• Juilet Archer

To Mrs Wattlesbrook, proprietor of Austenland

9 September 2013.   A Letter from Lady Catherine


Madam,


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.


I have not visited Austenland, and I can assure you that I have no intention of doing so. Nevertheless, I am offering you the benefit of my expertise as proprietor of Rosings, the de Bourgh estate in Kent. Thanks to the sudden demise of my husband, I have been managing the affairs of everything and everyone connected to Rosings for many years.


First, although you claim to offer an ‘Immersive Regency Experience’, I can find no record of the existence of Austenland during the Regency period. Rosings, on the other hand, has a deep and absolutely authentic lake dating from 1812, and your guests are welcome to immerse themselves in it by prior appointment.


Second, I am astounded to hear that one of your visitors is Lady Amelia Heartwright, since the only true aristocrat of that name is long dead. Similarly, I have grave doubts that Henry Nobley, Colonel Andrews and Captain George East can produce any credentials worthy of my consideration.


Finally, I strongly advise against the introduction of a ‘budget’ package for your less wealthy guests. These people are servants, and should be under no illusions that they are anything more. I would be pleased to place any of the young ladies at your disposal in a suitable position within my extensive circle, which includes the noblest families in England.


And, since I am excessively attentive to all those things, I would grant the same privileges to your young men.


On that note, although she professes never to have visited Austenland, my daughter Anne wonders if you might be dispensing with the services of your stable boy, Martin. I myself see no occasion for riding anything with legs as opposed to wheels – although, had I ever learnt, I should have been a true proficient.


However, for the sake of her health, I permit Anne to circumnavigate Rosings park in a horse-drawn vehicle – provided she is accompanied by someone who can control the creature. Following her unfortunate encounter by the lake with the Reverend Collins on his bicycle, I do have a vacancy for a stable boy. And a vicar.


I await your earliest reply.


Yours,

Lady Catherine de Bourgh


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