The Darcys and Lord Byron in Venice: Part 2 — 24 Comments

  1. Oh poor Lizzy. To be honest I think she should have either shown it to Darcy or burnt it rather than risk his finding it.
    What a scoundrel Byron is, it’s perfectly obvious that Darcy and Elizabeth are in love so he should respect that.

    • Agree she should have shown him the note, but I can’t blame her for wanting to buy a little time to think over the ramifications, Glynis. I think Byron respects their love, but in his twisted mind, he wants to be part of it!

  2. Holy what a secret Elizabeth might have to withhold from dear William! Now what will she do? Tell him the truth or withhold it? What audacity Lord Byron shows to a happily married woman! I think she would have been wise to burn the note… maybe at least. Can’t wait to see where this leads!

  3. I tend to agree with Elizabeth that Byron cannot be happy in his pursuits but a troubled darkened mind. In his selfishness, he has put a severe burden on Elizabeth. If she is wise, she should tell him and suggest that they leave Venice to avoid any talk or scandal. I’m sure Darcy will have a way to let Byron know that he has more than crossed the line without calling him out. Thank you for the pictures and the paintings! I cannot imagine the water be all the great for swimming in though!

    • Thanks, Carole, yes, I thought that Jane Austen would think Byron’s mind “darkened.” It’s something she has Fanny Price say about Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park, and my impression is that she rather disapproved of Byron. Glad you liked the pictures, it’s so much fun for me to share them! I wonder if the water was worse in Venice then than even today…after all, they probably used those canals for waste then. It doesn’t bear thinking about! But Byron really did swim in them.

  4. Poor Lizzy! That was quite unfair of Byron to invite her behind Darcy’s back. I have to agree with Darcy that Byron was indeed no gentleman! But I understand Lizzy’s predicament…yet if Darcy discovers the note before she tells him of it, the situation could become quite misunderstood!

    Thank you for the lovely descriptions and the unlovely (or is that too-lovely?) Byron, Diana!

    Susanne 🙂

    • Thank you, Susanne – I don’t think Byron was too worried about being fair or unfair, all’s fair in love I suppose he thinks!

  5. Indeed poor Lizzy, what will she do with that note. Better to show it to Darcy and talk about it than risk him finding it hidden under a Capodimonte cupid jug or saucer.Then what would happen between Darcy and Elizabeth either the fireworks would fly or the coldness would set in. All agog to see where the story goes next Diana

    • I know. It really isn’t safe to leave a note like that lying around, though I do think Darcy would always trust Elizabeth! Thanks for commenting, Ann, and let’s see what will happen next…

  6. I felt your own point of view come out in the dialogue on life lived intensely — at least as to travel. In this one you brought in more of the realities of Byron’s life but not why he took the view of the world he has — which he spells out in Childe Harold and brings out most forcefully in that Darkness: A Vision. His Vampire story is also of interest: I think it might be the very first vampire story to identify with the vampire; LeFanu picked up the name for his Uncle Silas.

    The scene of the peasant mistress reminded me of Tolstoy’s War and Peace where the family visit an old uncle who is loving a comfortable life with a peasant mistress. She doesn’t glower. Byron is said to have had many women from the street, but two regular ones (not peasants as I recall).

    If Darcy were a real person of that era, he might think he has to challenge man. Hard to say because often these duels were not wanted, and only driven by the publicity in which the initiating incident occurred. The note gives the story a bite

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Ellen. I admit that I know Byron from his letters, which I’ve read them completely, but I barely know him from his poetry at all. I’d better read Darkness: A Vision, maybe it will help me know him better (though I have read [parts of] Childe Harold and yes, the vampyre. Loved Uncle Silas, which I read for work long ago!). Byron is supposed to have slept with 200 women in Venice…

  7. AS I have said before — I think having Byron chase a married woman is defamation of the poet. he did have affairs with married women– for in his society they and actresses and such were the ones with which to dally– but he wasn’t the predator. he didn’t chase married women. They chased him and he , usually, allowed himself to be caught. Once or twice he did turn down an invitation. One was with a woman who had only been married for about a year. Later he commented ruefully on his restraint when the wife was said to have had an affair with another famous man.
    Your dislike of Byron shows but for the most part the story is interesting. I do not like stories about Jane Austen’s characters nor those that disparage Byron unduly but it is a credit to your ability as an author that I mostly enjoyed the piece.

