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  • Writer's pictureJuilet Archer

To Miss Helen Fielding, on the reported death of Mr Darcy

14 October 2013.   A Letter from Lady Catherine

Dear Miss Fielding,

My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause such as this I shall certainly not depart from it.

A report of a most alarming nature has just reached me: Darcy, my favourite nephew (despite his unfortunate marriage to She Who Polluted the Shades of Pemberley), is deceased!

Even more alarmingly, he appears to have committed bigamy. I am told that his widow is not She Who Polluted the Shades of Pemberley, but someone completely different – formerly a Miss Bridget Jones. Needless to say I can find no trace of such a person in Debrett’s, which suggests yet another lapse of his judgement when choosing a wife.

If there is any foundation to this report, I demand to know every detail of Darcy’s demise; although I suspect that his watery exploits over the summer contributed. When I saw photographs in the newspapers of him disporting himself in the Serpentine (and, I believe, at other locations around the country), wearing only a shirt, I sent him a selection of family remedies to combat pneumonia and any diseases associated with public bathing. (I am excessively attentive to all those things.) No wonder he never replied – the poor man must have been on his last legs.

Which reminds me – he has obviously been suffering from a growth disorder, which could equally have carried him off: the photographs show him to be 12 feet tall!

Back to the report of Darcy’s death: what I find particularly outrageous is the claim that he has been deceased for five years. This could, of course, explain his long silences during our many conversations whenever he visited Rosings.  If, on the other hand, his condition has made it impossible for him to travel, which imposter has been taking advantage of my hospitality?

I am most seriously displeased, and send no condolences to either of my nephew’s widows.

I await your earliest reply.


Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

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