“Affection” in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

When writing my Regency-based novels, I sometimes find it difficult to express the emotions felt by my characters, while keeping in mind the “restraint” those of the era practice. Previously, I took a look at how often and in what context the word “love” is used in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In that situation, Austen used “love” to mean romantic devotion, as an endearment, and as a strong “liking” for an activity or preference. My two-year-old granddaughter “loves” everything, meaning she prefers one doll over another or she “loves” chicken, but not turkey.

Today, I mean to take this process a step further. Today, we will search out the word “affection,” which often served as a substitute for “love,” but does Austen use the word as such?

charlotteIn Chapter 6, Charlotte Lucas warns Elizabeth that Jane’s shyness around Mr Bingley could be construed as indifference. “If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark.” This one has romantic elements.

In Chapter 7, Elizabeth attempts to like Mr Bingley’s sisters. “When breakfast was over, they were joined by the sisters, and Elizabeth began to like them herself, when she saw how much affection and solicitude they showed for Jane.” Elizabeth refers to the “preference” the Bingley sisters show Jane. 

In Chapter 8, when the Bingley sisters criticize Elizabeth for walking three miles across the muddy fields to Netherfield to tend Jane, Mr. Bingley says of Elizabeth, “”It shews an affection for her sister that is very pleasing.” This one is familial “love,” not romantic desire. 

In Chapter 9, Mrs Bennet describes a man who was in love with a 15-year-old Jane and from whom they expected a proposal of marriage. Elizabeth attempts to make light of the situation when she says, “And so ended his affection. There has been many a one, I fancy, overcome in the same way. I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!” This one could be construed as a preference for Jane over others or a romantic involvement.



In Chapter 9, Lydia and Kitty boldly ask Mr Bingley to host a ball, while Mrs Bennet looks on with pride. “Lydia was a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good-humoured countenance; a favourite with her mother, whose affection had brought her into public at an early age.”

In Chapter 10, Elizabeth and Darcy argue over Mr Bingley’s tendency to be influenced easily by his friends. ”You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and affection. A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request, without waiting for arguments to reason one into it.” This one reflects a preference in one’s friends.

In Chapter 12, Miss Bingley questions any “affection” she felt for Jane, when Mr Bingley insists that both Jane and Elizabeth stay one more day at Netherfield. “Miss Bingley was then sorry that she had proposed the delay, for her jealousy and dislike of one sister much exceeded her affection for the other.” Again, this is a preference in one friend over another.

george-wickham-lost-in-austenIn Chapter 16, Mr Wickham continues his tale of woe against Mr Darcy by telling Elizabeth, “He has also brotherly pride, which with some brotherly affection, makes him a very kind and careful guardian of his sister; and you will hear him generally cried up as the most attentive and best of brothers.”
In Chapter 18, Elizabeth watches Jane and Bingley at the Netherfield ball. Elizabeth believes Jane holds a romantic attachment to Bingley. “She saw her, in idea, settled in that very house, in all the felicity which a marriage of true affection could bestow; and she felt capable, under such circumstances,of endeavoring to like Bingley’s two sisters.”

imagesIn Chapter 19, as part of Mr Collins’ proposal, he says, “And now nothing remains for me but to assure you in the most animated language of the violence of my affection. To fortune I am perfectly indifferent, and shall make no demand of that nature on your father, since I am well aware that it could not be complied with; and that one thousand pounds in the four-percents, which will not be yours till your mother’s decease, is all that you may ever be entitled to.” Collins expresses his devotion to Elizabeth, but he does not truly love her. 

In Chapter 26, we find advice from Mrs Gardiner to Elizabeth regarding Mr Wickham. “Do not involve yourself, or endeavour to involve him in an affection which the want of fortune would make so very imprudent. I have nothing to say against him; he is a most interesting young man; and if he had the fortune he ought to have, I should think you could not do better.” Elizabeth’s aunt speaks of romantic connections.

prideprejudice_92In Chapter 33, Elizabeth learns from Colonel Fitzwilliam something of Darcy’s part in separating Bingley and Jane. “‘I do not see what right Mr Darcy had to decide on the propriety of his friend’s inclination: or why, upon his own judgment alone, he was to determine and direct what manner that friend was to be happy. But,’ she continued, recollecting herself, ‘as we know none of the particulars, it is not fair to condemn him. It is not to be supposed that there was much affection in the case.’”

The Top 5 Rain Dances | Kinetico San Antonio kineticosa.com

The Top 5 Rain Dances | Kinetico San Antonio

In Chapter 34, Elizabeth holds some pity for the need to reject Darcy’s proposal. “In spite of her deeply rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man’s affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger.”

In Chapter 35, Darcy writes of how he came to join forces with Miss Bingley to separate his friend from Miss Bennet. “He had before believed her to return his affection with sincere, if not with equal, regard. But Bingley has great natural modesty, with a stronger dependence on my judgment that on his own. To convince him, therefore, that he had deceived himself was no very difficult point.” Even though his friend often expressed notions of romantic love, Darcy points out that Bingley rarely held a preference for any female for long.

