When Mr. and Mrs.Collins arrived home that evening from their outing, an unexpected sight met them.Seeing shadows through the window outside, and hearing voices, they walked into the front parlor. The room, in which Anne, William, Catherine, and their aunt Maria were chatting merrily, was full of laughter beside a bright fire.
"Shall you stay for dinner, William?" inquired his aunt of him.
"Well, you are most kind aunt, but I think I must be leaving." He rose from the couch, leaving Catherine's embrace.
"Oh, Will, please, stay!" pleaded Anne. Catherine looked her wishes, though she knew what he would say.
"You forget, sister- I have not yet seen our parent's informally," he replied in a low voice. "And I do not think now is the time, or here the place."
"Perhaps," his aunt speaking again," perhaps, they will not be so unforgiving as you think, nephew. My sister loves you very much, and I am sure cannot do without you much longer. This separation has exhausted her health!" William looked startled. Anne even, looked down in realization of what had caused her mother's ill health.Her aunt continued speaking. "If your reunion goes as well as I think it will, will you consider leaving Mrs.Murchin's boarding house, not only for dinner tonight, but until your family leaves London?"
The butler suddenly opened the door, and Mr.and Mrs.Collins entered. The room seemed to freeze.
"My dear son," and Mrs.Collins walked towards William, who was now standing, and embraced him. She had not been able to do any such thing when her husband and she happened upon him in the streets. William, who was taller than his mother, embraced her as he did his sister's.
Though he was now a man, he had been a boy when he left, and hardship and hard work had had to been gone through alone. He had lacked his mother's care, his father's guidance, and had been left to fend for himself, besides occasional assistance, in the beginning, from his aunt and uncle Fitzwilliam.
Mr.Collins now approached his son. Releasing his mother, William stood up straight, as if to put weakness far from him.
Mr.Collins put out his hand. William took it, his face somewhat surprised at his father's congeniality,and grasped it heartily. Mr.Collins could no longer conceal his emotion, and with a broken voice said, "It is good to see you, my boy."