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Jane Austen: 

Some secrets revealed to include:
"Is this man the real Mr.Darcy of Pride and Prejudice?"  



Authors Note

Easter Egg  definitions: 

1) An artificial chocolate or hard boiled decorated egg given at Easter.

2) An unexpected or undocumented feature in a piece of  computer software or on a DVD, included as a joke or bonus, (this definition has come  to include jokes etc in art for example the recently discovered initials LV and date 1495 in the Mona Lisa or the loaves of bread  in The Last Supper also by Da Vinci,  that a musician realised could also be musical notation for a 40 second requiem.) 


Little did  I realise when I first began this with a hunch, just  how far this would go.  It has been written down pretty much as it was realised. One piece at a time.  Rather like a detective trying to solve a crime, matching pieces of a jigsaw together, a little bit here, a little bit there and then some more from elsewhere. The understanding of how things happened  is random and does not appear in a neat, logical, sequenced order and therefore this piece does not appear in such order.  But I never would have thought, never would have  guessed, or imagined in my wildest imaginings that answers to questions and mysteries  that have puzzled scholars and academics around the  world for over a century would be answered. The identity of Mr. Darcy,  the locations of Northanger Abbey, Thornton Lacey, the reason Jane Austen may have written the phrase  in a letter  "sans peur et sans Reproche" why Jane Austen used the pseudonym Mrs. Ashton Dennis to name a few things and as if that were not already feast enough, that not one but two  secret hoards of "Easter Eggs"  would appear 200 years after their creation by one of the world's greatest if not the greatest female novelist.  

Who was the real life "Mr. Darcy" in the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen? Or rather perhaps who was the original Mr. Darcy in First Impressions as Pride and Prejudice was originally titled.  So far as I am aware nobody knows. Was there ever an original Mr. Darcy.  There are many who believe that there may have been an original person who provided inspiration at least for the character Mr. Darcy.  Names have been  tendered.  Books have been written proposing various characters as the original for Mr. Darcy.  There are bound to be  suggestions as to who such a famous character might have been, based upon the fact that  so many think there was an original Mr. Darcy.  But nobody really knows. Could he have been a complete figment of Jane Austen's imagination, or a composite of the many people she knew or was there a real life individual who provided her with the  inspiration.


Before discovering and publishing online my very recently uncovered findings I would have personally thought that  there was a real life character who provided many of the "factual" details of appearance and position in society. The opening line sounds like it could  real dialogue borrowed from life. The ball sounds like the description of a real ball. Darcy, arrogantly walking around sounds like the actions of a real individual. The marriage proposal and refusal to and by Lizzie.  Even when Lizzie and Darcy meet again by chance has the feel of some basis in reality and so on.  But probably nothing as regards plot,  character, actions, and behaviour. It would be no real surprise if an author borrowed from real life. To some extent all authors use something from real life. 

But in the last few weeks of February 2018, I may have found a candidate for Mr. Darcy not so far considered. In my opinion he is a much better candidate than others so far suggested.


I discovered his existence whilst researching the author of the manuscript that  my blog Wisden's Secret is primarily about Francis Emilius Cary Elwes, the man who I believe on the content  of the ms. I am blogging about was in part at least the creator of Wisden's Almanack.

I looked for details about his family and friends and when I initially came across this gentleman candidate, who was  Francis Emilius Cary Elwes's father I thought  or rather a little voice inside me said "he could be Mr. Darcy." His main assets in this regard as far as I could see at the time was that he was very rich and had been from a young age.


I thought no more about this until a few days ago (early 2018) when thinking what to put in an Interlude. So out of curiosity and just to make sure I looked his name up to see what could be found out about him and whether there was any possibility that he could be the original Mr. Darcy. There are three things that need to be ascertained and can be checked quickly for there to be the remotest chance of him being Mr. Darcy.


They are: 

- Was he rich ?

- Was he young?

- Was he single? 

when Jane Austen began First Impressions.


I already knew from earlier research into his son Francis that he might be rich but I quickly found out that his father died when he was young,  aged about 10 and left him a huge amount quite possibly £10,000 a year or more which he probably inherited at his coming of age 21. He was  young too, in 1795/96 he was 23/24 and he was single. 


