The idea of an arranged marriage is one I’ve long found intriguing, which is why I am particularly amused by Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s dogged insistence that her daughter, Anne, and her nephew Mr. Darcy were intended for each other in Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.
My fascination caused me to wonder what if the elder Mr. Darcy had entertained the idea of an arranged marriage as well. What if his first-born son was promised to Mr. Thomas Bennet’s first-born daughter?
Mr. Bennet drew on his pipe as he continued to reflect on how things had come to be. He recalled his old friend citing in his letters on more than one occasion that his son, who was more like his aristocratic Fitzwilliam relations than not, might first appear a bit aloof. Haughty and proud is precisely how the young man had been described. On the other hand, his friend had also said his son had proven on many occasions to be a most loyal friend, and one who would do anything in the world for those whom he cared about the most.
Pray, my Jane will meet the young man’s approval and pierce his elusive facade, Mr. Bennet silently considered. We are all depending on her. The thought of what life would be like back at Longbourn should this alliance not take place gave him considerable pause.
My dear wife would be beside herself with grief. Jane’s marriage is meant to put all the other daughters in the path of rich young men who would marry each one of them in their turn, including Lizzy. With little to no dowries to speak of, such a fate was crucial. He laughed a little despite himself in recollection of his wife’s favorite antics.
Once again, he took up the task of admiring the beautiful scenery rushing by the carriage window. His wife’s words echoed in his mind: “Surely my Jane cannot be so beautiful for nothing. Young Darcy would have to be a fool not to fall madly in love with her.”