Yoo-hoo, Mr. Darcy – Just Between Us

I thought I loved Mr. Darcy. Movie incarnations of Jane Austen’s famous hero lined my shelves, from the snotty Laurence Olivier version to the smoldering Colin Firth and the shy Matthew McFadyen. I considered myself an aficionado—until I joined a Pride and Prejudice tour around the English countryside and met hardcore fans. A startling realization ensued. My affection for the man in the fancy riding breeches didn’t quite meet their standards.

Don’t get me wrong. I still loved Mr. Darcy. But these women loved Mr. Darcy. They worshipped at the altar of the five-hour BBC version and practically spat on the condensed two-hour Hollywood desecration. I liked them both, but wasn’t about to admit it. I didn’t want to walk home.

Our busload of giggling Austen addicts (and one poor Australian guy who’d been suckered into the trip by his girlfriend) bounced around the narrow English roads, visiting the sprawling estates used as filming locations. We dressed in period costumes, drank hot tea, and had a shameless swoony time. A mother-daughter duo designed all the tours. They arranged the food, photo ops, and other pesky details of which we were blissfully unaware. 

At least, at first.

But little things kept popping up. Vehicle troubles dictated a bus switch. A museum lost our reservation. Mistakes collected until our tour director broke down and confessed what a mess it was. 

I resented the intrusion into my Darcy-induced euphoria. I’d paid my fees. It was her job to handle behind-the-scenes stuff. Selfish, I know. How much effort does it take to pat someone on the back? Fortunately for the teary director, there were softer-hearted individuals on our bus who didn’t mind telling her what a good job she was doing. 

It shamed me. The unpleasant insight into my self-centered tendencies made me consider other areas it might affect. How did I treat my family? My friends? My co-workers? On a hard day, did I expect them to suck it up without offering any encouragement? 


It’s hard to remember when I’m not a touchy-feely extrovert. It takes effort to affirm others and compliment their endeavors, even when those efforts don’t work out. But Prov. 3:27 tells me, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” My pastor’s wife summed it up nicely: Don’t hold goodness in.

Just like Mr. Darcy learned to let go of his pride, I had to make the decision. I want to be an affirmation-giver. Like the fangirls on the bus, I want to open my mouth and release goodness. I want to reach out, pat someone on the back, and hopefully receive a pat in return. 

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