In Chapter 37, after Darcy’s departure from Rosings Park, his letter proved something of Bingley’s fault in the desertion of Jane. “His affection was proved to have been sincere, and his conduct cleared of all blame, unless any could attach to the implicitness of his confidence in his friend.” Elizabeth realizes Bingley loves Jane. 

200_sIn Chapter 40, after returning to Longbourn from Kent, Elizabeth observes Jane. “She still cherished a very tender affection for Bingley. Having never even fancied herself in love before, her regard had all the warmth of first attachment, and, from her age and disposition, greater steadiness than first attachments often boast; and so fervently did she value his remembrance, and prefer him to every other man, that all her good sense and all her attention to the feelings of her friends were requisite to check the indulgence of those regrets which must have been injurious to her own health and their tranquility.”

In Chapter 42, Elizabeth realizes that she has been blind to the impropriety of her father’s actions toward Mrs Bennet. “Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humor which your and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had, very early in their marriage, put an end to all real affection for her.” 

MV5BODA1NzQ4ODg0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDg2MjI1NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_In Chapter 46, Elizabeth reflects on the foolishness of Lydia’s elopement, as well as the loss of Mr Darcy’s interest. “Her affections had been continually fluctuating, but never without an object. The mischief of neglect and mistaken indulgence toward such a girl – oh, how acutely she did now feel it!”

46_after_darcy_leaves_Pride_and_PrejudiceAlso in Chapter 46, after Mr Darcy’s exit from the Lambton inn, Elizabeth reflects on the loss of his regard. She is saddened by the loss of “what might have been” romantically. “If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection, Elizabeth’s change of sentiment will be neither improbable nor faulty. But if otherwise – if the regard springing from such sources is unreasonable or unnatural, in comparison of what is so often described as arising on a first interview with its object, and even before two words have been exchanged – nothing can be said in her defense, except that she had given somewhat of a trial to the latter method, in her partiality for Wickham, and that its ill-success might, perhaps, authorize her to see the other less interesting mode of attachment.”

In Chapter 47, Elizabeth responds to Mr Gardiner’s question of no one nothing Lydia’s connection to Wickham when they all retreated to Brighton. “I can remember no symptom of affection on either side; and had any thing of the kind been perceptible, you must be aware that ours is not a family on which it could be thrown away.”

In Chapter 48, Mr Collins offers Mr Bennet advice regarding Lydia’s untimely elopement. “Let me advise you then, my dear Sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offense.”

In Chapter 49, as is typical of her sister’s personality, Jane finds goodness in the prospect of Wickham and Lydia’s marriage. “Their mutual affection will steady them; and I flatter myself they will settle so quietly, and live in so rational a manner, as may in time make their past imprudence forgotten.”

Picture of Pride and Prejudice www.listal.com

Picture of Pride and Prejudice

In Chapter 50, Mr Bennet declares he will not accept Lydia and Wickham at Longbourn. “He protested that she should receive from him no mark of affection whatever on the occasion. Mrs Bennet could harpy comprehend it.” This time the word is used as “recognition” or “approval.”

In Chapter 51, Elizabeth observes the happy couple when Lydia and Wickham return to Longbourn before leaving for Newcastle. “Wickham’s affection for Lydia was just what Elizabeth had expected to find it; not equal to Lydia’s for him. She had scarcely needed her present observation to be satisfied, from the reason of things, that their elopement had been brought on by the strength of her love rather than by his; and she would have wondered why, without violent caring for her, he chose to elope with her at all, had she not felt certain that his flight was rendered necessary by distress of circumstances; and if that were the case, he was not the young man to resist an opportunity of having a companion.”

In Chapter 52, after learning of Mr Darcy’s involvement in bringing Wickham and Lydia together, Elizabeth is confused as to why he acted with such honor. She wishes for the return of his “violently loving” her. “But it was a hope shortly checked by other considerations, and she soon felt that even her vanity was insufficient, when required to depend on his affection for her, for a woman who had already refused him, as able to overcome so natural as abhorrence against relationship with Wickham.”

Pride-and-Prejudice-Mr-Darcy-and-Mr-BingleyIn Chapter 53, Elizabeth is amazed that Mr Darcy comes to Longbourn with Bingley. “The color which had been driven from her face returned for half a minute with an additional glow, and a smile of delight added luster to her eyes, as she thought for that space of time that his affection and wishes must still be unshaken. But she would not be secure.”

In Chapter 54, after Bingley and Darcy dine at Longbourn, Jane still protests that no future lies between her and Bingley. “Lizzy, you must not do so – you must not suspect me: it mortifies me. I am perfectly satisfied, from what his manners now are, that he never had any design of engaging my affection. It is only that he is blessed with greater sweetness if address and a stronger desire of generally pleasing, than any other man.”

