THE TIMELINE (PART TWO)

The second part of my Timeline is shown below, this detailing the events running from the start of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ up to the beginning of ‘The Formidable Mrs Elizabeth Darcy’. As before, the entries in bold are real events, those in black fictional. I’ve also done my best to cite the references in ‘P&P’ that led me to pick those dates (I’ll admit to some guessing, especially regarding the day and month of births and deaths). I’ve also allocated a number of new forenames.

1800

25th September: Charles Bingley arrives at Netherfield (‘He – Bingley – is to take possession of the place before Michaelmas’). Michaelmas is a quarter day falling on the 29th September.

27th September: Mr Bennet calls on Bingley (‘Mr Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr Bingley’). I thought I’d give him two days to stir himself …

9th October: Meryton Assembly Ball (‘When is your next ball to be, Lizzy? To-morrow fortnight’. As this question was asked on 27th September two weeks on gives the 9th October).

15th October: William Collins writes to Mr Bennet (Collins’s letter).

2nd November: Militia regiment arrives in Meryton. Again, something of a guess. It’s interesting to note though that the Militia were most active in the years between 1796-1803, when the threat of a French invasion was at its height.

18th November: William Collins arrives at Longbourn (Collins’s letter).

25th/26th November: Elizabeth dances with Darcy at the Netherfield Ball. The Ball actually took place on Tuesday 25th November 1800, but as it went on well past midnight Bingley is tediously exact when, on meeting Elizabeth in Lambton, he says, ‘we have not met since the 26th of November …’.

26th November: Mr Collins proposes to Elizabeth; she refuses (‘The next day (after the ball) opened a new scene at Longbourn’).

27th November: Bingley quits Netherfield (‘The morrow produced no abatement of Mrs Bennet’s ill humour’ and ‘Soon after their return, a letter was delivered to Miss Bennet …’)

an-act-of-power-corruption-51801

1st January: The Act of Union 1800, uniting Ireland with England comes into force.

16th February: William Pitt resigns as Prime Minister.

4th March: Thomas Jefferson becomes President of the United States.

15th March: Elizabeth visits Charlotte Collins in Hunsford and meets Lady Catherine de Bourgh (‘the first fortnight of her visit soon passed away. Easter was approaching and the week proceeding it …’). Easter Sunday in 1801 fell on the 5th April.

23rd March: Tsar Paul I assassinated.

23rd March: Tsar Alexander I assumes the throne of Russia.

19th April: Darcy proposes to Elizabeth and she refuses him (‘the five weeks which she had now passed in Kent …’).

25th April: Elizabeth leaves Hunsford and travels to London (‘you will have been here only six weeks’).

12th May: Elizabeth and Jane return to Longbourn (‘It was in the second week of May …’).

26th May: Militia regiment (and Wickham) leave for Brighton (‘they are going in a fortnight’).

15th July: The Concordat of 1801 is agreed by Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, reinstating the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France.

20th July: Elizabeth visits Derbyshire with the Gardiners (‘prevented from setting out till a fortnight later in July’).

8th August: Lydia Bennet elopes with George Wickham (‘they were off Saturday night about twelve’).

9th August: An express sent to Mr Bennet by Colonel Forster alerting him to the ‘Lydia Situation’ (‘an express came at twelve last night’).

10th August: Jane writes to Elizabeth (‘it had been written five days ago’).

11th August: Elizabeth visits Pemberley and meets Darcy.

14th August: Jane’s letter informing Elizabeth of Lydia’s elopement arrives (‘on the third [morning] her repining was over’). I must say that, on this basis, the post system in 1801 England could be judged miraculously quick. The Gardiners lodging in Lambton was a spur of the moment decision (so how did Jane know where to address the letter?) and, anyway, for a letter to get from Longbourn the 130 miles to Lambton in less than five days (as the second one did) seems remarkable.

15th August: Elizabeth returns to Longbourn (‘They travelled as expeditiously as possible … reached Longbourn by dinner time the next day’ and ‘It is not quite a week since they left Brighton’). Again, this looks, on the face of it, a little too quick. Assuming they left at 11 am on the 14th that would leave them about 8 hours of daylight. They couldn’t travel at night (no full moon until the 3rd September) and as a family of relatively modest means, like the Bennets, would dine early (to save candles they’d eat their last meal of the day around 4 pm) they would only have the same travelling time the next day. Say, 16 hours in total, less at least 4 hours to eat, water the horses etc. that would mean they achieved an average speed of over 10 miles per hour. Not possible.

