Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Here’s another excerpt of my new Regency story. Mr. Phillips is reading the will. I’m unclear on details of what actually went into an entail, which is also discussed here, but it makes sense to me that the dower house and transportation bits would go into one. Remember that in this story, everyone is younger. Mr. William Collins is right about 20, and so his father is still alive and he’s technically a minor. The Mr. Collins mentioned as the heir is the father.
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“Let us get started then. I do feel it is my duty to inform you all that a notice has been sent to the heir, a Mr. ___ Collins, but he has refused to attend the reading of the will. I will not repeat what he said, but I feel that we can expect him any day to take possession of the house. I made it clear in my letter that he was to give the Bennet ladies a full month to make other living arrangements, but his language was so abusive that I am certain he will ignore me.”
“Is that part of Papa’s will, Uncle? That Mr. Collins give us a certain number of days to vacate?”
“It is actually written into the language of the entail, but yes, it is also part of your father’s last will and testament. Mr. Collins appears to feel that he is free to ignore that clause, but it is legally binding.”
“Well, then,” Darcy stated firmly, “he will be turned away until the thirty days is up.”
Elizabeth looked at Darcy, then at her uncle. Seeing a look pass between them, she was confident they had the matter well in hand. She would focus her attention to the rest of the document her uncle had before him. “Very good.” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Let us get on with it.”
Phillips smiled at his niece. “To begin with, I have letters for each of you, written by my brother Bennet just weeks before he died.” He passed a sealed missive to each of them. “His instructions were to give them to you at my discretion, before, during, or after the reading of the will. I have chosen, based on what I know of the current circumstances, to give them to you now. I would ask that you wait for a few moments to read them.”
Phillips looked at each face and, seeing agreement in every eye, proceeded. He read the details of Mrs. Bennet’s future income and living arrangements. She would receive an annual sum equal to the interest off her dowry, and move into the dowager’s cottage that was located at the back of the garden. She was to receive full access to the gardens, and a horse and carriage for her use. “This is also laid out in the entail, the part about the dowager’s house and transportation.”
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