    • Dear Nancy, I really do owe you an apology! I knew as I was writing it that you would revile my version of Byron with all your heart, but I knew at the same time that you’d recognize it for being fiction, and fantasy! I do want to say that I don’t dislike Byron. I absolutely adore his letters, think they are the best in the language, and I like HIM, personally, very much – he was a man who transcended the customs and beliefs of his century, and so very human. I am not an expert on his poetry, and have not honestly read much of it; it’s his letters I love. Perhaps that shows. Thank you so much for commenting and keeping an open mind! After all, I don’t claim it for fact! 🙂

      • Byron said he had sex with over a thousand women during carnivale. It was an obvious exaggeration. For one thing, there wouldn’t have been time enough to eat or sleep. He was often his own worse enemy. I doubt he even had sex with 200 during carnivale. It wasn’t that long a time frame. I think he behaved recklessly and did over indulge and risked having to take the cure of mercury and calomel for gonorrhea.
        “Darkness” was one of the works influenced by the weather in 1816. That was the year the New Englanders called “the year without a summer’. The effects in England were mixed but on the continent there were ruined crops and food shortages. The weather was often dreary– wet and cool without much sunshine. I have often wondered if Byron was one of those who needs sunshine — a seasonal defect disorder ( sp?) sort of thing. he certainly became creative when in the sun of Italy.
        “The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
        Did wander darkling in eternal space,
        rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
        Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air— p. 169 Complete Poems Cambridge edition.

        A dystopian view of the end of the world written in July of 1816. His wife had left him and opened him to ridicule in England and the weather was horrible. He had left England towards the end of April so H=July wasn’t that long after. I can imagine he wasn’t at his most optimistic.

        • Nancy, thank you again so much for some really interesting research and imagination suggestions. I will read “Darkness,” and am feeling simply bursting with inspiration already! My story is set about a year after the summer of darkness, but I can well imagine that Byron was very much in a state of emotional turmoil after leaving England and the ensuing dystopian influences. His remarks in the letters about his hatred for English people reflects his current mood. I know in a way fictional mash-ups can be seen as silly, but I’m imagining “Darcy and Elizabeth” as very amiable English people and vehicles through whose eyes we see Byron. Next up, I think, a Carnival masked ball…and I absolutely PROMISE not to depict Byron having sex with hundreds! (I don’t promise there may not be a masked mix-up though…stay tuned!)

    • Tell me some of them, Diane, because I am kind of stumped (LOL!) I really am enjoying about writing about beloved Venice and some of my favorite characters, but as to what on earth is going to happen next, I may have painted myself into a corner!

  8. Great installment! A cliffhanger… a crumpled note. Thanks for all the great pictures. They enhance the storytelling.

    • Thank you so much, Joyce! I want to keep the story going if only to utilize as many of my pictures as possible! 🙂

    • Thanks for the website, Joyce, you are making me even more excited about setting the next episode during Carnival! OF COURSE I brought home masks! On my first trip to Venice with my husband in 1988 we brought home a few. When I went with my son in 2006, we brought home more. And on this trip with my friends – yes, more! So we have quite a few Venetian masks by now, and you know you have a standing invitation to come and see them! 🙂 My son particularly likes the long-nosed plague masks, and has a few of those. My favorite that I brought back this time is a very similar cat mask on the top of the website you shared! I will definitely decorate my next installment with masks, now isn’t that a good idea? 🙂

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