saw that she had lowered them and coloured, which he could easily see through her veil. However, he was certain to perceive a faint, arch smile on her lips.

This is getting out of hand. I must restrain myself. But how lovely she looks, how becoming those flushed cheeks! I wonder if the colouring continues down to her brea... hem! I believe it is high time now to stop talking about the mating of bees, and concentrate instead on the relatively innocent subject of flowers, even though orchids remind me of the female organ...! Enough is enough, man!

The Colonel cleared his throat and asked in a somewhat strangled voice: `Mrs. Collins, thank you so much for this gripping intelligence. So far I did not know anything about the lives of bees, and was rather unaware of how miraculously nature is organized. Would you care to show me the greenhouse now? I am most anxious to admire your orga... umm orchids.'

Having just made yet another slip of the tongue, the Colonel pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the pearls of sweat off his forehead, taking a deep breath. 

`By all means, Colonel Fitzwilliam, please follow me,' replied Charlotte, taking off the hood when they were out of reach of the bees. She was a little embarrassed at the Colonel's faux pas, even though she was not even certain if she had heard him rightly. 

As the Colonel followed her example, they walked in the direction of the greenhouse. Upon their arrival in the small warm, humid glass building at the south side of the parsonage, Charlotte all of a sudden felt a little faint.

Presumably this was not the result of the extremely warm and moist air in the greenhouse, but of the Colonel's nearness and the whirlwind of emotions he incited in her. And so Charlotte informed him that she had to sit down for a while so as not to pass out. I could do with Mrs. Bennet's smelling salts for once, Charlotte mused slightly amused, fanning herself with her hands.

`Mrs. Collins, are you unwell? Can I get you something? A glass of wine perhaps? You really look very ill.' The Colonel asked with genuine concern, seating himself next to her and taking her hand between both his.

`No, not at all, Colonel Fitzwilliam, there is nothing the matter with me. I am a little tired, that is all,' Charlotte replied looking at her hand in his. 

Subtly withdrawing his hands, the Colonel started talking about his mother's greenhouse and how she would admire Mr. Collins's orchids. As she listened to his pleasant, soft and melodious voice Charlotte's eyes grew heavy and, to the Colonel's delight - as well as his embarrassment, she slowly dozed off, her head falling aside against his shoulder...

Come with me, Charlotte, my love, let us take a stroll through the grove, it is such a beautiful day. You really should go out more, the exercise would do you good. Pray, take my hand and let me lead you.` 

Charlotte accepted the hand that was outstretched to her and in the direction of the woods she went with the handsome soldier in his impeccable, smart uniform, his sabre inserted in its shining sheath. 

It was a very hot day and the whole world seemed at rest. Nature did not feel like wasting its energy and there was no sound to be heard but the soft, melodious voice of her companion whispering endearments, their footsteps on the path and the buzzing of the bees above the flowerbeds.

`I will show you places where you have never been before my Charlotte, my love, my angel, my honey-sweet treasure.'

Am I dreaming? Charlotte wondered. I feel like floating and nobody ever talked to me so romantically. I can almost taste the sweetness of the words on my tongue. This cannot be, I am not romantic, I never was, I cannot dream dreams like this. It is impossible. Besides, I cannot dream that I am dreaming!

Charlotte's confusion was complete. However, the voice continued speaking words of love and passion:

`Charlotte, my queen bee, let me be your favourite drone. I want to fly up in the sky with you, where you will accept my seed. Let me be your worker too and feed you royal jelly,' The soldier spoke whilst pressing soft kisses on her mouth. 'Come, sit with me and let us create our own hive,' he continued, whilst spreading out a blanket with a honeycomb pattern on the deliciously fragrant moss under an oak tree.

Pulling her on his lap, Charlotte could feel his erect manhood against her hip and the rush that went through her intimate parts provoked a moan of enjoyment from her lips. When the soldier started to kiss her again she groaned and arched her body even closer to his. `Take me handsome soldier,` she whispered, `Show me that there is more to breeding than a profusely sweating repellent man who talks but nonsense, who paws me with his clammy hands and spills his seed in me whilst almost suffocating me with his bad breath. Touch me, kiss me, mate with me,` Charlotte whispered, her breasts rising with every intake of her breath, drops of perspiration appearing on her forehead.

