The virtual book tour for Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley is wrapping up, but you may still have a chance to win a free copy if you hurry (see previous post, Launching without Getting Wet, for the full schedule with links). Meanwhile, it’s time for me to think about moving on.
I came across a clever blog post I thought you might enjoy (please read it here at Bas Bleu). The author of the article has taken on the job of writing dating profiles (or personal ads, if we think a couple decades back) for some of our favorite literary personalities: Miss Havisham, Mr. Rochester, Nancy Drew, Hamlet, Anna Karenina, etc. But the one that naturally caught my eye was Fitzwilliam Darcy’s, transcribed below.
Fitzwilliam Darcy –
Single man in possession of a good fortune in search of a wife to help manage my estates and serve as a respectable role model for my younger sister. I have little interest in dancing or the theater, though I do appreciate a pretty singing voice and a pair of fine eyes. In fact, I have no time for frivolities beyond the usual social responsibilities; I much prefer more intimate pursuits such as quiet evenings in my library, long rides across my vast country estate, and intimate tête-à-têtes with women of deep intellect and charm. You should know that I am fiercely protective of my friends and family and will do whatever is necessary to keep them safe.
Fits him, don’t you think? And the long rides across Pemberley and quiet evenings in the library sound pretty good to me. How do you suppose he’ll do with this profile? Some ladies may be disappointed that he doesn’t care to dance and spends most of his time in the country, but I expect that the hint to his exceptional wealth (“good fortune… vast country estate”) will overshadow the negatives and bring him a bushel full of responses. Would Elizabeth Bennet be among them, though? What kind of man does she originally have in mind? Remember, she liked Wickham far better than Darcy on first acquaintance. I think her ad might look something like this:
Elizabeth Bennet – A gentleman’s daughter of independent spirit seeks companion with open manner and amiable temper. Must be honorable, generous, and in possession of a quick, lively mind. He who thinks too well of himself and too meanly of others need not apply. As to fortune, I am not completely indifferent. Plain or handsome, one must have something to live on, after all. But my needs are fairly modest. Where there is true affection, I should be just as happy with a curate as with a lord. I love to laugh, to take long walks in the countryside, and to improve my understanding by reading widely. I play the pianoforte only moderately well, but I am often complimented for my light figure, my pleasing singing voice, and my ability to hold my own with the best in a joust of words and wit.
So much for Darcy and Elizabeth. I trust that fate will see they find each other in the end, with or without personal ads. But what about some of the less glorious personalities of P&P. Perhaps they’re the ones who truly need all the help they can get.
Reverend Mr. William Collins – On the explicit advice of my noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I now seek a suitable partner for my future life. She must be a gentlewoman, but not brought up too high – someone useful, who is able to make a modest income go a long way. Not that what I have to offer a wife is so small a portion! I flatter myself that any woman must deem herself fortunate indeed to acquire by marriage, in addition to a competent living and a comfortable home, the notice and kindness of one of the greatest ladies in the land! And there is the expectation of a tidy estate in Hertfordshire as well, when my cousin, who is without heir, should die. Duty requires that I presently offer to make the family some amends. But, after that, my conscience will be clear and I shall be free to chuse for myself.
Miss Caroline Bingley – Statuesque lady, who has graced the finest drawing rooms of London and Derbyshire, desires to do the same in yours. I possess all the usual accomplishments (music, dance, and the modern languages) as well as that certain indefinable something in air that testifies to style and good breeding. The first blush may be off the rose, but is not the flower the lovelier for being a bit more fully in bloom? Money and position are of the highest consideration; affection no doubt will follow. Even failing that, I see no reason why the partnership should be unsuccessful. If all my longstanding hopes in a different quarter come to nothing – something likely to be soon determined – I shall then be willing to entertain other offers.
But is there someone else secretly desiring to find a mate? Someone very unlikely, and yet perhaps lonely?
Lady Catherine de Bourgh – Widow of excellent fortune and noble birth is willing to consider a second liaison, if the situation is right. I must say at the outset that my standards are extremely high. I am accustomed to having my way and the very best of everything. I see no reason to accept less than that in a husband. I lack nothing as to wealth, position, and autonomy. And let me be rightly understood; I will surrender none of these to marriage. My first husband learned these things by degrees, but I have no intention of being so patient a second time. Still, I can appreciate that an intelligent, entertaining companion could be of service at my time of life. If you have what is required, send application to my solicitor, who will be managing the preliminary screening for me. On no account should you have the effrontery to present yourself without a proper introduction.
What do you think? Is there any hope for these lost, lovelorn souls?
She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both… (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 50)