originally published on Darcyholic Diversions
The First Time Mr. Darcy Spoke to Me
When I was twelve, I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. My mother, may she rest in peace, was a great reader, and like the character of Marti in Love Comes Softly, Peggie Jeffers was a firm believer that books held great adventures. Because of her model, I have always read voraciously. Therefore, Pride and Prejudice was just the latest in a long line of classic novels in my reading repertoire. Or so I thought at the time. Little did I know that this novel would speak to me of how personal conduct can be seen as a bridge between private moral order and social order.
As a girl, head and shoulders taller than many of the boys in her junior high, I discovered a time when women were prided on their sense and men on their reasoning abilities. As I devoured each page, Mr. Darcy spoke to me.
He said, “I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these.” (I totally agreed with this idea. I have on more than one occasion said that I could live in a library or a bookstore and never feel the want of anything more than food and water and the occasional ray of sunshine.)
“Your list of the common extent of accomplishments has too much truth. The word is applied to many a woman who deserves it not otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen; but I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished.” (I admit to having no artistic inclinations. If Mr. Darcy detested those who feign artistic skills when none exist, he and I would do well together.)
“And to all this she must yet add something more substantial in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.” (Caroline Bingley had described a woman who could sing well, who walked with grace, and who spoke with elegance. I did none of those. I was a gangly seventh grader, but I was a READER. Mr. Darcy recognized my great advantage.)
“There is a meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.” (Woohoo! At last, a man who did not fall for a woman who batted her eyes and spoke in a syrupy tone. At age 12, I had had my heart broken several times because some idiot could not discern my true worth.)
Miss Bingley said, “I can guess the subject of your reverie.” To which, Mr. Darcy says, “I should imagine not.” (My goodness! I do so love the man’s tongue-in-cheek attitude. I often cannot resist delivering a deadpan response to someone who does not see what I do.)
“This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure. How near it may be to mine, I cannot pretend to say. You think it a faithful portrait, undoubtedly.” (Good! The man is no namby-pamby. He can be a bit testy when someone pushes him. That means he will forgive my sometimes very snarky remarks.)
“I have no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe too little yielding; certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” (I am from West Virginia. Did you ever hear of the Hatfields and the McCoys? Resentful natures are part of the makeup. LOL!!!)
“A man who felt less might.” (Enough said! Mr. Darcy’s passions run deep.)
“What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.” (Mr. Darcy would not permit his pride to stand in the way of finding true love. *Sighs Deeply*)
“If you will thank me, let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements, which led me on I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owes me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.” (AT LAST!!!! Although it was fiction that I read, I bought into the idea that a man would put the woman he loved first.)
“When I wrote that letter, I believed myself perfectly calm and cool; but I am since convinced that it was written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit.” (I have always been of the persuasion that placing one’s angry thoughts on paper is very therapeutic. I have also written more than one letter that I thought to be reasonable, but later realized they oozed contempt.)
And so my list could go on and on. Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy has been a part of my psyche for over fifty years. I hear the story’s lines in my head when I discuss politics or religion or romance. So, tell me, dear Readers. When has Mr. Darcy spoken to you?
Shackled in the dungeon of a macabre castle with no recollection of her past, a young woman finds herself falling in love with her captor – the estate’s master. Yet, placing her trust in him before she regains her memory and unravels the castle’s wicked truths would be a catastrophe.
Far away at Pemberley, the Darcys happily gather to celebrate the marriage of Kitty Bennet. But a dark cloud sweeps through the festivities: Georgiana Darcy has disappeared without a trace. Upon receiving word of his sister’s likely demise, Darcy and wife, Elizabeth, set off across the English countryside, seeking answers in the unfamiliar and menacing Scottish moors.
How can Darcy keep his sister safe from the most sinister threat she has ever faced when he doesn’t even know if she’s alive? True to Austen’s style and rife with malicious villains, dramatic revelations and heroic gestures, this suspense-packed mystery places Darcy and Elizabeth in the most harrowing situation they have ever faced – finding Georgiana before it is too late.
Website – www.rjeffers.com
Twitter – @reginajeffers
Publisher – Ulysses Press http://ulyssespress.com/