You might say Pride and Prejudice influenced my upbringing, as I saw the 1995 film (starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy) at the impressionable age of 14 and read the book shortly thereafter. After analyzing the content of the film and the book, and reviewing what matters most in life, I came to the conclusion that whether or not Mr. Darcy actually went swimming in the book did not matter to me. What mattered was watching the movie as many times as possible and laughing heartily every single time Elizabeth stumbles upon a dripping Darcy!
I know I’m not the only one who loves it. (If you are unfamiliar with the scene, watch it here and then come right back!) There have been numerous references to it in books, film, and the news that I have come across. To name a few:
- There’s the novel by Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, where the character Bridget interviews Colin Firth and peppers him with questions about his “wet shirt.”
- And of course the scene in the film, “Lost in Austen,” where Mr. Darcy walks into a lake to satisfy the request of the heroine.
- Another is a hilarious song written and performed by Sense and Spontaneity called “Dear Mr. Darcy,” again with numerous references to his wet white shirt.
- And finally, there was a gigantic memorial statue of wet Mr. Darcy that toured the UK in 2013 and 2014.
Do you know any others? Please share in the comments!
And we cannot forget Northanger Soapworks’s contribution to this lovely list of memorials! That is, White Linen bar soap, or Mr. Darcy’s White Linen as it is sometimes called! Inspired by the wet shirt scene, it smells like freshly laundered linen and has a glittery blue top just like the sun reflecting on the lake. All that’s missing is Mr. Darcy himself, and we’ve got a bar soap for him too:)
Experience the scene again from Elizabeth Bennet’s perspective:
And to think you nearly didn’t visit Pemberley with your Aunt and Uncle Gardner. Thank heaven the family were not at home or you would never have come. The beauty of your surroundings overwhelms you and you struggle to take it all in. It is probable you will never again see its splendor, due to your refusal of Mr. Darcy’s hand. You must make the most of this visit.
A sparkle of light through the bushes catches your eye. The housekeeper had mentioned a lake on the property, could this be it?
You near the break in the hedge but before you reach it you see a figure pass through on foot. He has not seen you yet, but you flush red with mortification at your realization that it is Mr. Darcy himself—for the first time since your refusal—walking toward you in a state of dishevelment with a dripping wet white linen shirt. He looks up, shock registers upon his face, and he stops abruptly.
“Mr. Darcy!” you say.
Too late to get away. You are trapped.by Laura Hansen of Northanger Soapworks