A promising start. What else might be needed for there to be any hope of him being the original Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen gives several clues about him. For example. He was the only son, he had a sister, a sister worth £30,000, he was not a nobleman but a plain Mr. he had it in his power to gift a church living, he owned a huge estate up north and he was clever. All of these things, and more  this man I have found  had in common with Mr. Darcy.  Aside from this though, the man I have found provides many other links to the book . Particularly Ware, or Meryton as she named it, is  based as many think upon the town of Ware, a town that Jane Austen appears to know very well despite never having been there but a place where this man  and his sister,  must have known well  because that is a town close to one of the estates their father owned at Throcking and where one would imagine they spent some time.  


But I asked myself could Jane Austen have met  this man?  It is certainly not impossible but Yes! she could have met him but even if she did not actually meet him  it is highly likely that she may have heard of him and  that there were occasions when he could have been very close to Jane Austen and talking to people she knew or knew of through her father George Austen. There are 2 people closely connected to Winchester Cathedral  who George Austen absolutely must have known. She could also however have known of him for several years from another source much closer to home. 


The more I looked the closer he came .


So lets start with the name Darcy. Where did Jane Austen find that name? A figment of her  imagination perhaps? If so why Darcy, why not Smith or Jones or any other of the tens of thousands of names that exist? Authors in general take a lot of care over characters names.  Surely an unusual name like Fitzwilliam Darcy does not arrive unbidden and without some careful thought. Maybe the name did spring from carelessly from her imagination. 


But maybe not, for if you have this mans name it becomes simplicity to suggest a possibility based around a word play as to where and how  the name  Darcy originated.  Jane Austen enjoyed word games. The British library owns a set of ivory letters that used to belong to Jane Austen and with which word games could obviously be played.  I have never heard the suggestion below as being the origin as to where the name Darcy may have sprung. So this is a first timer. (Due to one persons misunderstanding I must add that when I ask where did Jane Austen find that name I am  not posing a question as to its  historical, geographical, linguistic or etymological etc origins interesting as they maybe, but its  artistic imaginative origins.)  


Suppose  for argument's sake that Jane Austen knew a man whose real name she wanted to disguise. How might she do it. Here is one way. Lets call this man Richard Cray.  What might she do to disguise it. Well she could try and frenchify it like this Richard  Le Cray, Le Cary, Le Racy, or L'Arcy.  Doesn't work. What about using De. Here we get Richard De Cray, De Cary, De Racy,  or D'Arcy. Add some magic, abracadabra, eliminate Richard  and eliminate the apostrophe and  thus, could the name of Darcy have been created  with this simple name game.


Or maybe in just playing with letters and adding a D to the Cray and looking for a name anagram the name Darcy appeared. This would be a simple  way of disguising his identity. A name game  which is of a type  Jane Austen with her enjoyment of  word games might well have liked. (See Emma /Blunders and  Dixon


Either way her original audience of  family members would have easily recognised him if there was indeed a "Mr. Darcy" and because mimicry is funny would have enjoyed her portrayal of such a man.      


Could this man have had his name disguised in such a way? Yes he could if he had the right name to start with and this man, lo and behold did. For his name was Robert Cary Elwes.

But the identity of "Mr. Darcy " is by no means anywhere near everything that has been found.  I think I have found the original "Thornton Lacey", its a village in Northamptonshire where  "Mr. Darcy "lived.  I think I have found the original for Northanger Abbey, its where a cousin of Mr. Darcy lived a man who significantly was also a Colonel. But most remarkable  of all is the recent discovery  of 3 puns hidden with amazing artifice, where once there was only one known a couple of years ago and 2 ingenious types of anagram puzzles based upon many character's names.    



      To read the full research paper on this extraordinary  literary revelation, which also includes the above intro, please click the 'Donate' button below and once your donation is registered, you will be redirected to the full, illustrated text. 

Copy of the Manuscript Wisden's Secret 


  Wisden's Secret

1 8 6 3


In Part At Least


The  Original  Source  Manuscript

For Wisden's Almanack    

1st Edition 1864 

© Nigel King 2018-19

A hard copy of this manuscript may be available at a price of about £129.95.


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