Pride and Prejudice 1995 - Jane Austen Photo (13601705) - Fanpop www.fanpop.com

Pride and Prejudice 1995 – Jane Austen Photo (13601705) – Fanpop

In Chapter 55, after proposing to Jane and receiving Mr Bennet’s permission, Bingley expresses his happiness to Elizabeth. “He then shut the door, and, coming up to her, claimed the good wishes and affection of a sister. Elizabeth honestly and heartily expressed her delight in the prospect of their relationship.” Again, this is familial connections. 

PP3.76In Chapter 57, after the confrontation with Lady Catherine, Elizabeth believes her hopes of a return of Mr Darcy’s love are dashed. “She knew not the exact degree of his affection for his aunt, or his dependence on her judgment, but it was natural to suppose that he thought much higher of Her Ladyship than she could do: and it was certain that, in enumerating the miseries of a marriage with one whose immediate connections were so unequal to his own, his aunt would address him on his weakest side.” This is a familial connection. It is different from the “affection” Elizabeth holds for Mr Darcy. 

In Chapter 59, Jane has difficulty believing that Elizabeth loves Mr Darcy. Jane warns, “And do you really love him quite well enough? Oh, Lizzy! do any thing rather than marry without affection. Are you quite sure that you feel what you ought to do?”

In Chapter 61, we encounter a mention of “affection” in the context of parental care: “Mr Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly; his affection for her drew him oftener from home than any thing else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley, especially when he was least expected.”

Posted in British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, real life tales, Regency era | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

John Knox Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Author of a Colonial Blockbuster

John Knox Witherspoon was a Scottish-born clergyman, who signed the Declaration of Independence. In fact, he was the only clergyman to do so. He was born 5 February 1722 or 1723 (depending on whether one is looking at the Julian or Gregorian calendar). 

“His father, James, was the minister of Yester Parish. He served on committees in the General Assembly and was the royal chaplain to the Lord High Commissioner. Anna [his mother] came from a long line of clergymen that extended back to John Knox. She had six children. One of her sons was lost in the West Indies. She had a grandchild who was the tutor to Sir Walter Scott.

“Anna was John’s first teacher. She taught him to read and by the age of four, he could read from the Bible and would eventually be able to recite most of the New Testament. When John was 13 years old, based on his studies in English, the classics and mathematics, Latin Greek and French, he was sent off to university at Edinburgh where he enrolled 1 November 1735. In the next three years, he completed the four year’s work for a Master of Arts degree (there is no record of a Bachelor’s degree) and toward the end of 1738 he petitioned to publish his thesis. Just after his sixteenth birthday, February, 1739, he was awarded his Master of Arts with a thesis, in Latin, De Mentis Immortalitate, signed Johannes Wederspan (It was common practice at this time to use your Latinized name on academic documents). By the time he was 20, John had obtained his Doctor of Theology and a license to preach. He received his first parish, Beith, 11 April 1745. He married Elizabeth Montgomery, 2 September 1748. Elizabeth bore 9 children, 5 of whom survived to adulthood and made the journey to North America. An excellent video of this period of John’s life is available for preview or purchase at Young Witherspoon.

“John was recruited by the trustees of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), Princeton, NJ to become the President of the College after the death of Dr. Samuel Finley, its fifth president. Benjamin Rush and Richard Stockton (later Signers of the Declaration of Independence) among others were sent to Scotland to recruit John for the position. Many of the letters between John and the various Princeton principals are contained in the **Butterfield book referenced at the end of this (paragraph). [**Butterfield, L. H., John Witherspoon Comes to America, (Princeton University Library, Princeton, New Jersey, 1953]

John Witherspoon was the only Declaration signer to be a college ... www.examiner.com

John Witherspoon was the only Declaration signer to be a college …

“On 18 May 1768, John and his family sailed for Philadelphia on the brigantine Peggy, which arrived in August. The College of New Jersey bloomed under his direction. He grew the endowment fund, instituted curricular changes, and patched up a major schism in the Presbyterian church. By 1770 the College students were openly advocating in favor of the patriot cause. John, in a commencement address advocated resistance to the Crown. In 1774-1775 he represented his county in the New Jersey provincial assembly, successfully agitated for the removal and imprisonment of the Royal Governor and received an appointment to the Continental Congress. On July 2, 1776, in response to a delegate who opposed ratification of the Declaration by saying ‘we are not ripe for revolution,’ John replied, ‘Not ripe sir, we are not only ripe for the measure but in danger of rotting for the want of it.’ In 1776, when the war entered into New Jersey territory, he closed the College of New Jersey. The British occupied the College, burned its library and in general left things a mess. Many of John’s papers were burned or destroyed at this time. The next year, James, one of John’s sons, lost his life at the Battle of Germantown, PA.” (The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence)

Colonial Hall provides us with an unusual tidbit regarding Witherspoon’s life. “Immediately on leaving the university, he was invited to become the minister of Yester, as colleague with his father, with the right of succeeding to the charge. He chose, rather, however, to accept an invitation from the parish of Beith, in the west of Scotland, and here he was ordained and settled, by the unanimous consent of his congregation.

