Dr. George Darcy, Excerpts and Character Study, by Sharon Lathan

Dr. George Darcy, Excerpts and Character Study, by Sharon Lathan

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A writer friend recently messaged me requesting information on Indian fashion for a novel she is currently writing. Linda Thompson is a dear friend and awesome Austenesque novelist, so I am confident that her India-themed novel will be excellent. Keep an eye out for it! I was delighted to share what I could, although after so many years since conducting my research for The Passions of Dr. Darcy, the majority of the reference links I once carefully bookmarked had been deleted or were no longer functioning. I’m not sure I was of much help to Linda in the end!

However, peeking at the links reminded me of the nearly two-years I spent researching and writing George Darcy’s epic tale. Of all my novels, each of which I am immeasurably proud, The Passions of Dr. Darcy is my personal favorite. There are many reasons why the novel is my favorite, the main one being George himself. He is, simply put, absolutely brilliant and an utter delight, if I say so myself! LOL! Delving into the culture and history of India from the late 1700s to the early 1800s is another major reason. I absolutely love everything about India and adored “dwelling” there for an extended period of time.

For over twenty-years, George’s adventurous life passes in India, and thus he is far away from the Darcy clan in England. In the 430-page saga of Dr. George Darcy’s travels across the breadth of India, there were only a handful of visits home —usually due to a tragic circumstance, unfortunately— but the joy in writing those chapters was in viewing the familiar characters from Austen’s original novel in a different light. Therefore, a third reason why I love this novel so very much was the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the previous generation of Darcys. With a healthy dose of embellishment and creativity, I gave life to those Darcys who were never known beyond a name or implied reference, such as our beloved Mr. Darcy’s mother and father. Best of all, I was able to provide glimpses of Fitzwilliam and Georgiana while in their youth. Today I am sharing a few excerpts from The Passions of Dr. Darcy that take place during George’s rare voyages home.

This first snippet, trimmed for space, is from “Chapter Six: Derbyshire” and takes place in late 1798. I add the WARNING that this bit is quite sad. George has returned to Pemberley after nine years in India (his first visit home) at the behest of his brother James due to their father’s illness and imminent death from cancer. Fitzwilliam is ten-years-old and has no memory of his uncle. The first scene opens immediately after James’ warning of the elder Mr. Darcy’s shocking appearance, George steeling himself for what he is about to see upon entering his father’s bedchamber.

An extremely ill James Darcy, the Master of Pemberley.

Lady Anne Darcy rose from a chair by the fire, smiled at George, but did not approach. He smiled fleetingly and nodded a welcome, then swept his gaze over the room in a rapid survey before focusing on the large four-poster bed where his father lay. His eyes were halted by the boy sitting propped against the headboard, a pillow cushioning Mr. Darcy’s head supported on his right shoulder and a book open in his lap. The soft murmur of a voice that George had unconsciously noted when entering the room stopped as the boy looked up, azure eyes drenched with sadness and a hint of challenge directed at the stranger. 

George sucked in his breath, composure slipping for a second not at the mildly belligerent expression, since George understood that was instigated by love for and a need to protect his grandfather, but rather by the astonishing resemblance the boy—who he knew was James and Anne’s son Fitzwilliam—bore to Alex. And, obviously, to himself at ten. Not only was it uncanny, it was unexpected, and the twist in George’s gut to see a near replica to his beloved twin while trying to steel himself against emotional assault in regard to his father’s illness was almost too much. He blinked his eyes, reaching for that inner core of professionalism that never failed to serve him, and quickly turned his attention to his father. 

The elder James Darcy lay on the crisp, white linens in a slight recline on a thick down-stuffed pillow. If George had not already recognized the severity of his father’s infirmity by smell alone, his appearance sealed the diagnosis. Mr. Darcy was draped with blankets to midchest, wore a clean nightshirt that covered his body, and had a small, quilted coverlet wrapped over his shoulders, but none of it could conceal the bony figure underneath. The brawny man George had bid adieu to over nine years ago was gone. In his place was a pale, skeletal man with skin thin as tissue paper. Lastly, George looked into his father’s eyes and a jolt pierced through him. Mr. Darcy was staring directly at him with eyes cloudy from unremitting pain but at the same time a stark awareness and clarity. Even amid the agony and weakness of his body being eaten from within, the Master of Pemberley’s intelligence and strength shined through. Additionally, he was misty-eyed as he gazed upon his second son, love and happiness beaming with the power of the sun. 