22nd August: Lydia and Wickham marry (‘eloping and living with Wickham, a fortnight before they [the nuptials] took place’).

25th September: Bingley returns to Netherfield.

6th October: Bingley proposes to Jane.

13th October: Lady Catherine de Bourgh visits Elizabeth to express her disapproval of a match with Darcy (‘about a week after Bingley’s engagement with Jane …’).

16th October: Darcy proposes to Elizabeth (‘His friend [Darcy] had left him that morning for London but was to return home in ten days’ time’).

17th November: Darcy and Elizabeth are married. A guess (but I have my reasons …!).

paix_amiens1802 (Hereafter everything relates to TFMED).

25th March: The Treaty of Amiens signed: France and England are at peace.

31st March: Kit O’Malley meets General Chaos for the first time.

3rd April: Elizabeth and Darcy embark on the Grand Tour.

20th May: Napoleon re-establishes slavery in the French Empire.

13th August: Elizabeth and Darcy return to Pemberley early in order that Elizabeth might be on hand during Jane’s confinement.

25th August: Francis Thomas Bingley, first child of Jane and Bingley born.

10th October: Elizabeth, accompanied by Jane, leaves Pemberley for London and TFMED begins!

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THE TIMELINE (PART ONE)

the_arrest_of_lord_edward_fitzgerald_by_george_cruikshank
The arrest of Lord Edward FitzGerald (is that Darcy with the pistol?)

As you may have read in a previous blog, I made the assumption that the action taking place in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ begins just before Michaelmas (29th September) in the year 1800, two years before ‘the restoration of peace’ – the Treaty of Amiens signed in March 1802 – referenced in the book’s final chapter. On this basis, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy were married in November 1801. Book One of my ‘The Formidable Mrs Elizabeth Darcy’ (‘TFMED’) series begins in October 1802, ten months on from Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy. As the action in the three books is meshed with real-life events and characters, I was obliged to develop a Timeline in which I could place the key events in both ‘P&P’ and ‘TFMED’ and interlace them with the historical events referenced in my story. Without a Timeline it’s oh-so-easy to misplace things.

The first part of my Timeline is shown below, detailing the events leading up to the start of P&P. The entries in bold are real events, others fictional. I’ve also done my best to cite the references in ‘P&P’ that led me to pick those dates (I’ll admit to some guessing, especially regarding the day and month of births and deaths). I’ve also allocated a number of new forenames.

1771

12th May: Marriage of Mr George Darcy and Lady Anne Fitzwilliam.

1773

4th May: Fitzwilliam Darcy born (‘from eight to eight and twenty’ i.e. he was 28 when he married Elizabeth).

30th September: George Wickham born (‘a young man of very nearly the same age with himself (Darcy)).

1775

19th April: American War of Independence begins.

1777

13th June: Marriage of Mr William Bennet and Miss Francis Gardiner (‘the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character’).

29th September: Mrs Reynolds hired to serve in Pemberley (‘I have known him (Darcy) since he was four years old’).

1778

27th June: Charles Bingley born (‘Mr Bingley had not been of age two years, when he was tempted by accidental recommendation to look at Netherfield House’. As he did this in September 1800, q.e.d. he was 22 at the time, 23 when he married Jane).

20th November: Jane Bennet born (‘She is almost three and twenty!’).

1780

27th September: Elizabeth Bennet born: (‘I am not one and twenty’).

1782

14th January: Mary Bennet born (Okay … it’s a guess but we do know she’s the middle daughter and, hence, born sometime between Elizabeth’s 20 years and Kitty’s 17 years).

the-treaty-of-paris1783

2nd April: Catherine ‘Kitty’ Bennet born (‘for I am two years older’ (than Lydia)).

3rd September: Treaty of Paris signed, ending the American War of Independence.

 

1785

5th June: Lydia Bennet born (’she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt …’ and ‘she was only sixteen last June’).

12th October: Georgiana Darcy born (‘She was but fifteen …’ and ‘My sister, who is more than ten years my junior …’ Actually, if Darcy were accurate, she’d be twelve years his junior).

1787

22nd May: The first meeting of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

download1789

30th April: George Washington becomes President of the United States.

14th July: Storming of the Bastille.

26th August: The French Assembly publishes ‘The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen’.

1790

27th August: Darcy attends Cambridge University, studying mathematics under Thomas Postlethwaite. As Darcy’s father put Wickham thru Cambridge, it follows he’d have done the same for Darcy. Darcy, being a very bright chap, goes up to university at the age of 17.

