Even though Jane Austen under no circumstances admitted it herself, students have long speculated that Irish politician and decide Thomas Langlois Lefroy was the inspiration for Satisfaction and Prejudice‘s Mr. Darcy. What we do know is that Austen and Lefroy invested some time together and experienced a limited-lived flirtation. In point, a calendar year just after Lefroy’s dying in 1869, a person of his nephews wrote to Austen’s nephew to say: “My late venerable uncle … stated in so lots of words and phrases that he was in love with [Jane], while he capable his confession by stating it was a boyish appreciate.”
So who was this thriller man?
Thomas Lefroy was born in Limerick, Ireland, on January 8, 1776 (a single year soon after Austen) and died on Could 4, 1869, at the incredibly-outdated-for-his-time age of 93. (In comparison, Austen passed away in 1817 at the age of 41.) All through his lengthy lifetime, Lefroy served as main justice of the Courtroom of Queen’s Bench in Ireland and as a member of Parliament (MP) for Dublin University for 11 many years.
Soon after graduating from Dublin’s Trinity College or university in 1795, Lefroy moved to London to analyze law at Lincoln’s Inn. According to the Jane Austen Centre’s web-site: “At some place, even so, it was resolved that [Lefroy] really should choose a split. Family history maintains that extensive evenings poring about guides had weakened his structure and his vision. It was very clear that he needed a rest. With a new term commencing in January, 1796, Tom took a number of months off in December of 1795 to stop by his Uncle and Aunt, Rev. George and Anne Lefroy in Ashe, approximately 60 miles away.”
It was during this continue to be with his aunt and uncle that Lefroy met Austen. The two invested time collectively at a number of vacation balls that season and Austen mentioned Lefroy in letters she wrote to her sister Cassandra at the time—though she wasn’t fairly proclaiming her timeless really like. “I signify to confine myself in upcoming to Mr. Tom Lefroy,” Jane wrote, “for whom I do not treatment sixpence.”
The Jane Austen Centre has pointed out that even though “the tone of these letters does not seem like a girl deeply in adore … It is vital to take into account that Jane, but 20 several years previous at the time, no doubt anticipated them to be study to or at minimum shared with the Fowle household, with whom Cassandra was staying.” In buy to keep away from any potential embarrassment, it is really considered that Jane intentionally downplayed her feelings for Lefroy.
Tom’s great–uncle Benjamin Langlois funded Tom’s education at Trinity University in Dublin. Benjamin reported this about his terrific-nephew: “A very good coronary heart, a fantastic head, superior feeling, and as tiny to correcting him as ever I noticed in one particular of his age.”
In a letter dated January 9, 1796, Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra about Tom: “He is a very gentlemanlike, fantastic-hunting, pleasurable youthful gentleman, I guarantee you … [H]e has but one fault, which time will, I belief, entirely remove—it is that his morning coat is a fantastic deal way too light.”
In Becoming Jane (2007), Julian Jarrold’s huge-monitor adaptation of Jon Hunter Spence 2003’s semi-biography Getting Jane Austen, James McAvoy portrayed Lefroy opposite Anne Hathaway as Austen. The motion picture deviated from the reserve in acquiring Lefroy and Austen tumble in like and attempt—but fail—to run away and get married.
In an job interview with McAvoy, The Telegraph wrote that the actor “firmly believes Austen did have a significant and eventually daily life-shifting romance with Lefroy.” He also thinks that Lefroy would not have experienced an Irish accent, which is why McAvoy spoke with an English accent in the movie. (McAvoy is Scottish.)
“It is fully disrespectful to an Irishman to suggest the English overlords all had Irish accents, just since you want a bit of the Irish blarney for the American audiences,” McAvoy reported.
If Austen and Lefroy were being so effectively suited to just about every other, why did not they conclusion up with each other? The common consensus is that Austen’s lack of prosperity performed a component. But in 1799, Lefroy married Mary Paul, who did appear from income. The pair had eight kids they named their next youngster, and 1st daughter, Jane.
Though Austenites would love to believe that that Lefroy’s daughter was named for the author he experienced as soon as (perhaps) beloved (and that is what is implied in Becoming Jane), it really is more probable that she was named following Lady Jane Paul, Lefroy’s maternal grandmother.
On March 30, 1846, Lefroy frequented Williams Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, to fiddle all around with the Earl’s telescope. In a letter prepared to his spouse the subsequent day, Lefroy said of the practical experience:
“Yesterday was without a doubt a most appealing working day. Lord Rosse and his spouse were as form to me as achievable. The miracles of his telescope are not to be instructed. He says—with as considerably simplicity as an additional person would say, ‘Come and I’ll show you a wonderful prospect’—’Come and I’ll show you a universe, just one of a numerous multitude of universes, just about every more substantial than the whole universe hitherto known to astronomers.”
Lefroy noticed Jupiter, and seemed to be in awe of the instrument. “But the genius shown in all the contrivances for wielding this mighty monster even surpasses the design and execution of it,” he wrote. “The telescope weighs 16 tons, and nonetheless Lord Rosse raised it solitary-handed off its resting spot, and two adult men with ease raised it to any height.”
If you happen to be setting up a trip to Ireland and want to fork out your respects to Lefroy and the position he played in the generation of Pleasure and Prejudice, you can take a look at his grave it is positioned in Dublin, at Mount Jerome Cemetery and Crematorium.
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