“George. Welcome home, Son. I am happy to see you.” 

The simple words uttered in a weak whisper were George’s undoing, control sliding further when Mr. Darcy shakily lifted one thin hand toward him. With a swallowed sob, George hastened forward, clasped onto the cool hand that grabbed his with a firm grip, and sat on the edge of the bed. William curled his long legs to make room but did not move away. George barely noticed. His attention was focused on his father. 

“Hello, Father. I came as quickly as I could. God shined upon me as the vessel made excellent time.” 

“I have missed you, boy. You look older but content. Life in India agrees with you, I can tell. No need for you to say how I look. Awful, yes?” 

“Moderately so.” 

Mr. Darcy chuckled. “I like that. Honesty. No point in pretending, is there?” 

“No, sir. Although now you have the best physician available to tend to you, and I promise to keep my fees cheap. I’ll work for room and board.” 

“Ah, George, I have longed for your wit. Your presence alone cheers me. Your irreverent humor is almost a cure. Almost. We know that is not possible, even for you.” 

“No, Father. I am afraid it isn’t. However, I am serious in that I have medicines that will ease some of your suffering and improve your strength temporarily.” 

“Simply prolonging the inevitable, but I do thank you. I admit that the pain is tough to abide.” He glanced at the stoic lad sitting rigidly beside him. “I am not afraid to die. I have lived an excellent life filled with love and family. Heaven beckons me and in time I will see my children and grandchildren there. My Emily and Alexander are waiting for me now. No,” he sighed, looking back at George, “I am ready. But I needed to see you, George, and will accept any medical assistance you can offer for the interim. Room and board is an easy price to pay.” 

“William,” James interrupted softly. “Come with your mother and me for now while your Uncle George ministers to your grandfather.” 

“Go ahead, lad.” George patted his knee when William did not move. “I promise I will take good care of him.” 

A few days later, George has the following exchange with his young nephew~

Fitzwilliam Darcy at age 10.

“There isn’t anything you can do to cure him, Uncle? Nothing learned in your travels?” 

George looked up from the book in his lap, fixing sympathetic eyes on his nephew. William sat on the edge of the bed, holding his sleeping grandfather’s hand. He was crying silently, enormous tears sliding down his cheeks, vivid blue eyes agonized and pleading. 

“If only there were, lad. Believe me when I say I would do anything if it were possible to cure him.” George put the book aside with a sigh. “I have learned much in my studies but not how to stop this disease. I’m sorry.” 

William nodded as he closed his eyes and bowed his head. George’s heart broke as he watched the boy’s shoulders slump. 

“I once thought that if I could learn enough of medicine, travel far enough in the world seeking answers, that maybe, just maybe I could discover the secret to stopping the worst of disease and injury. I was young then, a year older than you are now, and even in my despair, I was confident that I could do what no other had been able to do. Innocence and arrogance gave me that confidence. Of course, it isn’t possible to stop death. The best we can hope is to delay it for a while.” 

“Father says you are the best physician he has ever known.” 

“Did he?” George laughed, it a mere rumble in his throat. “James is a devoted brother but hasn’t met many physicians. Of course, I am excellent”—he grinned, earning a returned wan smile—“but even with my prodigious skills, I am not divine. Only God can perform miracles, William. All I and other skilled doctors can do is heal to the best of our ability and, in some cases, such as with your grandfather, ease their suffering.”

“How long did it take you to not grieve for your brother?” 