“Soon after his settlement at Beith, a circumstance occurred of too interesting a nature to be omitted. On the 17th of January, 1746, was fought the battle of Falkirk. Of this battle, Dr. Witherspoon and several others were spectators. Unfortunately, they were taken prisoners by the rebels, and shut up in close confinement in the castle of Doune. In the same room in which he was confined, were two cells, in one of which were five members of a military company from Edinburgh, who had also been taken prisoners, and two citizens of Aberdeen, who had been threatened to be hanged as spies. In the other cell were several others who had been made prisoners, under circumstances similar to those of Dr. Witherspoon.

“During the night which followed their imprisonment, the thoughts of the prisoners, who were able to communicate with one another, were turned on the best means of making their escape. The room where they were confined was the highest part of the castle, not far from the battlements. which were seventy feet high. It was proposed to form a rope of some blankets which they had purchased, and by means of this to descend from the battlements to the ground.

A rope was accordingly made, in the best manner they were able, and about one o’clock in the morning they commenced descending upon it. Four reached the ground in safety. Just as the fifth touched the ground the rope broke, about twenty feet above. This unfortunate occurrence was communicated to those who remained on the battlements, and warning was given to them not to attempt the hazardous descent. In disregard, however, of the advice, the next one whose turn it was to descend, immediately went down the rope. On reaching the end of it, his companions below perceiving him determined to let go his hold, put themselves in a posture to break his fall. They succeeded, however, only in part. The poor fellow was seriously injured, having one of his ankles dislocated, and several ribs broken. His companions, however, succeeded in conveying him to a village on the borders of the sea, whence he was taken, by means of a boat, to a sloop of war lying in the harbor.

“The other volunteer, and Dr. Witherspoon, were left behind. The volunteer now drew the rope up, and to the end of it attached several blankets. Having made it sufficiently long, be again let it down and began his descent. He reached the place where the rope was originally broken, in safety ; but the blankets, which he had attached to it, being too large for him to span, like his predecessor, he fell, and was so much wounded, that be afterwards died. The fate of these unhappy men induced Dr. Witherspoon to relinquish the hope of escape in this way, and to wait for a safer mode of liberation.”

From Adherents.com and “The Religious Affiliation of John Witherspoon,” we learn, “Witherspoon stayed in Congress until 1782. His main committee assignments dealt with military and foreign affairs. He also participated in the debates on the Articles of Confederation, aided in setting up the executive departments, and argued for financial stability. Meantime, in 1779, he had moved from the President’s House at Princeton to Tusculum, a country home he had earlier built nearby. He left the Rev. Samuel S. Smith, his son-in-law and the college vice president, in charge of the nearly defunct institution.

“Witherspoon devoted most of his effort during the postwar years to rebuilding the college, which never fully recovered its prewar prosperity during his lifetime. In addition, during the years 1783-89 he sat for two terms in the State legislature, attended the New Jersey (1787) convention that ratified the Federal Constitution, participated in the reorganization of the Presbyterian Church, and moderated its first general assembly (1789). In 1791, at the age of 68, Witherspoon took a second wife, a 24-year-old widow, who bore him two daughters. Blind his last 2 years, he died in 1794, aged 71, at Tusculum. His remains rest in the Presidents’ Lot at Princeton Cemetery.” (Adherents)

Posted in America, American History, British history, Declaration of Independence, real life tales | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

New Prison in the Regency Era, Setting for Part of My Cozy Mystery ~ The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin

New Prison plays a part in my 2015 release of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery.  I thought I might share a bit of information. Unlike the more widely known prison of the day, Newgate Prison, the New Prison had a less stellar past.

Located in the Clerkenwell area of central London, New Prison was used  between c.1617 and 1877 (it should not be confused with the New Gaol, another name sometimes applied to Horsemonger Lane Gaol in Southwark, south London). [New Prison

King's Bench Prison and Horsemonger Lane Gaol section of "Improved map of London for 1833, from Actual Survey. Engraved by W. Schmollinger, 27 Goswell Terrace" https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Horsemonger_Lane_ Gaol

King’s Bench Prison and Horsemonger Lane Gaol section of “Improved map of London for 1833, from Actual Survey. Engraved by W. Schmollinger, 27 Goswell Terrace” https://en.wikipedia.org/

The court system of the day used New Prison to house prisoners committed for examination before the police magistrates, for trial at the sessions, for want of bail, and occasionally on summary conviction. [New Prison] Such is the reason I chose to use New Prison as the facility to hold Darcy’s cousin, Major General Fitzwilliam. I made an assumption that New Prison would likely provide a bit more freedom than would Newgate, and I need for Darcy to be able to meet often with his cousin as a plot point leading to the trial scene.

The building was rebuilt three times: in 1773, 1818 (after being burnt down in the Gordon Riots of 1780), and in 1847. At this time it was renamed the Clerkenwell House of Detention, also known as Clerkenwell Prison. Next-door was another prison, the Clerkenwell Bridewell for convicted criminals, built in around 1615. This closed in 1794, being superseded by nearby Coldbath Fields Prison.

