Mr Darcy's Valentine Blog Tour
Happy Valentine’s Day friends! Welcome to my blog where today I’m talking about my new Pride and Prejudice variation Mr. Darcy’s Valentine. This story takes place entirely in London in January and February after the Bingley party leaves Meryton.
People spent months in town after Christmas through the spring, and Darcy and Elizabeth needed something to do in London other than just send valentines. The first place they run into one another is at the Haymarket—and no, no one is selling hay there.
Aside from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the southern part of the site of what is now Her Majesty’s Theatre in the Haymarket has been in continuous use for theatrical entertainment for longer than any other place in London. When Darcy and Bingley run into the Gardiners there, it was called the King’s Theatre. It had burnt down in 1789 and was only rebuilt after arbitration over disputes between the owners in 1791. It was primarily known as an opera house and was devoted to music and dancing rather than putting on plays.
The pit could hold about 800 people. There were tiers of boxes around the stage that held nearly 900 people. In Mr. Darcy’s Valentine, the Gardiners got seats in the gallery that held another 800. The King’s Theatre also had a card room, coffee room, tea room, and other gathering spaces where someone might have a chance to catch the eye of an old acquaintance.
On or around every February 1, a “concert of ancient Music commences in the Great Room in the King's Theatre Haymarket.” In this context, ancient music just means opposite to modern music. They performed the works of composers like Handel and other Baroque composers from the early eighteenth century. It all might sound ‘ancient’ to us, but they were performing works that could have been around one-hundred-years old.
This is the performance where Bingley first learns that Jane is in town in Mr. Darcy's Valentine. In this scene, Elizabeth has just had a pleasant conversation with an eligible young man Mr. Elgin that she’s met through the Gardiners. As he leaves, she spots a familiar face in the theatre’s vestibule. Given what she’s realized about how the Bingleys left Hertfordshire, Elizabeth is not too happy about spying Darcy in the crowd.
When her aunt gave her an expressive look, Elizabeth felt herself blush again. She turned from the others to look around the crowded vestibule and settle her mind. Mr Elgin’s notice was flattering, but it was too soon to know if it meant anything real. Still, she smiled and touched her warm cheeks, looking at everything and nothing, until she locked eyes with Mr Darcy.
They were within twenty yards of each other, but there was a crowd of concert goers between them. He was standing at the edge of a group that included Mr Bingley. Mr Darcy’s companions were facing away, engrossed in some conversation, and he appeared to be idly looking across the vestibule just as she had been.
He will coldly withdraw his eye and pretend he never saw me. As he continued to look, she supposed that cutting her would be heartlessly rude even for a man who said she was not handsome enough to dance with. She bowed her head in greeting, expecting that at any moment Mr Darcy would touch his forehead or bow, and then turn away.
The seconds stretched out, and she wondered what he was thinking. His intent gaze held hers for a little longer, and then passed over her companions. She watched Mr Darcy bow, but to her utter amazement, he touched Mr Bingley’s arm and spoke into his ear. His friend then started and she could see his lips form the word “what”.
Mr Bingley then spun round, and looked all over, until Mr Darcy subtly pointed to where she was standing. Mr Darcy’s expression was as reserved as it ever was, but Mr Bingley’s face broke into a wide smile when he noticed who was standing next to her.
Elizabeth instinctively turned away, her heart pounding fast. Mr Darcy told his friend that Jane is here. The incredulity in Mr Bingley’s expression as he cried “what” told her that he had never known that Jane was in town. He would certainly make his way over to them.
“Jane,” she said, gripping her sisters arm. She had only a moment before he appeared. “I think Mr Bingley cared for you, and his sisters and friend knew it, and persuaded him to forget you. And Miss Bingley never told him that you were in town.”
Jane’s curious expression fell. “Lizzy, no! If they believed him attached to me, they would not try to part us; if Bingley was so, they could not succeed.”
“But Jane, he—”
“By supposing he had an affection for me, you make everybody acting unnaturally and wrong, and me unhappy.”
“He has just seen you!” Jane paled and brought a hand to her throat. “He looked shocked, and is coming this—”
They turned to see not only a pleased Mr Bingley, but also his solemn friend. Within a few moments, Jane had received his compliments and introduced him to her aunt and uncle, and Mr Darcy had deigned to allow Jane to present him to two people who live in Cheapside. Elizabeth was not without the expectation of Mr Darcy’s decamping as fast as he could from such disgraceful companions, but while he did not leave neither did he engage them in conversation.
Bingley was smiling with delight, Jane had a heightened colour, and both were saved from their excited manner and polite nothings by the pleasant conversation of her aunt and uncle.
Mr Darcy was silent but eyeing the Gardiners curiously. That he was surprised by the connexion was evident. He likely thought it impossible that anyone who lived in Gracechurch Street could speak with intelligence, taste, and good manners. What an exceedingly proud man. While their friends turned pink and smiled and said nothing of note, she could either be silent, or she could provoke Mr Darcy into speaking.
It would be the greater punishment to him to oblige him to talk.
Read Mr. Darcy's Valentine to discover how that conversation went!
Worldwide Swag Giveaway
The giveaway is open from 02/06/2023 12:00am EST through 02/15/2023 12:00 am EST. Giveaway is open worldwide. One winner will be chosen at random on February 15, 2023. Winner has 24 hours to reply and claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. Entrants must leave a comment on the blog or subscribe to Heather Moll's newsletter to enter. Entrants can leave a comment at every blog.
One entrant will win:
Signed paperback copy of Mr. Darcy's Valentine
'Mr. Darcy' soap from Northanger Soapworks
Color Me Jane adult coloring book
If the form won't load, visit this link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b388cc4810/?
How does their conversation at the theatre go, and do they think about it in the same way afterward? Regardless of what Darcy and Elizabeth say to one another, it’s the start of many meetings between them from February 1 until that fateful Valentine’s Day.
Be sure to enter the giveaway by either leaving a comment or subscribing to my newsletter. Today is the last day of the tour, so the giveaway runs through Valentine's Day 💌