Thank you! All your positive feedback on my previous post (Fitzwilliam Darcy: in His Own Words) really energized me. Now I’m off and running on what will hopefully become my next novel! – expanding on the Pride and Prejudice saga to tell the story from Darcy’s point of view, beginning months before the scope of Jane Austen’s original book.
So what was Darcy doing before he turns up at the Meryton ball, where he meets Elizabeth? Most of it is open for speculation, and I am very happy to fill in the blanks! We could learn a little something more about his childhood and his relationships with his parents, his sister, and Wickham perhaps. What were his ideas about marriage, and had he come close to taking the plunge before? (see previous post for a clue on this one)
The only situation in Darcy’s prior life that we know very much about from P&P is Wickham’s attempted elopement with Georgiana. Since this event falls within the scope of my work-in-progress, I took another look at D’s letter to E, where it’s spoken of:
Georgiana… was persuaded to believe herself in love, and to consent to an elopement. She was then but fifteen, which must be her excuse… I joined them unexpectedly a day or two before the intended elopement, and then Georgiana, unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, acknowledged the whole to me. You may imagine what I felt and how I acted. Regard for my sister’s credit and feelings prevented any public exposure; but I wrote to Mr. Wickham, who left the place immediately…
I wrote to Mr. Wickham? I hadn’t notice this line before. I was thinking Darcy had handled it with a face-to-face confrontation, as depicted in the P&P ’95 adaptation that I’ve watched a million times. So why would he have chosen to use a letter instead? Hmm. Since I was about to write that scene, I thought I should know.
So I posed the question to all my friends on our Austen Variations Facebook page and got some interesting and insightful answers: Maybe because it was more private. Maybe Wickham had already run away. Maybe it was to distress Georgiana as little as possible. It was simply more Darcy’s style. All good ideas.
Nevertheless, there it was in black and white: I wrote to Wickham. And since I’m only adding to, not changing, the original story, a letter from Darcy to Wickham I must write!
No problem; I love writing the letters contained in my books. It’s one of my favorite parts! But what would Darcy say in this letter? He must get his point across clearly and powerfully but without putting anything on paper that could be used against him or to soil Georgiana’s reputation. Here’s what I came up with:
You are a rogue and a scoundrel, sir, and if I could do so without harming others, I would immediately expose you to the world as such. But I swear that nothing in all of creation will constrain me if by word or action you should ever threaten harm to me or my family again. If you value your safety, you would be wise to remove yourself from the vicinity at once and keep well out of my sight henceforth. For I shall not be responsible for my actions if I ever catch you within ten miles of a certain person again. I trust I make myself clear.
Darcy doesn’t sign the note, but I’m pretty sure Wickham will be able to guess who it’s from!
What do you think? Why would Darcy choose a letter over a face-to-face? Is this about right, or do you think the letter would have contained something more… or less? What else about Darcy’s life before Elizabeth would you like to know and read about in this book? I love your creative feedback!
Audio Book Update – In case you haven’t heard yet, Leap of Hope is available in AUDIO! Murder at Northanger Abbey, which is in production now, should be ready by the end of October. And I have just signed a contract for Prayer and Praise: a Jane Austen Devotional. I’m hoping it will debut before Christmas!