Modern Use of Building Remnants
During the Second World War part of the basement was altered to form a bomb shelter. Today, the site of the New Prison and the Clerkenwell Bridewell is occupied by the former Hugh Myddleton School (1893-c.1960), in Bowling Green Lane. A number of the original underground spaces and cells remain and are used for office space or storage. A 2007 adaptation of Oliver Twist used these spaces for filming in the July 2007. [New Prison]

PoMDC Cover-2-2
The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

(Mystery/Suspense/Thriller; Fiction/Historical Fiction)

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin. Major General Edward Fitzwilliam for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family. Even so, the Darcy’s troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before his cousin is hanged for the crimes and the Fitzwilliam name is marked by shame.






Matlock’s butler admitted him without question, and Darcy entered his aunt’s favorite sitting room just as the high constable informed the major general of the officer’s purpose in coming to Lockland Hall. The countess gasped and collapsed against the loose pillows lining the settee while the earl rose quickly to his feet in protest, but it was Edward’s look of acceptance, which brought Darcy up short.

“You wish this?” he asked into the noisy silence.

Edward’s eyes remained locked on Darcy’s.

“It is part of God’s plan.”

Darcy ignored the earl’s rising ire. He stared at his cousin in stunned disbelief.

“You mean to make a sacrifice? You mean to permit the authorities to take your life as you have taken others?”

Yet, Edward said nothing more. He stood straight and tall: a trained military leader.

“You will not remove my son to Shadwell!” Matlock insisted.

The high constable stood his ground. “I have my orders, Your Lordship.”

“I will go, Father,” The major general said with a strange sense of finality.

Edward adjusted the line of his jacket.

Matlock’s cheeks turned a beet red. “You will do no such thing! I will speak to Lord Sidmouth at the Home Office. This is a mockery of justice!”

Despite his nerves being oddly tense, Darcy spoke with authority.

“We should permit the High Constable his due, Uncle. If Lord Sidmouth agrees with you, the major general can be released in short time.”

“You speak nonsense, Darcy,” Matlock blustered.

As he was the only member of his family aware of the third murder, Darcy assured, “Trust me, Uncle. In this matter, the high constable has his reasons.”

Shock crossed the major general’s countenance.

“What reason?”

Darcy kept his eyes on his cousin.

“A third incident,” he explained, and before his uncle could lodge his protest, Darcy added, “I explained to the high constable you were at Darcy House when the attack occurred.”

“Then there is no reason I will be kept in custody.”

Darcy noted the tight fear in Edward’s voice.

“It is best, Father, that no scene is made. I will go with the gentlemen and trust the British judicial system to recognize the truth.”

The earl’s coloring blanched white, and he swayed in place, but he stepped from the way to permit the major general’s exit.

“Darcy, protect Mrs. Fitzwilliam. I want no more shame delivered to her door.”

“I will do my duty by my sister.”

With that, Edward gestured to the high constable to lead the way. Within seconds, the sound of the door’s closing behind his cousin could be heard echoing through the silent halls to where he and his aunt and uncle remained unchanged.

“You should not have permitted Edward to depart with those men,” the countess sobbed. “What will they do to my son?”

“It is a dire situation, Aunt,” Darcy spoke with gravity.

Matlock recovered some of his composure.

“What do you know that we do not?”

He gritted his teeth and strove to explain.

“I attended Mr. Cowan when he examined the latest scene. There are many similarities among the three incidents.”

The countess asked the obvious, “How could Edward be involved in this…this madness if he were at Darcy House?”

His aunt wrung her hands with worry.

“I spoke to the high constable of the major general’s being in his bed when I departed Darcy House; however, I did not confide the fact my cousin was absent from his bed for nearly three hours in the night’s middle.”

Darcy released a frustrated breath and attempted to rein in his unruly thoughts.

Matlock’s gaze narrowed.

“How can you be certain of Edward’s absence?”

Darcy scrubbed his face with his dry hands to drive away the exhaustion creeping into his veins.

“Georgiana woke to discover Edward missing. My sister feared he chose to desert her again. I searched the house for my cousin or a note of farewell. The major general returned through the servants’ entrance while I searched the lower level.”

“Where in the bloody…?” The earl caught himself before his wife.

“My cousin claimed to have gone for a walk.”

“A walk?” Matlock demanded in incredulity.


Blast his cousin: Edward’s stubborn streak created a living nightmare.

“The major general claimed the need to be free of our forced imprisonment.”

The countess observed, “If the authorities learn of this walk, Edward’s freedom will no longer be so easily earned.”

Posted in British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, mystery, real life tales, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Day the Music Died: 3 February 1959

This post is designed to have a look back at events that marked our world in popular culture and in literature. This one is on “ The Day the Music Died.” Do you recall the event that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper? If so, sound off below.

the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly

the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly

On 3 February 1959, rock ‘n’ roll’s knew its first great loss: A plane carrying the current stars, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson (known as the Big Bopper) went down outside Clear Lake, Iowa.