`We will not mate, my fairy queen, let us not animalise our imminent joining. I will love you as you have never been loved before and take you to heights of pleasure you would never have dreamt existed,' replied the handsome soldier, whereupon he gently laid her on her back and started kissing her softly on the lips before opening her mouth with his tongue. After tenderly stroking and kneading her breasts, his hand lowered to her ankles to lift her skirts and petticoats till her most intimate parts were exposed. This sight incited the soldier to exclaim, with a catch in his voice from sheer wonderment and delight, that he had never seen such a beautiful orchid in his life. `Allow me to taste your nectar,' He said and commenced kissing and tasting her folds.

Charlotte almost screamed with pleasure. `Oh, this is heavenly, soldier,' she moaned, `Pray, do not tarry! I want you to draw your sabre and insert it in my womanliness now...` And with trembling hands she opened his breeches to free his masculinity in all its erect glory.

And then the soldier gently entered her body, whilst thoroughly tasting the inside of her mouth. When he started to move inside of her and his movements gradually became faster, Charlotte's moaning grew louder and louder. And when she found her release for the first time in her life, she could not help screaming with delight: `Oh, my, dear soldier, this must be one of the forbidden carnal pleasures my husband endlessly whines about in his utterly soporifically dull sermons! I never comprehended of what he was speaking, but now I know, I am so happy, I thank you!' 

The sounds of obvious enjoyment that Mrs. Collins made in her sleep, and the wild movements of her head that accompanied them aroused the Colonel to such an extent that the magnitude of his member made his breeches feel extremely uncomfortable. When the pressure became well nigh unbearable, he heard someone open the door to the greenhouse and a voice calling: 

`Mrs. Coooooolllllins, oh, Mrs. Cooooolllllins! My dear, precious wife, my orchid, are you here?' 

The nausea the Colonel felt by hearing Mr. Collins' utter his `endearments' in his well-known obsequious manner, had one advantage, in that it made his organ shrink back to normal proportions, and to his great relief his breeches did not bother him anymore. Thus he could move again and immediately awakened Mrs. Collins.

`Pray, Mrs. Collins, wake up, wake up...! Your husband has arrived. Mrs. Collins, I beg of you!' The Colonel whispered in her ear.

`No, let me sleep on, my handsome, virile soldier, I must not awaken from this dream, I am not ready to give up this state of bliss as yet,' replied Charlotte whispering while cuddling up against him even further, stroking his chest with her hand. 

`But you must! Mr. Collins is looking for you!' The colonel said, desperately attempting to keep his voice down.

And when reality finally dawned on Charlotte, she opened her eyes and looked straight in the frightened face of the Colonel. `Wh... what happened? I... I must have fallen asleep,' Charlotte said utterly embarrassed, feeling the body of the Colonel against hers and vividly remembering parts of her dream, as well as the sensations it had provoked.

And, as if she were stung by a bee, Charlotte jumped to her feet, straightened her skirts and cap and, together with the Colonel, slowly walked towards her husband.

`Ah, Husband. I trust you finished your sermon in a satisfactory manner?' Charlotte managed to utter, followed by the Colonel who hastily said: `Mr. Collins, your wife was unwell and had to sit for a moment. What beautiful orchids you grow here, I am most impressed. Pray, accept my compliments.'

`You are very kind, sir, I thank you.' Mr. Collins said in his notoriously servile manner but with a rather suspicious look in his sly eyes, since he had not expected his wife to take Colonel Fitzwilliam to such a secluded part of the garden.

Collecting himself, he continued with an insincere smile on his face: `I am most grateful, dear sir, for the beneficence you bestowed on my wife. I trust Mrs. Collins did not take too much of your precious time?'

`Not at all, Mr. Collins, I dare say too little, as a matter of fact (due to a most unwished-for visitor in the greenhouse). Your wife is very proficient in the art of lov... gardening and I could have listened to her exclama... explanations all day,' the Colonel regretfully replied, frustratingly pondering when -- and how -- he could possibly fulfil his own unsatisfied, urgent need...




©Renée Olsthoorn


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