Monday, 24 February 2014
Some details of Mr. Darcy's family tree
I thought I had thought about Jane Austen's characters long enough that I wouldn't discover anything new any more, at least not about obvious things like how old they are, and how they are related to each other. But just the other day, I noticed something I hadn't before. Maybe I am just slow, and maybe other people figured this out ages ago, but I thought I would point it out anyway. Lady Anne Darcy (Mr. Darcy's mum) was older than her sister Lady Catherine. I already did a post showing how all Mr. Darcy's relations are related, but this is one detail I missed.
Lady Catherine's daughter is called Anne. This is not news. But who would Lady Catherine name her daughter after? This deduction is like what we in law call similar fact evidence.
Lady Catherine has a sister called Anne, and then she named her daughter Anne. Did she name her daughter after her sister? I don't think so. I think both were named after the countess, mother of Lady Catherine and Anne Darcy. If you are looking at my previous post, for reference, this would be Lady Chawton, Mr. Darcy's maternal grandmother, who I have just deduced was also called Anne.
If Mr. Darcy's mother was named after her mother, it is most likely that she was the oldest daughter. The first girl would have been named after her mother.
Nothing rides on this, but it does show how much Jane Austen thought through all the relationships between her characters and considered these kinds of details, which I find inspiring.
Another theory I stumbled upon is with respect to old Mr. Darcy's Christian name. Darcy's mum was called Anne. We know that. But what about his dad? Jane Austen didn't tell us directly, but I'm pretty sure she thought about it. Well, I have a pretty convincing theory about it anyway. If you think about it, it becomes obvious.
To their first born son, they gave his mother's noble family name of Fitzwilliam. If they'd had another son, they likely would have named him after his father. But they didn't. They had a daughter, whom they called Georgiana. Add in the similar fact evidence that his godson was called George and I think it becomes clear that old Mr. Darcy was a George. In fact, I myself am sure of it. Jane Austen would not have included such co-incidences without cause.
Melanie Kerr is the author of Follies Past: a Prequel to Pride and Prejudice
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