A group of men view of the wreckage of a Beechcraft Bonanza airplane in a snowy field outside of Clear Lake, Iowa, early February 1959. The crash, on February 3, claimed the lives of American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A group of men view of the wreckage of a Beechcraft Bonanza airplane in a snowy field outside of Clear Lake, Iowa, early February 1959. The crash, on February 3, claimed the lives of American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The three stars had been part of the Winter Dance Party Tour, which was to play 24 cities in 24 days throughout the Midwest. Holly was the premiere attraction on the tour for he had previously garnered two appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Unfortunately, the bus transporting the musicians had heating problems, and many in the groups took ill with the flu. It was so bad that Holly’s drummer Carl Bunch was hospitalized with frostbite.

The night of the Clear Lake show found the Surf Ballroom packed with 1500 teens, most accompanied by their parents. Frankie Sardo opened the show with his hit “Take Out.” imagesThe Big Bopper was next on the program. Richardson wore a leopard jacket and carried a toy telephone. When he said, “Hellloooo baaaaaaby, this is the Big Bopper speakin’” the audience came to their feet. He continued with several mashups, including “The Big Bopper Wedding,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor,” which was the novelty song on the flip side of his hit “Chantilly Lace.” (Memories, February/March 1989)

Unknown-1Valens was up next. He wowed the crowd with “La Bamba,” “Donna,” and “Come On, Let’s Go.” After the intermission, Dion and the Belmonts took the stage. With Bunch’s illness, Buddy had agreed to play drums for Dion, but he set up the drum set in the shadows of the stage’s lighting so as not to distract from the Belmonts’ performance.

When Holly took the stage, he gave the performance of his life, beginning with Billy Grammer’s “Gotta Travel On,” which was followed “That’ll Be the Day,” “Maybe Baby,” “Well…All Right.” He had obvious fun with “Bo Diddley” and with “Peggy Sue.” He finished with “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man,” which was performed twice–once alone and then with the whole touring troupe.Unknown

The conditions had driven Holly to charter a plane from nearby Mason City to Fargo, North Dakota, which was across the state line from Moorhead, Minnesota, the site of their next performance. The plane departed at 12:55 A.M., but it covered only a few miles before crashing, killing all four men instantly, in a snowstorm with high winds.

The plane had only enough room for Holly and his band and the pilot, Roger Peterson. Waylon Jennings, who became a legend in country music and who was Holly’s bass player at the time, relinquished his seat to J. P. Richardson, who was ill with a high fever. “According to Jennings’ autobiography, Holly teased his bass player by saying, ‘Well, I hope your ol’ bus freezes up.’ To which Jennings responded, ‘Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes.’” (Ultimate Classic Rock)

“There are conflicting stories as to how Valens wound up in the third seat. Tommy Allsup, Holly’s guitarist, claimed that he lost a coin flip to Valens in the dressing room. In 2010, Dion Mimucci [the former lead singer of the popular 50s group Dion and the Belmonts], who had been silent about that night for 51 years, claimed that he, not Allsup, was slated for the third seat because he was one of the headliners. But after winning the coin toss, he balked at paying $36 for the flight–the amount his parents paid in monthly rent for the apartment where he grew up–and gave Valens the seat. Local DJ Bob Hale, who ws the MC for the concert, agrees that it was between Allsup and Valens, but that he, not Allsup, flipped the coin.” (Ultimate Classic Rock)

Most experts believe Peterson’s lack of experience in the storm conditions and the plane’s instrument panel contributed to the crash. Holly’s wife of only six months had a miscarriage when she heard the news.

“In March 1980, a long-missing piece of the plane crash was discovered. Holly’s signature black-rimmed glasses had landed in a snow bank and were discovered in the spring of 1959 [buried in the snow]. They were brought to the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s office, sealed in a manila envelope and forgotten about for 21 years. Upon discovery, the glasses were returned to his widow [Maria Elena Santiago] and are currently on permanent display at the Buddy Holly Center in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas.” (Ultimate Classic Rock)

(See “The Day the Music Died: Crash Site Photo Archive” for more images of the crash. )

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George Walton, the Orphaned Signer of the Declaration of Independence

George Walton (ca. 1749-1804) | New Georgia Encyclopedia www.georgiaencyclopedia.org

George Walton (ca. 1749-1804) | New Georgia Encyclopedia

The exact date of George Walton’s birth is unknown, but scholars say 1740 or 1741 in Virginia. His life was anything but easy. His parents died early on, and Walton was “adopted” by his uncle, who quickly apprenticed him to a man described a selfish as a carpenter. Little else is known of Walton until he appeared in Savannah, Georgia, where he studied law. He was admitted to the Bar in 1774. 

” At the expiration of his apprenticeship, he removed to the province of Georgia, and entered the office of a Mr. Young, with whom he pursued the preparatory studies of the profession of law, and in 1774, he entered upon its duties.

