Mr. Darcy’s letter to Jane Austen
I was searching for something in my computer folders and stumbled across this whimsical bit I wrote a good two years ago for a guest blog assignment. With a teeny bit of editing, I figured why not share it again? The premise was, what would Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy say to his creator, Jane Austen, if charged to write her a letter of thanks? This was my idea at the time, and I still think it perfect! The full letter is below, but can also be read along with other original writing on The Library at Pemberley page.
First, allow me to extend my apologies for the informality of the above address. The intimacy of the salutation is uncomfortable I assure you. I preferred “Miss Austen” as the proper format for a married gentlemen composing a missive to an unmarried lady who is not kin. Doing otherwise is a breach of protocol I have never committed.
My beloved wife, however, has conveyed to me with all the elements of command she possesses – and since you are familiar with the former Miss Bennet then you comprehend my meaning – that “Dear Jane” is allowable in this express instance. Frankly, I was rather taken aback by her leniency. My wife has a moderate jealous streak, a fact proven during a particular unpleasant, albeit humorous, episode while on holiday in Greater Yarmouth. This is probably not a surprise to discover, since you originally created her character, delightfully flawed as it is.
As I suspected, writing the sentences above annoyed Mrs. Darcy, who was, of course, standing over my shoulder to “assist” me in this letter’s wording. She has now exited the room. Indeed, that was the plan so as to gain the privacy I deem essential to convey my thoughts onto parchment. Yet, despite the conscious maneuver, it is difficult not to seek her out for immediate reconciliation. I shall resist the urge, despite the stab of pain in my heart, until the task at hand is satisfactorily completed.
Fortunately, I am highly adept at softening my adored wife’s temper. I call upon those arts of persuasion gifted to me by you, presumably, although I appreciate that subsequent pens have enhanced my attributes beyond what you undoubtedly imagined.
Revealed within that last statement is a far allotment of arrogance and pride, I do confess. Those attributes when taken to extremes are most unattractive and dangerous, as I know all too well. I have tempered my arrogance and pride over the course of time, but the traits remain to a certain degree. This is especially true in regards to the relationship I share with Mrs. Darcy.
This latter topic brings me, finally, to the main point of this letter. It may be interpreted from the previous paragraphs that along with the informal salutation, writing this letter was the result of Mrs. Darcy’s superb arts of persuasion. I shall never deny her powers are as effective upon me as mine are upon her, however, in this instance it would be an error in assumption. In point of fact, I am pleased to apply my ink saturated steel-tipped pen to parchment and endeavor to express my deepest, sincerest thanks to the artist who created the story of my life.
In our case, the trials and tribulations … prejudices and prideful attitudes … mysteries and misunderstanding … were abounding, albeit necessary for an enthralling tale designed to provoke readers. Indeed, I applaud you for weaving a tale with literary brilliance rivaling the greatest masters of storytelling.
Nevertheless, my appreciation for how you chose to conclude my story is tenfold what I have ever attained from a finely wrought tale of adventure or intrigue. Novels of woe or doom may titillate upon occasion, yet I judge none satisfy the reader as profoundly as those that end upon the classic supposition that the characters went on to live “happily ever after.”
Dear lady authoress, I can attest my immense satisfaction in the ending granted me. As undeserving as I am, the reward of my dearest, loveliest Elizabeth’s love is an immeasurable honor. I am forever humbled and grateful.
Furthermore, to my unending amazement, generations of readers gratified by our intriguing romance and felicitous resolution were eventually left wanting. They succumbed to the stirrings of discontentment that often roil within a reader’s breast when we realize we are no longer as gratified as we initially supposed when reaching The End.
Curious minds begin to muse upon what hidden tales might have transpired in the months subsequent to the conclusion. Others ask, how might the altering of a tiny moment change the pathway to the favorable ending? Still other inquisitive readers wonder about the thoughts and actions of favorite characters left unwritten while the plot focused elsewhere. Most common of all, a captivated reader simply wishes the story had not ended and longs for more.
To the delight of all, a plethora of talented authors have bravely taken the quill from your hand, as it were. They have dipped deeply into the inkwell, etching upon the paper page their vision of the rest of the story.
Thanks to these intrepid souls, my precious wife and I have not been left to dwell in the dark abyss of vague imaginings. We have been given lives abundantly lived in a host of ways, although in my opinion, none of the offerings are as fulfilling as the evolution and joyous consummation of our marriage in true felicity.
In conclusion, Dear Jane, although I delight in teasing my wife – she who has so thoroughly delighted in teasing me since the earliest days of our acquaintance and has taught me the pleasure in such frivolity – writing this letter to you is not a challenge, a chore, or displeasing proposition. Rather it is an honor, providing me the opportunity to extend my humble appreciation for creating us in the first place.
Your servant, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Master of Pemberley