1791

13th March: Thomas Paine’s ‘The Rights of Man’ published. 14th April: William Wilberforce introduces the first parliamentary bill to abolish the slave trade.

14th October: Theodore Wolfe Tone establishes The Society of United Irishmen.

1793

1st February: France declares war on England.

1793-execution-of-louis-xvi6th June: Darcy graduates from Cambridge (I have him graduating at the age of 20).

21st July: Emperor Louis XVI executed.

14th August: Death of Lady Anne Darcy (No reference to this in P&P, so I’ve had her predeceasing her husband).

1794

22nd April: Death of George Darcy (father of Fitzwilliam Darcy): (‘since the death of Darcy’s father, five years before’). I think the Narrator was a little in error here, Darcy’s father having died six years before.

7th May: The Habeas Corpus Suspension Act passed by Parliament.

16th June: Death of Peter Wickham (father of George Wickham): (‘his (Wickham’s) own father did not long survive mine’).

22nd December: George Wickham refuses the living granted in George Darcy’s will and instead accepts £3,000 as compensation (‘within half a year of these events …’).

1795

4th January: William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, Earl Fitzwilliam arrives in Dublin as the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He is accompanied by his 21-year-old cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy (this is a plot device of TFMED).

25th March: Earl Fitzwilliam is recalled.

26th April: Darcy, ordered to remain in Ireland after Earl Fitzwilliam’s recall, forms the Intelligence Bureau (this is a plot device of TFMED).

1796

18th October: Thomas Bingley (Charles Bingley’s father) dies (‘his father, who had intended to purchase an estate, but did not live to do it’). A pure guess but I needed him to die after 1792 (you’ll have to read THFMED to find out why!).

17th November: Tsar Paul I assumes the Russian throne.

1797

4th March: John Adams becomes President of the United States.

16th April: Sailors of the Royal Navy’s Channel Fleet mutiny at Spithead (an anchorage near Portsmouth).

12th May: Sailors of the Royal Navy mutiny at the Nore (an anchorage in the Thames Estuary).

30th May: Darcy’s success as Principal of the Intelligence Bureau results in its responsibilities being extended such that it is ‘empowered to thwart, baffle and prevent all malicious and seditious schemes designed to disturb the peace and tranquility of His Majesty, King George III, or his subjects in any and all parts of his realm’ (this is a plot device of TFMED).

20th September: George Wickham demands the living he once refused (‘For about three years I heard little of him …’).

1798

12th May: The Combination Act outlawing trade unions is given Royal assent.

18th May: Sir Henry Sirr and Fitzwilliam Darcy capture the leader of the Irish rebels, Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

luny_thomas_battle_of_the_nile_august_1st_1798_at_10pm24th May: Ireland rises in rebellion.

1st-3rd August: French navy destroyed by Nelson in the Battle of the Nile.

24th September: Irish rebellion ends.

1st October: Darcy dismissed as Principal of the Intelligence Bureau and ordered back to England in disgrace by Prime Minister Pitt (this is a plot device of TFMED).

9th November: Napoleon stages a coup d’état and becomes ‘First Consul’ of France.

1800

3rd July: George Wickham takes Georgiana Darcy to Ramsgate (‘last summer he was again most painfully obtruded on my notice’).

Questions, Questions…

robert-emmetI have been doing my research for Part Three of ‘The Formidable Mrs Elizabeth Darcy’, this, in part, to be set in Dublin. It will feature Elizabeth’s involvement with the rebellion of 1803 led by Robert Emmet.

I have to say that I have found the books on the subject quite confusing. Let me give you a for instance.

Emmet was a committed United Irishman – those struggling for an Ireland independent from England which espoused full political and religious emancipation – and I came across this picture (Featured Image above) which shows that movement’s leaders in 1798 (another year the Irish rose in rebellion).

I believe Thomas Pakenham painted the picture but what was the artist’s criteria for including the personages shown? I think this is at one with some of the ‘romanticizing’ of the Irish rebellions I come across in my reading. As an example, Robert Emmet had just dropped out of Trinity College in 1798 so he was hardly one of the UI’s main men and Thomas Russell had been in prison since 1796.

So these are the questions I’m struggling with at the moment:

Which of those shown in the picture actually fought in the Rebellion of 1798? and,

Which of them were Catholics and which Protestants?

Any help welcomed!

(Featured Image taken from: http://www.fineart-china.com/htmlimg/image-49423.html# )