George comprehended the deeper questions underneath the ones asked and paused for a moment to think how best to respond. William was intelligent, this George had readily ascertained, as well as extremely serious for such a young boy. He was the type of person who examined everything, weighing and measuring with logical deductions reached only after extensive deliberation, and then the conclusion clung to with confidence that would take major counter-evidence to rescind. George doubted if William would ever overcome his shy, serious nature to be the outwardly joyful man his father was. The question was whether he would bury that inner gentle soul, the poet’s heart that was so like Alex, starving it with pragmatism until it all but disappeared, or eventually allow it to break free. Crushing grief could tip the scale to the former, and George hated to see that happen. 

So he answered carefully, “I still grieve for Alex. Grief is a part of life, William. It is the flip side of love and passion. To be truly human, we must embrace both. That is the only way to have a full life. We must express all the aspects of our personality that God granted us, giving of ourselves freely so that our memory will be vividly real to those left behind. My love for Alex is kept alive because of my grief at his absence. Conversely, my grief is strong because of the amazing person he was in life. He remains a part of me, just as your grandfather will remain a part of you for all of your life. And, if like me you believe in an afterlife, as I am sure you do being raised in this family, we shall meet again. I do not know what that will be like to be honest, but I imagine Alex and I as youths swimming naked in a heavenly pond as we did Rowan Lake. I doubt if God will allow us to do some of the mischievous antics from life, but then perhaps heaven will be more fun than we imagine.” He smiled and winked. “Whatever the case in the beyond, I know Alex would want me to remember him with affection and hope, and then keep living. We do not cease when a loved one leaves us, which can almost seem cruel at the time, but is how it should be. Of course, it took me many years to accept that after Alex died. Now I am sharing that wisdom with you.” 

William nodded politely but did not look convinced. George hoped his words would be remembered later. 

George’s second trip home from India (a six-month voyage one-way) was tragically prompted by another death in the family. From “Chapter Nine: Derbyshire” set in the summer of 1805, George returns at the behest of his nephew Fitzwilliam, now 17, after the death of Lady Anne Darcy. Specifically, young William’s concern was for James Darcy, who had fallen into a deep depression at the loss of his wife. Immediately upon arriving, George confronts James in the Pemberley family cemetery, using a wee bit of physical force to snap his older brother from his consuming grief. This snippet takes up after that critical, albeit unorthodox type of “medicine” as the brothers return to the manor.

Trail through the Pemberley family cemetery.

“Come on. Show your guest some hospitality.” George slung his arm over James’s shoulder and steered away from Anne’s plot, his grip firm enough that James could not look back and had no choice but to walk with him. “I came directly here from the house. Didn’t even grab a drink. I’m parched and it is all your fault.” 

“Did we really sit together for a half hour?” 

“Yes. We talked too. You told me I looked especially handsome and debonair and in the prime of my life.” 

“I did?” 

“Well, you said I looked good. I knew what you meant though.” 

James laughter was music to George’s ears. “You also thought I was William for a second there. I suppose that means he is as dashing as I am?” 

“Not sure how I can mistake you for him with that get up.” James waved at the blue sherwani with braided gold and red trim George wore over yellow shalwar trousers. “He does look like you though. It is uncanny at times. Wait until you see him, George. Or did you?” 

“No. I came straight here to rescue you from digging a hole and climbing into it.” 

“I am glad to see you, Brother. I might even forgive you for hitting me. Eventually. And you do look good. What is your secret?” 

“I’ll tell you later. First, tell me more of my nephew and niece.” 

With gentle prodding, George kept the topic away from Anne as they walked the familiar path back to Pemberley. Mr. Taylor had alerted Fitzwilliam of his uncle’s arrival, so the youth was waiting on the rear terrace. He bowed in George’s direction as soon as he and James mounted the steps. 

“Uncle George, welcome to Pemberley. I apologize for not noting your arrival and greeting you properly.” 

“I snuck in, lad, so as to avoid any polite greetings. The lengthy falderal is a waste of time. Besides, I needed to search out your father so I could punch him in the nose. Got a nice lump starting there, James.” 

“Pleased with yourself, I suppose?” 

“I daresay I am! Rather impressive overall, although I was holding back. Didn’t want your ugly mug to look any more ghastly than it does already.” 

William’s eyes had widened and he was staring between the two men in astoundment. “Father, I shall send for some ice and soothing ointment immediately.” 

