Someone said I should post this story here. Don't know how it happened. Story just came to me one morning. My point is this: Darcy is a man of honor, he respects women and always tries to do the right thing. But Mrs. Siddons somehow conquered him.
My apologies to all the good ladies of Pemberley. I was just reporting what I found out recently from certain manuscripts found at Chawton house and not publicly released. Seems Aunt Cassandra's diaries make some cryptic remarks concerning a Mrs. Siddons and Mr. Darcy. It seems that, 'round August of 1800, Mr. Darcy was living not too far from Carlton House, the Prince Regents Home.
Now Mrs. Siddons, the great tragic actress of the Regency, was born in 1755, Darcy, about 1770. Darcy did not meet Miss Elizabeth Bennet until 1801, around Michaelmas. He had taken the Grand Tour and had had several more or less short term relationships with several wealthy young women of the time. He had known Mrs. Conyngham, the Prince's current mistress as of 1800. It's not certain what this relationship was. There is some indication that Darcy and Lady Conyngham were lovers or were going to be lovers.
What I gather from Aunt Cassy's letters is this: Darcy met Mrs. Siddons at a late night dinner party given in August by the Prince at Carlton House. Darcy, like Aunt Jane, disapproved of the Prince and his extravagances, but felt compelled to go, given the invitation was from the Prince himself. Col. Fitzwilliam had introduced Darcy to the Prince at a dinner party given earlier that year by the Minister of War.
At the Carlton House party, Lady Conyngham, introduced Mrs. Siddons to Darcy. Darcy took one look at her and determined to have her, period. Mrs. Siddons literally fried his brains. She became his mistress that very night.
The Prince certainly approved when he found out. The Prince could be sure of Lady Conyngham's favors. There would be no competition from Darcy now.
Now as some of you good ladies may expect, this relationship did Mr. Darcy no good at all. He spent the next year with Mrs. Siddons, constantly at her side. Mrs. Siddons turned into an absolute obsession. He forgot about his duties to his Aunt, his ward, his tenants and more or less allowed his steward to have virtual full control of one of the finest Estates in Derbyshire. Then there were the certain arguments, fights. All much to the amusement of London Society, I might add. They sometimes argued openly. Darcy became extremely jealous and was nearly involved in two duels. He sometimes over-indulged in port wine. It was a serious tragic affair.
Well, the matter finally got into the papers. But normally the phrase used was "Mrs. Siddons and a certain wealthy Derbyshire gentleman". So only bits and pieces reached Pemberley. But Lady Catherine heard about it. She was enraged, but could do nothing. Anne was unaware of it. Col. Fitzwilliam and Bingley attempted to intervene, but made little headway. It was Mrs. Siddons who finally ended the business. She wanted to tour the continent, Darcy was against it. One day towards the end of July 1801, there was a serious, loud, very loud argument in Darcy's London apartments. Items of furniture were thrown about. Servants cowered. Luckily Col. Fitzwilliam chanced by. He heard the commotion and demanding to know what was going on, pushed the doorman and servants aside, went upstairs, threw open the doors and burst into the drawing room.
"Damm me, Darcy," he cried, "what's the meaning of all this!".
Sudden silence followed. Darcy said nothing. Mrs. Siddons said nothing. She dropped the heavy gold music box Darcy had given her which she had poised to throw at Darcy and ran out of his apartments and into the streets. She jumped into her carriage and just like that, rode out of Darcy's life.
Well, as you ladies may guess, this caused something of a serious depression to come across Darcy. He began to hate himself. There was shame. He began to hate the Prince and his corrupt court and its endless debaucheries. He began to hate London.
Darcy began to feel remorse, at the way he had let Mrs. Siddons control his life and his emotional states. He swore to conquer these feelings. All feeling, really. He longed to return to Pemberley, he was even willing to put up with required visits to Rosings with Lady Catherine's, crude manners, Anne's disposition and Caroline Bingley's endless importunings.
So, as Aunt Cassandra implies, while some of his behavior at Meryton that September of 1801 was due to a certain defect in his character, namely his pride, much of it was due to the terrible blows he suffered from Mrs. Siddons.
But Good ladies, I'm happy to report that after his marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, he never strayed from the path of true marital felicity.