A Universally Acknowledged Truth
Time to share another one of the guest blogs written for the My Dearest Mr. Darcy virtual tour. This one was for Seductive Musings and I chose to talk about marriage as it was in the long ago days of yore! Enjoy…..
Perhaps I am unusual, but I have always felt a bit sorry for Mrs. Bennet. Her flaws and failings are numerous, and most entertaining within the cinema adaptations, but she truly did have a rough occupation: Marrying off five daughters! Our modern eyes look at this dilemma and can’t quite comprehend why this would send someone into a nervous frazzle. I am also probably a bit unusual in that while I do applaud Lizzy Bennet for refusing the ridiculous Mr. Collins and arrogant Mr. Darcy, I also recognize that she was rather stupid. From a certain point of view!
A woman in the early years of the nineteenth century had few choices in life and was completely vulnerable. Securing a man who would protect and provide for her, and possibly her family, was the wise choice. We shudder at this reality, and I am sure there were many ladies of that time who did as well, but for most it simply was the way of it. Thus Mrs. Bennet was merely doing her job in focusing her energies on landing suitable mates for her daughters. And Lizzy was not particularly smart to refuse two worthy men. From a certain point of view!
We do not know if Jane Austen intimately knew how it felt to love a man, but we do know that never marrying created a situation of extreme hardship for her, her sister, and her mother. The beauty of Austen’s novels is that her heroines not only marry men who are financially and socially established, but are also men that they love. Debates rage on whether Jane was content in her chosen path not to marry and I doubt the mystery will ever be solved. Yet clearly she, like the romantics of that day, believed in the idea of love within marriage as worthier than a large pocketbook.
Personally I am of the opinion that no matter what century it is or what culture one is in, emotions are universal. Humans desire to find love, passion, respect, devotion, friendship, happiness, and so on. We especially want these emotions within our marriages. Pragmatism has its place, and it certainly did in ages when women had little recourse. Yet the driving force has always been the heart.
Lizzy was willing to live with the consequences of being a spinster rather than marry without love. We admire her attitude, of course, but are also approving when she and Mr. Darcy overcome their problems and admit their mutual love. I never doubted the passionate love between these two characters and this beautiful story inspired me to write my sequel.
However, do not forget while sighing over the romance that Mrs. Bennet’s dilemma was solved beyond her wildest dreams! Lizzy married for love, but man, oh man, did she score!
My approach to the marriage and newfound life of Elizabeth Darcy was to explore the happiness possible when the relationship is based on deep love and respect. It was also to acknowledge the reality of marriage as it was then. Lizzy was now a wife in the early nineteenth century. Her independence, intelligence, sharp wit, and strength would assure she was a competent Mistress of Pemberley. Nevertheless, her role is as a support to her husband. As Mrs. Darcy I believe she would have understood and willingly performed her duties, and embraced her position as wife and eventually a mother.
We may not like it, but this was a male dominated society. It was also a culture centuries steeped in traditions of heritage and the importance of preserving the land. Men of the aristocracy and landed gentry, for the most part, took their duties very seriously. Devotion to their estates, their country, and their family was premier. The perfect husband, as my Mr. Darcy is naturally, would not only love his wife but would hold her in the highest regard. He would esteem her, trust in her instincts, welcome her opinions, and seek her advice. Their marriage would be a partnership with the pure emotions we hope for. Still, he would be the protector, ruler, and final authority, providing for his family as it was expected of him.
So at the end of the day everyone, including Mrs. Bennet, would live happily ever after! Now that is a great fairytale come true.
Thanks for sharing that, Vee. I never knew this part of your story! Of course I am very happy you found your proper mate rather than settling for what dear Mama would have wanted. 🙂
LOL May! Yes, I do sympathize with Mrs. Bennet to a degree, but she is still ridiculous and very fun to write that way! Darcy, like many husbands on down through the ages, learns to tolerate their parents-in-law. Either that or they suffer the wrath of the wife!
Dear sharon, Vee and May!
I do love Sharon´s blogs and I love to read the comments of all the great people here.
I don´t know where you are all right now or how your daily lives are, but somehow we are connected and i totally agree with the kind words you just wrote.
Mrs. Bennet my be a little bit silly, but I prefer the Mrs. Bennet of the movie. There she shows her concern and love for her daughters much more than in the Tv series.
Lots of love to everyone in the Darcy Universe!
Thanks May you’re so sweet. I lOVE your mention of Mrs Bennet’s comments about Mr Darcy "within earshot". I always cringed and laughed at the same time when these parts happened hahaha. Sharon sure does give all the characters wonderful redeeming characteristics even good old Mrs Bennet.
Vee I was so touched by your story! You are our present day Lizzie. How lovely it is to see you and Sharon empathising with Mrs Bennet, yes I know she drives everyone mad, none more so than Darcy but she is frantic to hold onto her home and her lifestyle. I love Mrs Bennet, she had a very hard time of it. I also think it is hilarious that the disparaging remarks she makes about Darcy are always said within his earshot, making him madder than ever at her, it makes me LOL! I bet when they were married and Lizzie would announce that her mother was coming to stay, Darcy would cringe inwardly. However I bet he grew to love her silliness, perhaps even cracking a smile on that enigmatic face at her sometimes blatant stupidity.
Lovely post Vee and a touching tribute to your wonderful mother.
Yes I totally agree Sharon. For both Lizzy & Mrs Bennet they could not possibly have had a better outcome.
Wow where to start. I can totally relate to Lizzy! I can understand where Mrs Bennet’s attitude stems from too. Goodness knows I am not complaining about my life but my Mum bless her is in a very small way a little like Mrs Bennet in that with her ethnic 50’s upbringing, men ruled and my Mum’s aim in life was to be well married and her children, especially me the daughter, married off before I became an old spinster and no one would want me! haha
My mum was not as well educated or travelled as my Dad just like Mrs Bennet so what she does extremely well is take care of her family and make sure everyone is well fed and safe and secure in family life and loved of course.
And so comes my relating to Lizzy. My Mum tried to marry me off or "suggest" a few partners known to family etc etc. Growing up in a free society and having two wonderful brothers support I refused to settle for a nice married life, kinda like Lizzy I guess. I DID however want to marry and have my own family and I was lucky enough to fulfill that dream. And my Mum was not as frantic as poor Mrs Bennet when I chose not to marry the other ones.
Haha I think I have always realised that Lizzy shows the kinda spunk I like to see in all women. A great inspiration in that regard.
A novel can capture so much more than real life. We all look for more in our day to day lives no matter how good we have it. So for that reason I fell in love with Darcy and especially your novels Sharon. Because after all the hard work of landing Mr oh so Right Darcy I really and truly wanted Lizzy to have it all in her married life with him and you are the one thats gives them what I see as a beautiful passionate fulfilling life. You make me believe they are true soulmates, something I wanted and dreamed for my all time favourites!