“Never mind that, William. He’ll be fine. Do him good to feel it as a reminder of what will happen if he indulges in another bout of self-pity. Now, I think food is in order. Maybe tea too, unless you have some illegal whiskey hidden about?” He raised his eyebrow in James’s direction, then nodded when James shrugged, trying to look innocent in front of his son. “Thought so! Go fetch your stash, Brother, and make it quick but clean up. You look like you have been rolling around in the dirt. It’s disgusting. Now, William”—he clapped the gaping youth on the shoulder, turned his back dismissively on James, and headed into the house without skipping a beat—“you do realize how fortunate you are to resemble your grandfather and me? Stunning handsomeness is advantageous, let me tell you. Ladies fall over themselves for a man who can dress well and dazzle with his appearance. Height is a plus, too, and you are nearly as tall as me! You will have every lady at Almack’s vying for your favors.” 

“If you say so, sir.” William looked terrified rather than enthused, blushing furiously and fidgeting with the edge of his tailored coat. 

George resisted laughing by greeting Mrs. Reynolds, who was in the parlor bent over a tray of food and beverages on the low table surrounded by several settees and chairs. He heaped on the charm, Mrs. Reynolds laughing and teasing in return. Judging by the slack-jawed gape on William’s face, Mrs. Reynolds engaged in frank coquettishness was unheard of. 

“By the way, Mrs. Reynolds, one of the bags I brought with me is a smaller portmanteau with red handles and green clasps. I assume the excellent Pemberley staff has taken it to my chambers, but if it is not too much trouble, could someone bring it to me here? I am led to believe there is a young lady in the house, a particularly beautiful miss with a lovely name and golden curls. Is this true?” 

“Yes, Doctor. This would be Miss Georgiana Darcy you refer to,” the housekeeper confirmed with a sage nod. Neither glanced to the chair across from the one George fell into and pretended not to see the glimmer of blond hair or corner of a sky-blue eye peaking from behind the tall back. 

“Would I be correct in assuming that this angel from heaven is fond of colorful ribbons, fine cloths for dresses, glittery jewels, and pretty trinkets?” 

“You would be correct, yes.” 

“Excellent! The case I requested is stuffed full of surprises that should delight this mysterious, as yet unseen girl.” 

“I will get it straightaway then.” And with a bow and a wink, Mrs. Reynolds left the room. 

A brief but serious conversation with Fitzwilliam consumes several paragraphs, George asking the confused youth to trust his expertise in dealing with grieving people and familiarity with James. I am leaving the exchange out so this post isn’t exceedingly long! The conversation is interrupted by a servant returning with the requested portmanteau. George proceeds to make a show of removing colorful scarves and other trinkets deemed “too ugly” for the hiding Georgiana he pretends not to see.

“I am assuming she likes dolls, yes? Probably has several dozen, yes?” He looked at William with each question, pleased to see the young man smiling and playing along with the charade. “As I expected. Not sure if she would want another to clutter her room then. Especially one as unattractive as this.” 

Authentic Indian wedding dolls

The “unattractive” doll was a hand-stitched fabric lady wearing a brilliant hued sari and beaded mojaris. Glass gems adorned the horsehair, dyed raven black and styled into intricate braids. Her face was painted and sewn, the painstaking detail bringing life to her eyes. The craftsmanship extended to her fingernails and toes, the plush toy a true work of art. 

George held it up for William to see, twisting his wrist so that the sari swayed around the doll’s legs. “Probably nothing that would interest Miss Darcy. I’ll just put this away then,” and he started to rewrap her in a swatch of colorful cloth. 

“No! I want the lady, please!” 

“My word!” George exclaimed, clutching his chest and gasping. “Where did you come from? Are you a fairy creature who can appear from thin air?” 

“No. I’m Georgiana.” Her eyes were drilling into the pretty doll that George held purposely close to his body and out of her reach but turned so that she could see it. Fear that George might stuff the doll back into his bag of miraculous treasures overcame her shyness, a rapid dart at his face followed by two steps nearer. 