“At this time the British government was in the exercise of full power in Georgia. Both the governor and his council were firm supporters of the British ministry. It was at this period that George Walton, and other kindred spirits, assembled a meeting of the friends of liberty, at the liberty pole, at Tondee’s tavern in Savannah, to take into consideration the means of preserving the constitutional rights and liberties of the people of Georgia, which were endangered by the then recent acts of the British parliament.

“At this meeting, Mr. Walton took a distinguished part. Others, also, entered with great warmth and animation into the debate. It was, at length, determined, to invite the different parishes of the province, to come into a general union and co-operation with the other provinces of America to secure their constitutional rights and liberties.
In opposition to this plan, the royal governor and his council immediately and strongly enlisted themselves, and so far succeeded by their influence, as to induce another meeting, which was held in January, 1775, to content itself with preparing a petition to be presented to the king. Of the committee appointed for this purpose, Mr. Walton was a member. The petition, however, shared the fate of its numerous predecessors.” (Colonial Hall

by Ole Erekson, Engraver, c1876, Library of Congress www.ushistory.org/ declaration/signers/ walton.htm

by Ole Erekson, Engraver, c1876, Library of Congress

Early on, Walton served as Secretary to the Georgia provincial Congress and later was elected to the Continental Congress. After signing the Declaration of Independence, “he spent many of the following years engaged in the defense of his state, and in a messy political battle with Button Gwinnett, another signer from Georgia. In 1778 Walton was commissioned a Colonel of the First Regiment of the Georgia Militia. He was injured in Battle and taken prisoner. He gained his freedom in 1779 through a prisoner exchange and was soon after elected Governor of Georgia, an office he held for only two months. Political conflict colored all of Walton’s career. He was allied with General Lachlan McIntosh in a fierce struggle against Gwinnett for political dominance of the state. Walton was dispatched from office on several occasions, indicted for alleged criminal activities on others, in an interminable battle between two factions of the patriot movement in Georgia.

“He was returned to congress in 1780 and stayed through 1781. He remained in Philadelphia until 1783. That year he was censured by the legislature for his involvement in a duel which led to the death Gwinnett by the hand of his rival, commissioned to treat with the Cherokee nation in Tennessee, and appointed Chief Justice of his state. In 1789 he served in the college of Electors and again elected Governor. The government was reorganized under an new constitution in November of that year, at which time Walton stepped down. He was immediately appointed a superior court judge. In 1795 he was sent to fill an unfulfilled term in the US Senate. He was not reelected. He then retired to farming. He died in Augusta in 1804 at the age of 64.” (U. S. History)

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Happy February Birthdays to Some of Our Favorite “Austen” Actors

party-clip-art-balloons-different-coloursThese fabulous Thespians have brought us hours of viewing fun in Austen-inspired films. Happy Birthday




2550-ciaranhinds1bMichael-Amini_Jane-Seymour9 FebruaryCiarán Hinds, who portrayed Captain Frederick Wentworth in 1995’s Persuasion

15 FebruaryJane Seymour, who portrayed Mrs Wattlesbrook in Austenland


80795cf07e9cf5158827991a453ed48ffac2d4a2MV5BMTYzOTQzMDM4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTcxNzgwNA@@._V1_UX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_17 FebruaryBenjamin Whitrow, who portrayed Mr Bennet in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice

18 FebruaryGreta Scacchi, who portrayed Cassandra Austen in Miss Austen Regrets


MV5BMTI3NDQ3NTMwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMzY4NjEz._V1_SX640_SY720_brenda-blethyn420 FebruaryAnthony Head, who portrayed Sir Walter Elliot in 2007’s Persuasion 

20 FebruaryBrenda Blethyn, who portrayed Mrs Bennet in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice 


images21 FebruaryAlan Rickman, who po469900_1rtrayed Colonel Brandon in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016)

22 FebruaryJulie Walters, who portrayed Mrs Austen in Becoming Jane


441079-downton-abbey-robert-bathurst-sir-anthony-strallan22 FebruaryRobert Bathurst, who porUFzuW-tbtrayed Mr Weston in 2009’s Emma

23 FebruaryTamsin Greig, who portrayed Miss Bates in 2009’s Emma




25 FebruaryDouglas Hodge, who portrayed Sir Thomas Bertram in 2007’s Mansfield Park

url                                          28 February John Carson, who portrayed Mr Knightley in 1972’s Emma 

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Robert Morris, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and America’s First True Capitalist

Born to an ironworker from Liverpool, England, Robert Morris’s childhood was anything but quiet. His mother died when he was two. His father, Robert Morris, Sr., came to Maryland in 1738 as an agent for Foster, Cunliffe, and Sons for whom he purchased and shipped tobacco to England.  “He was the originator of the tobacco inspection law, and had it passed over powerful opposition. He was considered a mercantile genius, and was the first to keep his accounts in money rather than in gallons, pounds, yards, etc. In 1750 Robert Morris, Sr., gave a dinner party on board one of the ships of the company. As he left the ship in a small boat, a farewell salute was fired from the ship and wadding from the shot burst through the side of the boat and severely injured him. As a result of the accident, he died of blood poisoning on July 12, 1750.” (The Society for the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence)

Raised by his maternal grandmother, Robert Morris, Jr., did not arrive in America until 1748. Unlike many of his fellow signers, Morris had little formal education. He apprenticed at Charles Willing & Co. as a clerk, but when his father died, he was 16 and alone in a country he knew little of. Eventually, Morris saved enough to open the London Coffee House in Philadelphia. During the Seven Years War (1756-1763) he captained a ship on a trade mission to Jamaica, where French Privateers took him and his crew captive. Eventually, he was able to escape and made it to Cuba, where he remained until an American ship returned him to Philadelphia. 

