By Deborah Yaffe, Sep 17 2020 01:00PM
In vain have I struggled. It will not do. Even though it bears no relation to anything else going on in Jane Austen World, you must allow me to tell you about the rooster.
See, a couple of months ago, I happened across a delightful post on the Facebook page of Columbia State Historic Park, a preserved Gold Rush town in Northern California. As you can see, the photo shows a handsome barred rooster with an impressive red comb and wattle, and the caption reads, “Columbia’s unofficial mascot, Mr. Darcy. The only rooster among the many hens.”
The photo drew some admiring comments, a factual demurral – apparently, two other roosters do frequent the park – and one Colin Firth GIF (“I have not that talent which some possess of conversing easily with strangers.”)
For weeks now, I’ve been wracking my brains to think of a clever way to link this picture to--well, just about any tidbit of Austen news. Last year, blog readers will recall, a Baltimore zoo named a penguin after Mr. Knightley, but as I’ve noted before, journalists require three instances of a phenomenon in order to label it a trend. A mere two avian Austen namesakes just won’t cut it.
But now I’m officially giving up on sense and succumbing instead to sensibility: Really, I have no excuse for writing about a rooster that just happens to be named Mr. Darcy. But at times like these, it’s somehow heartening to think instead about . . . chickens.
But wouldn't it really be more appropriate to name a rooster after Willoughby?
Oh, law, Marie, you do shock me!