Amongst the many joys of writing a series of novels, one of my favorites is expanding upon the characters created by Jane Austen. Over the course of time, I have created a complex history for all of the characters. I have strived to imbue them with life, personality, habits, style, quirks, and all the other attributes which make a person unique and individual. In doing so, these characters have become uniquely my own. All in all, I am extremely happy with the arcs I have given to them, the thematic elements I have faithfully adhered to, and the concepts of happily ever after that remain strong within my text.
For fun, today I have decided to talk about the main stars of The Darcy Saga: Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth. Specifically, to share those traits I have given to each character.
Facts about Fitzwilliam Darcy—
He was born on November 10, 1787, the second child of James II and Lady Anne Darcy. His sister, Alexandria, died months before his birth, well before her second birthday. In the true English tradition, a number of names: Fitzwilliam (the surname of his mother’s family), Alexander (after his father’s brother, and George’s twin, who died at the age of twelve), and James (after his father).
Lemon is his favorite dessert flavor. Grown in the orangery at Pemberley, lemons are rarely in short supply, a fact his bride soon discovers and in her enthusiasm to please her beloved husband, takes to the extreme. The nearly daily inclusion of some sort of lemon treat as part of the menu has her appreciative husband almost at the point of wishing to never see another lemon in his life! Not that he would ever reveal this to her.
He is fascinated by modern inventions. He owns a kaleidoscope, steel-tipped pens, and a cylinder music box, to name just a few trinkets. He installed indoor water closets long before this was common, and had water piped into the orangery. All the better to grow those lemons! Essentially, he is intrigued by industrial advances and science of all sorts, which is one reason he entered into a cotton mill partnership.
Contrary to popular belief, he is an excellent dancer. In fact, he was taught to waltz by his Austrian cousins, in Vienna where the waltz was born! The misconception arises because he does not care to dance with women not well acquainted with or in public. As his wife soon discovers, when paired with her, especially when alone in their bedchamber, his grace and skill are phenomenal.
Darcy’s greatest passion is for his family. Of this, there is no question. Next in line is his intense passion for his horses. A trait inherited from his grandfather, both men were “born in the saddle” as the teasing phrase went. The serious foray into the business of breeding supreme quality thoroughbreds at Pemberley was initiated by his beloved grandfather, James Darcy I, and over the decades many have won at the races. Darcy is a prestigious, influential member of the Jockey Club.
He was a reckless youth and has numerous scars to prove it! He can be impetuous and quick to anger but has learned to control the fiery side of his nature. In a public setting, that is. When in an intimate setting, he releases his passions with rapturous results! Extremely athletic, his preference is for riding his horses as fast as possible, fencing, shooting, fishing, and falconry.
He can play the violin with adequate skill but cannot carry a tune vocally. A wise person will not ask him to sing. Better would be to ask him to read aloud, as his speaking voice is deep, velvety-smooth, and resonant. Furthermore, if one requests poetry, he is likely to recite his own compositions. Another of his hidden talents.
History of all sorts is a great interest. Museums and old ruins are two of his favorite places to visit, and he has an outstanding memory of dates and details. Also, while not quite as masterful as his Uncle George, Darcy has an innate flair for dramatic storytelling making even dry facts fascinating to hear recounted.
Extremely intelligent, Darcy’s flaw in reasoning is in being too literal and linear. Mathematics, for instance, while giving him a headache, are logical and contain concise rules. Straightforward problems are easy for him to solve, as are most complex issues, but if human emotion and relationships are involved, he struggles.
He loves board games, particularly backgammon, but is terrible at cards. He cannot bluff to save his soul and has the worst luck with dice.
Facts about Elizabeth Darcy, nee Bennet—
She is not skilled with mathematics. Nevertheless, she easily reasons through difficult dilemmas with cool logic. She has a gift for dealing with people, such as the servants and Pemberley estate residents. Her outgoing personality, ease in social situations, ability to converse wittily and effortlessly, generous spirit, and genuine kindness create a Mistress of Pemberley dearly beloved by all.
Physically, she is tall for a woman, but petite and svelte. Despite appearances, she has remarkably strong arms and hands. This is excellent for massages, driving a curricle, and for exacting revenge on hussies who attempt seducing her husband.
She loves history and touring old ruins. Isn’t that a coincidence? Fearlessly, she explores caves, abandoned castles, uncharted marshlands, and ocean depths. While not as formally and extensively educated as her husband, she is a voracious reader with an excellent memory.
Her first crush was for the Meryton butcher’s son when she was sixteen. Luckily, he was uninterested.
Gardening has forever been a favorite outdoor hobby, Lizzy delighting in digging into the dirt and planting flowers. Of course, she loves nature in a host of ways, including long walks and finding solitary places (such as Willow Bench) to read in peace. When young, she swam in nearby rivers and ponds, climbed trees (once to save a cat), and explored widely.
She is fiercely competitive at games and her luck with dice is legendary. She can play a mean game of tennis, learned to juggle up to three balls at once, and does well at shuffleboard. She likes animals well enough but is not deeply fond of them. Horses make her nervous and she has never been a rider.
These are only a few tidbits, of course. After ten novels, there are a ton of details scattered within the pages. Can you think of any I missed?