“You are Georgiana? Impossible! Georgiana, my namesake, is but an infant. Not a young lady such as yourself, magical miss.” 

She flashed another quick glance at his face. “I’m not magical,” she giggled, adding as she lifted her chin and held up her fingers, “and I’m almost six!” 

“Hmmm… I have no reason not to believe you if you say you are Miss Georgiana Darcy, although you, little princess, are far prettier than I was told.” 

Georgiana blushed and giggled at that, but she was looking at her uncle with greater interest and less fear. He held out the doll, still keeping it close so that she had to step forward, his smile friendly and wink jaunty. Ten minutes later, James walked into the parlor to see his painfully shy daughter sitting on his brother’s lap with not one but two Indian dolls in her arms—the second a groom dressed in full marriage regalia to match his stuffed bride. Her forearms were adorned with several metal and bead bracelets clinking musically together as she moved, and her head and shoulders were covered with at least four layers of shimmering silks and satins. He could barely see her under the flood of color! Even her tiny feet were encased in rainbow shades, a different jewel and embroidery encrusted shoe on each one. 

Presents opened the door, but it was George’s unique blend of eccentricity, effervescent personality, magnificent storytelling skills, boyish playfulness, and generous affection that effortlessly won the bashful but gay Georgiana over completely and for life. She was glued to him every second they were in the same room together, usually held in his arms or curled in his lap. 

George visits England one more time before returning for a fourth “visit” which turns out to not be a visit after all. Alas, sharing more here will make this blog post impossibly long! To read more of George Darcy’s interactions with his family, as well as his extraordinary journeys and the incredible people he meets along the way, the links to all the various purchasing options for The Passions of Dr. Darcy are on my website (click the cover image below). For Amazon, click the link below.

*Click for The Passions of Dr. Darcy novel page

You never know where a life of purpose may lead…

Explore a fascinating and unique aspect of the Regency period, when the British Empire offered the young noblemen of the day promising adventures all over the world.

While Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying an idyllic childhood at Pemberley, his vibrant and beloved uncle, Dr. George Darcy, becomes one of the most renowned young physicians of the day. Determined to do something more with his life than cater to a spoiled aristocracy, George accepts a post with the British East India Company and travels in search of a life of meaning and purpose.

When George Darcy returns to Pemberley after many years abroad, the drama and heartbreak of his travels offer a fascinating glimpse into a gentleman’s journey of self-discovery and romance.

 

 

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8 COMMENTS
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DarcyBennett
DarcyBennett
July 10, 2022 2:40 PM

Love George!

Michelle H
Michelle H
July 9, 2022 6:33 PM

So late in commenting! I loved loved loved this book and it has been too many years since I read it. It’s way past time for a reread. The excerpt above tells your readers just one of the many multitudes of things to love about Dr. George Darcy. When I first read it I didn’t think it was possible to love another character as swoon-worthy as Fitzwilliam Darcy. Was I ever wrong. But there was no competition. Fitzwilliam was a child when George was his father’s generation.

You really wrote a gem there with his character. I’ve just got to read this again soon. I would love it if it were someday available as an audio book.

Mirta Ines Trupp
AuAu
July 9, 2022 4:22 PM

Loved this post! Thank you for sharing!

Glynis
Glynis
July 8, 2022 9:43 AM

I love doctor George, I’m glad he eventually returned to stay and help Darcy and Elizabeth with both their lives and their children.
Thank you for these excerpts, such a great reminder of just how charming and kind he was.

Caryl Kane
Caryl Kane
July 7, 2022 3:31 PM

I so enjoyed the excerpt! Thank you for this excellent post.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
July 5, 2022 9:35 PM

Great post I really enjoyed the excerpts! That is one of the books I don’t have so I will have to read it!

J. W. Garrett.
J. W. Garrett.
July 5, 2022 12:54 PM

What a delightful post. I thought I had read all the Saga books and as I read the excerpt, I kept thinking… I don’t remember this. Looks like I missed one. I loved Dr. Darcy as he appeared in the Saga stories. He was so exciting and added so much to the storyline. I need to read this story. Thanks for sharing with us. Blessings on all your hard work.

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