After Charles Willing’s retirement, Morris and Thomas William began a partnership. Their ships traveled to the West Indies and England, importing and exporting goods. They also banking interests. “At the height of his success, he was ranked by the Encyclopedia of American Wealth, along with Charles Carroll of Carrollton, as the two wealthiest signers among the 56 signers of the Declaration.” (The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence) Robert is known to have led a street protest agains the 1765 Stamp Act. He and Willing organized the first non-importation of slaves agreement in 1769.

After he married Mary White in 1769, Morris purchased 80 acres on the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River, a beautiful estate he named “The Hills.” As the warden of the port of Philadelphia, Morris stopped the chaos that was the Boston Tea Party by convincing tea ships to return to England. He and Willing furnished the militia with weapons and powder. So many supplies arrived at Morris’ wharfs that Congress placed special guards there to protect the colonial supply line. Although he supported the colonial efforts, Morris was not sold upon the idea of separation from England. He did think the colonies were prepared for self rule and that anarchy would ensue. (The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence) It is reported that Morris excused himself from the room when the vote for independence came on 2 July 1776. 

http://www.npr.org/2010/ 12/20/132051519/-robert-morris-america-s- founding-capitalist


In Charles Rappleye’s Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution (Simon & Schuster), we learn that “Morris was thinking in terms of global commerce at the same time the Scottish economist Adam Smith was describing it in The Wealth of Nations. The primary [means of finance] for the international traders [were] called ‘bills of exchange,’ which were debts and foreign currencies that you could then buy and sell in foreign capitals, and in your own country, to other traders who needed capital. A lot of it was based on personal relationships, so correspondence was critical and reputation was fundamental. During the Revolution, Morris use chis reputation and business connections to effectively bankroll American forces. He was active in supplying Washington’s army with gunpowder, which he smuggled in under the noses of British authorities in Europe and the Caribbean.

“‘He was getting the cattle from Connecticut, he was getting the flour from Pennsylvania and Virginia, and he was getting it all to the soldiers on the road.’ Before Yorktown, the United States’ fledgling new currency had all but failed, and the only medium of exchange with which to finance to revolution was Morris’ own personal credit. So four years after opposing the Revolution, Morris had effective become America’s treasury and banker.

According to The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, “In 1779 Thomas Paine and Henry Laurens delivered charges of fraudulent transactions against Willing and Morris. Morris demanded that a congressional committee examine his books, and he was exonerated. The committee reported ‘that (Robert Morris)…has acted with fidelity and integrity and an honorable zeal for the happiness of his country.’

“The Continental Congress called Morris to service again, in 1781, appointing him the Superintendent of Finance. This was the first executive office in American history.

“Faced with a serious governmental financial crisis, Morris submitted the first national funding proposal, On Public Credit, which served as the basis for Hamilton’s plan submitted a decade later during the Washington Administration. Morris established the Bank of North America with the help of two other signers—James Wilson and George Clymer. Morris slashed governmental and military expenditures, personally purchased Army and Navy supplies, tightened accounting procedures, and pleaded with the states to contribute, a process he likened to ‘preaching to the dead.’ Before he left office he used over a million dollars in his own notes to feed and pay the troops, with most of those notes to be repaid with loans from France. At the end of the war he took on the mission of repaying the debt to France, but circumstances made that impossible and he lost a fortune in the effort.”

“He personally put up 1.4 million dollars for the effort and coordinated with the French to get French ships into the Chesapeake, which made the planned evacuation of the British army impossible.

“Robert Morris sent the first American ship to China in 1784 which began the country’s China Trade. At one point he had ships going as far as the Levant and India. Morris confided to an old friend that he had lost over 150 ships during the Revolution, but had managed to come out “about even.” This was mostly due to privateering, and selling American goods to the French and Spanish islands in the Caribbean.

“Robert Morris had become a strong advocate of a more powerful government and attended the Annapolis Convention in 1786 to discuss amending the Articles of Confederation. In 1787 he hosted George Washington as they both attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and it was Morris who nominated Washington to be Chairman of the Convention. Morris signed the new U. S. Constitution, one of only two signers of the Declaration of Independence to sign all three basic founding documents—the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution. (The other signer of all three documents was Roger Sherman of Connecticut.)”

Posted in American History, British history, Declaration of Independence, Great Britain, real life tales | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments