I still see Mr. Darcy as Colin Firth, who is perfection, but the real identity of one of Jane Austen's most swoonworthy characters seems to have been found. British historian and author Susan C. Law's new book Through the Keyhole claims to have revealed Austen's real Mr. Darcy, after generations of speculation about who inspired the Pride and Prejudice character.
While she says she cannot be "100% sure," Law believes Austen based Mr. Darcy on the first Earl of Morley, John Parker. Austen was friends with Morley's second wife Francis and her brother Henry attended college with him. Law said that Austen reportedly called Morley "handsome" and "attractive," according to The LA Times. Morley was a member of the House of Lords from 1788 until 1815, going by Lord Boringdon. (And hopefully "boring" isn't representative of him in any other way.)
Speaking about Mr. Darcy's real-life identity, Law said to The Telegraph:
It can be very frustrating and it is like trying to piece together a jigsaw. It has been fascinating and I have been longing to find that cast iron bit of evidence. But after spending so long on it, I am pretty convinced.
Law also said that the similarities physically between Mr. Darcy and Morley are "obvious," but I'll let you see for yourself:
Well hey there. There's definitely a silver fox with a genial face happening here.
And Pride and Prejudice may not be the only Austen novel Morley inspired. Igniting the rumor mill back in the day, Morley allegedly had three illegitimate children with his married mistress, and the scandal is generally believed to be the story behind the adultery plot in Mansfield Park, Law said.
Image: National Portrait Gallery/Wikimedia Commons