Everyone is always having speaks about this chap. So, I figured this professor should say something on the matter.
There is an injustice here.
And anytime there is an injustice it should be fixed—if it’s possible to do so, that is.
Well, this is the injustice: Mr. Darcy’s pictures.
Anytime a fellow can look as diverse as this…
…we must assume that the book description of the character in question is poor, OR that the book description of the character is…well, too hideous to represent.
(As a side note, if you stare at this grouping of Darby’s for some time, it’ll become obvious that all the actors used the same wig that the fellow who is in the painting posed with. Unless, he didn’t pose, in which case someone drew his hair on.)
Here’s that description of Darcy from the book:
“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, nobel mein; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.”
Now, that all sounds well and good—at first. Yes, I fear there is a word in there that actually ruins Darcy.
And that word is: mein.
Now, what do you suppose that means? Well, this professor has searched the web, and everyone was pretty much in agreement. (The word can’t be found in my online dictionary, I fear.)
And this is the finding: mein is a Chinese wheat flour noodle.
See, Austen was trying to tell us that even though Darcy had a mein, he was also attractive.
This, you must understand, is a rarity. You see, very rarely can you find an attractive fellow who has noodles for hair (and sometimes a beard). That’s what a mein is.
Now Austen’s paragraph begins to make sense!
No wonder Mr. Darcy drew the attention of the room: he was an attractive fellow with a mein!
This tells us something interesting about Austen as well: she knew about Chinese noodles. And not only did she know about them, she respected them on a fellow. This is life changing—for me, anyway.
Now that we know all this…what do you suppose the last bit of the paragraph means? The bit about his having ten thousand a year?
My first question is: ten thousand what?
It could be anything. Ten thousand noodles for all we know. But the fact that Austen didn’t specify is telling, isn’t it?
So, searching long and hard for a fellow with a mein who is also attractive, I chanced upon this photo that is probably almost exactly what Jane Austen was imagining when she wrote Pride and Prejudice.