“I don’t know of anyone who has read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and not fallen in love with Mr Darcy,” my wife said to me once.
She is right. Mr Darcy’s mystery, handsome appearance, wealth and original arrogance makes him a magnetic man; an ideal hero of a romantic novel. He is a prototype of the indifferent and standoffish hero, and a romantic interest of Elizabeth Bennet, the novel’s protagonist.
Mr Darcy first meets Elizabeth Bennet at a ball, where he cold-shoulders her by refusing to dance with her, and makes disparaging and humiliating remarks about her while she is within earshot. But gradually, he gets drawn to her and woos her even as he grapples with his feelings of superiority.
Clearly, the guy comes across as haughty. But scratch the surface and you could find there is more to Mr Darcy’s personality than his wealth and appearance. Behind that arrogance and exaggerated sense of pride, there is a man plagued by a strange fear. And Mr Darcy tells Elizabeth about it at Rosings — the home of his aunt, Catherine de Bourgh.
While playing the piano at Rosings, Elizabeth recounts to Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam how he kept to himself at the ball. To that, Mr Darcy replies he did not know anyone in the ballroom and was “ill qualified” to recommend himself to strangers.
Elizabeth then raises an interesting question:
Why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers?”
To which Mr Darcy responds:
I certainly have not the talent which some people possess of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”
Many of you might relate to Mr Darcy’s mental and social handicap. An unknown, unseen power grips most of us when we are in unfamiliar surroundings populated by people we have never seen before. We are tongue-tied; we don’t know what to say.
Darcy’s handwriting, please
Unfortunately, we will never have access to Mr Darcy’s handwriting to see where such personality roadblocks show up. But that does not mean we cannot learn how to spot his defining personality traits in handwriting.
In this article, I will restrict myself to three handwriting features that co-relate to his personality traits that make him someone who cannot “converse easily” with strangers.
1. Wide word spacing
Wide word spacing — wider than the width of letter m in that handwriting sample — shows that the writer does not act spontaneously. He is someone who ponders a lot, often takes a step back, and stops to reflect. He does not easily allow people to come close and takes a considerable amount of time in allowing a relationship to grow at a personal level.
Describing people who write with wide word spacing, Sheila Lowe, an accomplished handwriting analyst, says such writers “may be charming and sophisticated”, but they are “also reserved” and they “keep their distance” in social interactions. “You can expect (their) social circle to consist of a carefully chosen few,” Lowe points out.
Sounds like Mr Darcy, right? It’s possible he wrote with wide word spacing. Now, let’s move to the next one.
2. Bigger second hump in letters m & n
It has also been suggested by several Pride and Prejudice fans that Mr Darcy was a self-conscious man. Explaining self-consciousness, Aaron Karmin, a psychotherapist in Chicago, says: “When you’re self-conscious, it’s as though you’re on stage, and the audience is scrutinising your every step. Rationally, you know that everyone isn’t watching you, but that’s how you feel.”
In other words, a self-conscious person is scared of looking foolish. From the moment such a person enters a public gathering or party, she or he feels that everybody is looking only at them. They find extreme difficulty in getting over this feeling of being observed. “Such awareness can impair one’s ability to perform complex actions,” says Bart Baggett, president of Handwriting University International, USA.
Does Mr Darcy fit in this category? Maybe to some extent, because when he is in a room full of unknown people, his behaviour changes and he wants to be more in control of his actions, though he is friendly and amicable with people acquainted with him.
3. Left-slanted handwriting
Mr Darcy did not believe in quickly revealing his true feelings, which exposed him to the possibilities of getting misunderstood.
Handwriting analysis says people who often get misunderstood are usually the left-slant writers. They hold back their emotions and react too little or too late unless provoked or pushed to the corner. They are emotionally suppressed. And, by the time they decide to express themselves, people have already formed an opinion about them.
That’s exactly what happened to Mr Darcy, who struggled with his true feelings for Elizabeth. And when he finally decides to profess his love — with a heavy dose of pride, nonetheless — Elizabeth’s prejudice doesn’t allow her to change her opinion about the owner of the Pemberley country estate.
But all’s well that ends well. Mr Darcy saves the day, wins his girl’s heart and goes on to have a ‘happily ever after’ life (my wife says so). Really? My wild guess is that with so many personality differences between the two of them, it would have been a rocky ride for our enigmatic hero and his feisty heroine.