Apr 25, 2010

Mr Darcy's Doom ... ?

Taming the Forest King, by Claudia J Edwards

Listening: Twinset

Watching: Midsomer Murders

Making me smile: The birds have finally found the treat-filled pine cone I put out for them -- much to their delight!

I'm hunting out research books for my next regency romance, and have stumbled across a gem: Fordyce's Sermons to Young Women, first published in the 1700s. It was from this book that Mr Collins read aloud after dinner, when he visited the Bennett family in Pride and Prejudice.

Need I tell you, Fordyce writes, that men of the best sense have usually been averse to marrying a witty female? You will probably tell me, they were afraid of being outshone; and some of them perhaps might be so.

Can you imagine Elizabeth Bennett listening to this? Or Mr Darcy, for that matter!

Fordyce goes on to say: From the brandishings of wit ... who would not flee? But when that weapon is pointed at a husband, is it to be wondered if from his own house he takes shelter in a tavern?

So was Mr Darcy doomed to spend much of his married life hiding from his witty wife in the local tavern? What do you think?

(My vote: Not!)


  1. Emily, how cool that you found that book! I've often wondered about it when I re-read P&P.

    Mr Darcy *loved* Lizzie's wit. There's no way he would have hidden from it in a tavern or anywhere else. I suspect he relished the opportunities that came their way for Lizzie to unleash her wit either in front of other people, or just to him when they were alone.

    I suspect I'll be envisioning scenes between Darcy and Lizzie for the rest of the day now. :)

  2. ps - that's such a cute photo of the kittens! I recognize them from the photos you posted a few weeks ago - especially the grey with the M on her forehead. =)

  3. Yes, it's a fascinating book, Rachel -- and, having been written several hundred years ago, has some very interesting views about women! I'm certain Mr Darcy did not agree with Fordyce on the subject of witty women ... but I wonder how many men did?

    (And yes, that is little M in the photo. Well spotted!)

  4. I'm definitely a *not* vote! Darcy valued Lizzie for her wit. The book does sound like a fascinating read... but frustrating too! I confess that I might be tempted to bounce it off a wall when I think about how women were expected to behave back then. How boring the men of yesteryear must have wanted their marriages to be! I suppose that's why a lot of them thought it the done thing to have a mistress on the side.

    The kitties are gorgeous, Emily!


  5. I'm sure Jane Austen wanted to bounce it off the wall too, Sharon! It is very amusing to read, with so much distance between now and when it was written, but rather horrifying too!