Today I welcome the lovely Alexa Adams to my blog to tell us a little more about her newest story, The Madness of Mr Darcy, which sounds fascinating and very unique! I will also be reviewing this story soon so watch for my review.
"The year is 1832 and regrets beleaguer Fitzwilliam Darcy. All he ever cared for has been taken from him: his pride, his sister, and his true love, Elizabeth Bennet. Now, having nearly murdered a man in a fit of rage, he might lose Pemberley, too. More than just his home, his very identity is at stake. In desperation, he seeks the help of Dr. Frederick Wilson, owner and proprietor of Ramsey House, a madhouse for fine ladies and gentlemen. Is Darcy’s confinement the inevitable end to his tortured descent, or will he rediscover what he lost in the most unlikely of places?"
Thank you, Mrs. Darcy, for inviting me back to your blog!
"The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend. - Pride & Prejudice"
We all make judgements based upon appearances and first impressions. It is an inherent human instinct and provides the major theme of Jane Austen’s most beloved novel. If a devoted reader learns nothing else from Austen, they should understand that looks can be deceiving. Wickham, Willoughby, Isabella Thorpe: again and again she tells us to trust in a person’s behavior, not their appearance and professions. Yet in this Austen was distinctly unfashionable for her time, when physiognomy, the science of judging a person’s character by their facial features, was all the rage. When Elizabeth Bennet says of Wickham “there was truth in his looks,” she is doing no more than echoing the wisdom of her age, which Austen repeatedly and systematically debunks in each of her novels.
|A woman in four stages of Puerperal Mania, |
now known as Postpartum Depression.
“Interesting.” He took a few more notes. “Does your insomnia usually come in the middle of the night, or do you have trouble going to sleep in the first place?”
“Not really,” Mr. Darcy replied. “It is staying asleep that has always proven impossible, until recently.”
“Go on,” the doctor urged.
“Since you were with us at Pemberley, I have not found the bed conducive to sleep.”
“Hmmm. Is this the reason for the couch request?”
“And how did you get on last night?”
Mr. Darcy averted his eyes. “I slept on the floor last night.”
The doctor gave him a searching look. “Nightmares?”
“All kinds of things.”
“Any recurring dreams?”
“Yes.” Mr. Darcy grew thoughtful. “I dream of my sister and others whom I have failed.”
“Do you dream of George Wickham?”
He hung his head. “Yes.”
“And monsters under the bed?” the doctor asked with a smile.
“Ancestors,” Darcy replied seriously.
“I see.” The doctor studied him contemplatively. “Rather a classic melancholic. Amazing I missed it at first!”
“And why is that?”
“Because it is inscribed in your countenance! Look here.” He rose and took a book from a shelf, flipping through the pages for a few moments until he found what he was looking for. Finally, and with flourish, he presented Mr. Darcy with an illustration labelled ‘Melancholia,’ depicting two images of the same man. In the first, he was dishevelled: neck tie undone, posture sloping, and hair wild. In the second, he was perfectly groomed and unexceptionable, even to the Bible clenched under his arm. “Note the broad forehead and patrician nose are much like yours, Fitzwilliam. Sunken eyes, careworn mouth – it is all there, plain as the nose on your face,” he laughed.
“The lines in my face are the foundations of my problems?” he asked skeptically.
“No, but they do reveal your predisposition towards melancholia. Life took care of the rest.” He made a last flourish with the pen and closed his notebook.
There are many more oddities of 19th century mental health to be discovered in The Madness of Mr. Darcy, but as it is primarily a romance, I’d like to provide the conclusion to the above scene, which begins to point us in that direction. Thanks again for having me, Mrs. Darcy! It’s always an honor.
“Just one thing more, Dr. Wilson.”
“Yes?” He paused with his hand on the door.
“When I last met Mrs. Bennet, she was a Miss Bennet, and I do not recall her having any male cousins on her father’s side.”
Dr. Wilson laughed. “You are a keen observer, too, Mr. Darcy! Miss Bennet found her position much easier to fulfill as a Mrs. Bennet, and so she adopted the more authoritative title before I even met her. I trust you will not expose her to the other guests?”
“Would you mind telling me how she came to be here, Dr. Wilson?” he asked, instantly regretting the impulse. “It is impossible to conceive how the genteel young lady I once knew found herself in such a profession.”
“It is Mrs. Bennet’s tale to tell, Fitzwilliam,” he said, studying Darcy as closely as a specimen at the end of a microscope. “You will have to ask her if you wish to hear it, but I suggest you put your prior association behind you. It cannot help you adapt to the relationship you must now have with her if you dwell too heavily on what she once was.”
“I understand,” he said, feeling secure in the knowledge that she already indicated she would confide to him the truth.
“There is one more thing I wish you would keep in mind, Fitzwilliam. Just as your curiosity is roused in regards to Mrs. Bennet, so is that of every other guest of the house, as well as a few employees. Her obvious gentility begs an explanation. Quite a few have been bandied about over the years, but I believe I remain the only person at Ramsey House who knows the entirety of the tale. She has not even confided in Mrs. Prescott, her closest companion. Her past has nothing to do with the here and now.”
Mr. Darcy looked at the odd man before him – this combination of doctor and baronet in whom he had entrusted his entire self – and knew him mistaken. The past was everything to the present.
A devoted reader of Jane Austen since her childhood, Alexa Adams is the author of Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice, Emma & Elton: Something Truly Horrid, Jane & Bingley: Something Slightly Unsettling, and the short story collection And Who Can be in Doubt of What Followed?: The Novels of Jane Austen Continued. Alexa resides in Delaware with her husband, daughter, and cat. She blogs about Austen and Austenesque literature at alexaadams.blogspot.com.
** GIVEAWAY - ends Monday 29th September**
Alexa has provided me a giveaway! Two lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of The Madness of Mr Darcy. This giveaway is open internationally.
To enter, leave a comment below and the winners will be picked randomly.
Please leave your email address and which format you would like for the ebook. If you are one of the lucky winners, I will pass on your email to Alexa who will be in touch.
Your affectionate friend,