Hello Dear readers,
Today I’m lucky to receive in From Pemberley to Milton J. Marie Croft with a guest post as part of her blog tour for A Little Whimsical in His Civilities.
Her guest post made me think about Mr. Darcy and whether he is whimsical or not. If someone told me that he was, I would immediately dismiss and deny it, but Mrs. Croft raised some interesting points, after all he does change a little…
I will leave you to read, think and comment J. Marie Croft’s, post, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂
Told entirely from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s point of view, J. Marie Croft’s humorous novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, spans one moonlit, autumnal night upon the gentleman’s return to Hertfordshire in pursuit of Elizabeth Bennet.
“We take the turning which places us on Meryton’s main road, and—oh, gad! There it is—the base-court building which passes for an assembly hall in this godforsaken place. For me, the venue shall be either a heaven or a hell tonight. My palms grow clammy, my gut churns, and I regret that second helping of onion-laden vegetable pie forced on me before we left.”
Accompany Darcy as he, intent on reversing the disastrous first impression he made there, braves another Meryton assembly and seeks to win his heart’s desire.
Thanks, Rita, for allowing me the honour of writing a guest post for your blog. Because you’ve been so gracious … and brave (After all, one never knows what nonsense might leak forth from my pen!), your reward will be an entirely pun-free post. There’ll be no wordplay, I promise. But, because I’m a word nerd, this will be about words … or, at least, one in particular.
Within the pages of Pride and Prejudice, one of my favourite words is spoken by Mr. Gardiner while he, his wife, and Elizabeth are leaving Pemberley the first time.
“But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his civilities,” replied her uncle. “Your great men often are; and therefore I shall not take him at his word about fishing, as he might change his mind another day, and warn me off his grounds.” ~ Jane Austen
When Austen used whimsical in that passage, she conveyed Mr. Gardiner’s leeriness of Mr. Darcy’s invitation to fish at the estate’s stream. He supposed such an eminent gentleman might be capricious – temperamental, changeable, unpredictable.
Whimsical may not be the first word one thinks of when asked to describe Fitzwilliam Darcy, but he is changeable. For the love of Elizabeth Bennet, he amends his ways and becomes a better man.
Accordingly, the word whimsical is used in the capricious context in my novella’s title. Albeit the outwardly well-mannered Mr. Darcy in that story might be described more aptly as a little snarky in his thoughts. For instance, initially he thinks of Mr. Jones as a pestiferous, hedge-born minnow. Later in the story, Mr. Jones is thought of as ‘the accommodating apothecary’. See? Mr. Darcy does change for the better, not only in his mind but in his outlook on life. He’s changeable.
I’m glad Austen used ‘whimsical’ instead of the more uncomplimentary ‘capricious’ (given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour). However, I prefer the word whimsical for its other meaning. Although Johnson’s Dictionary includes ‘freakish’, the second sense of whimsical is playfully quaint, oddly fanciful, unusual, especially in an appealing and amusing way.
Since fanciful means over-imaginative and unrealistic, some may say Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy is, indeed, whimsical in the fanciful sense — a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ fictional character.
He’s not all goodness, though. He has his peccadillos; and we all, at times, own churlish opinions. So, what insults, slurs, set-downs, or – heaven forbid! –bawdy thoughts might run through Mr. Darcy’s mind? Jane Austen gave us few clues as to what the gentleman was thinking. So I, rather audaciously, plunked myself inside the man’s head and changed the events following his and Bingley’s return to Hertfordshire in the autumn after Hunsford.
At one point in the novella, while thinking of (and lusting after) Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy dances with another young lady.
… I am so thankful you cannot read minds.
Casting me a distrustful glance, the lady tosses her head and looks away.
What? Oh God, you cannot read minds, can you? No, no, of course not.
Oh, Darcy, your dance partner can’t read your mind, but readers of A Little Whimsical in His Civilities certainly can.
Now I’d like to get inside your head and know your thoughts about the word whimsical and what it means to you. What sort of images does that word conjure up in your mind?
For me, whimsical often implies a sense of unworldliness, as in things mystical, imaginative, fantastic, or fey. Like this.
These wooden dolls exemplify the playfully quaint kind of whimsy found in folk art.
All manner of quirky, off-the-wall (or dangling-from-the ceiling) items – such as whirligigs, zany sunglasses, or eye-catching umbrellas – might be considered whimsical.
Then there’s the ethereal, delicate sort of whimsy … things like fireflies, dandelion fluff, and twinkly lights.
Those images were gathered for my Pinterest board, What’s Whimsical? Have a look there, and see if you agree with my choices. Another board, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities features quotes from the novella accompanied by befitting imagery.
Your thoughts on Whimsical (the word, my Pinterest board, or my novella ) will be appreciated.
Marie Croft is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery”. Her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight(Meryton Press, 2013), her humorous short story, Spyglasses and Sunburns, in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summeranthology (Meryton Press, 2015), and her novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Meryton Press, 2016) bear witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter.
Purchase A Little Whimsical in His Civilities by J. Marie Croft
It’s giveaway time!!!
Meryton Press is sponsoring a blog tour giveaway for A Little Whimsical in His Civilities. In in the end of the blog tour 8 winners (4 ebook & 4 paperback) will be randomly selected and contacted. To enter the giveaway click on the below link 🙂
Blog Tour Schedule
2/8: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
2/9: Guest Post & Giveaway at Moonlight Reader
2/10: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
2/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
2/12: Excerpt at My Love for Jane Austen
2/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
2/14: Guest Post & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
2/15: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
2/16: Review at Just Jane 1813
2/17: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
2/18: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
2/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
2/20: Guest Post & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
2/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
2/22: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice