Like many other people, I first read "Pride and Prejudice" whilst I was at school, as did my children, and have enjoyed reading the novel again many times since then. It was after watching the BBC television serial in 1995, and discussing it with one of my daughters, that my curiosity was re-awakened about Mr Darcy, and I decided to write this book.
I am sure that everyone who has read and enjoyed Jane Austen's novel has their own particular favourite passages in the book, and I used many of mine in Darcy's Story. As her novel was first published in several "parts", I also used quotations from "Pride and Prejudice" to introduce each of the seven parts in my book.
Everyone who has ever read Jane Austen's novel will have their own idea of Mr Darcy's side of the story, and this book could be described as looking through the mirror of "Pride and Prejudice" from the other side. I am delighted that a story written nearly 200 years ago can still give pleasure in a very different era. I have also been glad to learn that people much more knowledgeable than I am about Jane Austen and her work have also liked the book.
I have been surprised and delighted to discover that my need to know more about Jane Austen's hero is shared by people in 37 other countries all around the world. The publishers have received many letters and emails expressing the enjoyment that so many people have found in reading "Darcys Story". It seems that complementing "Pride and Prejudice" by writing this book has satisfied a long-felt need for many readers.
These and many other unhappy thoughts continued to trouble Darcy over the days and weeks that followed.
His anxiety to justify what he had said to Elizabeth Bennet, to maintain to himself the correctness of his approach, did not long survive. He soon began to examine and re-examine every part of what he had said, every manner of expression he had used, on that fateful evening in Kent.
There seemed to be no escape from his uneasiness and confusion, which troubled him at every time of day, and wherever he was.
Avoiding as he often did the social round in town, and unable to visit Bingleys house in the country, Darcy was tempted many times to leave for Pemberley and the peace of Derbyshire.
But Georgiana was busy with her music masters in London, and he had not the heart to deprive her of his company without any real excuse, until she went to visit his cousins family in Essex. It was some comfort to be with his sister, who was so dear to him. In any case, it seemed very doubtful whether he would gain any more peace of mind by leaving town.
On several occasions, when he was lost in thought, he caught Georgiana looking at him carefully,
but she said nothing. Finally, one evening when they were alone, his sister asked him hesitantly, "Is there anything particular troubling you at the moment? I should so like to be of use if there is. You are always thinking of me, and I should like to help you in return."
She coloured as she spoke, as though he might reprimand her, or speak in rebuff.
Darcy was not sure for a moment how best to reply.
For many years an only child, he had been accustomed to being without a confidant where the affairs of the heart were concerned. Until now, Georgiana had always been very much his younger sister, someone for him to protect rather than to share his problems with.
"I am not sure how to answer you," he said slowly, "It is a matter of ... affection, about someone to whom I would have given no attention previously. Although I do not find our aunt Lady Catherine easy company, I have always shared her view that it is of primary importance to marry well, to seek an alliance with someone of our own consequence. Do you not agree?"
He was surprised to see that she looked very shaken.
Then she said, "Are you referring to Mr Wickham? To what happened last year, before I had the benefit of your advice?"
"No, no, of course not," he said quickly, anxious to reassure her.
"You were sadly misled, and in any case you had, to begin with, no one, no mother, no one, to turn to."
His sister looked very relieved. Darcy went on, finding himself more comfortable than he had expected in being able to speak to someone about his agony of mind.
"No, I will be honest with you, I am thinking of my own situation. Georgiana, you do understand how important social position and family matters are to me?"
"Too much reliance on that does not often seem to lead to happiness," Georgiana said, reflectively,
"I would hope that you would marry someone you find congenial. You do not often seem to find people you admire in town, nor when you went to Hertfordshire, from what you said to me before. Is that not so? And even those people whom you seem to prefer can be very," she paused, "sharp, like Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst."
Darcy looked at her in surprise, for his sister had not ventured this opinion to him previously with such clarity.
It was perhaps because he had begun to share her view about Bingleys sisters, after their comments on Miss Elizabeth Bennet in Hertfordshire, that he decided to tell her something of the truth.
"Perhaps you can help me, for I am very troubled in my mind. Whilst I was at Rosings with cousin Fitzwilliam, I met again a lady, a Miss Elizabeth Bennet, whose family come from Hertfordshire, near the house that Charles Bingley took on lease last Michaelmas"
"I realised then that I ... liked her very much better than many people I have met. Miss Bennet is one of the few people I could rely on to ... to keep a secret of mine. But her family are not superior,
particularly her mother, her mothers family and her younger sisters."
"I met her again because she was visiting her close friend Charlotte Lucas, who has married the rector at Hunsford." Darcy stopped, for he could not bring himself to go as far as saying that he himself had then proposed marriage.