Unravelling Mr. Darcy at Vauxhall Gardens

Unravelling Mr. Darcy at Vauxhall Gardens

Elizabeth placed her hand on Darcy’s arm and allowed him to escort her from their supper box and toward one of the numerous paths in Vauxhall Gardens. The vast number of people that filled the supper boxes and paths was astonishing, and then when the torches were lit, and the orchestra was playing while waiters scurried back and forth making certain that all in attendance were happy, it was nearly overwhelming. She had heard stories of this place, but until now, she had never truly imagined its grandeur.

Darcy drew Elizabeth closer to his side as they strolled. “Are you enjoying yourself?”


Darcy smiled at how the word was more breathed than spoken. “I had wondered. You have been rather quiet.”

She looked up at him. “I am awestruck by my surroundings. There is nothing quite like this in Hertfordshire.”


Vauxhall Gardens by Samuel Wale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Into every story, a little research must fall.  One of the things I read about for my latest release, Unravelling Mr. Darcy, was Vauxhall Gardens. I needed a place for Darcy and Bingley to take their ladies while the Bennet sisters were in town, and I did not wish to go to the museum or the theatre.  Knowing that Elizabeth is fond of walking, I decided Vauxhall Gardens with its many paths would be an enjoyable place for my couples (and their family members) to go for an evening of festivity.  

Now, will I describe Vauxhall in great detail in my novella?  No. The majority of my description of this place is in the excerpt above.  There will, later, be a mention of stopping to greet acquaintances and a short teasing exchange about the number of people to which Darcy is subjecting himself that will hint at the popularity of the venue.  There will even be a few lines about the darker paths that might be used for less proper activities.  But that will be all.  

When I write, I might spend hours reading about a location or an event, only to include a few details — a line or two of text, a mention of an event or person, a name for a dessert.  I like to use my research to create a picture in my mind of where my characters are and then to just dot my manuscript with things that will make my story more authentic to the era.  

Charles Benjamin Incledon [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
In like manner, I am not going to rewrite for you all of the details I read about Vauxhall.  I will, however, leave you with some links where you can read about Vauxhall and its history as well as see more pictures of the place.  

“Oh, but Leenie,” you say, “are you not a teacher? Do you not wish to give us a lesson on this subject?”

For one thing, it would take far more space than what I have for this blog post to give you a thorough lesson on Vauxhall and its history — and then, I would not have room for another story excerpt, which I really want to share.  For another thing, I could write about the things I gleaned from my research and thought interesting, but would those things be the same things that you would find important or interesting? Perhaps yes. Perhaps no.  And then there is this need I have to just entice you into curiosity and send you on your way to learn. 🙂

To help you on your way to satisfying your curiosity, here are the links I said I would leave for you.

Thomas Rowlandson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Because Wikipedia is a good place to begin a research journey to get a good overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vauxhall_Gardens

While this article is briefer than a book, it is not overly brief, and the font is rather small. You may want to read on a device where you can increase the font size easily: http://www.vauxhallgardens.com/vauxhall_gardens_briefhistory_page.html

This article has many lovely pictures including a picture of a ticket to the garden: https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/a-visit-to-vauxhall-gardens-by-tony-grant/

This was probably my favourite research site for this topic. If you scroll down to the bottom of the article, there are links to other blog posts with more information: https://susanaellisauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/vauxhall-gardens-the-organ-the-turkish-tent-and-the-rotunda/

Description of who is in the picture above can be found here: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Rowlandson_-_Vaux-Hall_-_Dr._Johnson,_Oliver_Goldsmith,_Mary_Robinson,_et_al.jpg

Johan Fredric Martin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
One research item that I read while on a tangent from reading about Vauxhall Gardens was about lamplighters.  Vauxhall was well lit, so in my thinking, there must have been some lamplighters employed to bring light to the garden’s paths and supper boxes.  

This is the link to the article I read on that subject: http://www.riskyregencies.com/2015/03/06/lighting-the-regency-night-things-we-take-for-granted/

[sidenote: There may be a lamplighter mentioned in Becoming Entangled, the sequel to Unravelling Mr. Darcy.  I discovered the actual name of a lamplighter at a residence that will be featured in that story, and have jotted down Mr. Patrick’s name.  Again it will be a mere mention and a brief nod to the research that goes into a story, but if you see his name there, you now know that he was a real person. In addition to that, if you read the article on lamplighters, you’ll have a better understanding of his job.]

If you wish to see some of what I have been researching for various stories that are in progress, you can find several pins on my Story Inspiration: Current WIP board on Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.ca/leenieb1/story-inspiration-current-wip-board/  This is a newer board and not overly crowded yet.  I had been scattering these articles among the various boards I have on Pinterest but ran into the trouble of trying to remember which board I had pinned whatever bit of information on.  This WIP board has been wonderful to keep things at my fingertips.  I am not so organized as to get around to cleaning the board up and moving things off of it as soon as a story finishes being a WIP. However, I’m beginning to think that might not be such a bad thing for now because I found myself thinking “Oh, I remember looking that up when Henry needed to go to his sister’s favourite store” or “I read about that when I was considering letting Beatrice Tierney go to Bath.” (She didn’t go to Bath, by the way)  I have removed some things from this board and repinned them on other boards, and more might follow. However, it won’t be soon.  🙂

Now, shall we return to Vauxhall and listen in on a bit of the conversation Bingley, Darcy, Jane, and Elizabeth are having?

Darcy stopped to greet an acquaintance and introduced Elizabeth to them as well as Bingley and Jane, who followed close behind.

“I say, Darcy,” said Bingley before they began walking again, “it will likely be noted in the paper that you were seen in Vauxhall with a lady on your arm.”

Darcy shrugged. “They had best describe her as beautiful,” he said with a grin.

Bingley chortled. “I seem to have misplaced my friend whose greatest desire was to shun all of society.”

“He is not misplaced.” Darcy raised a brow at Bingley. “He has, it seems, found his good sense in a rather forceful fashion.”

Bingley chuckled. “Yes, I dare say your appearance will also make the society page.”

“Have you no pity for him at all?” Elizabeth asked in feigned disbelief.

“Not a jot,” Bingley declared.

“Men are such strange creatures,” Elizabeth stated with a laugh.

“It is a far better thing we do in settling our disagreements than what I have witnessed between my sisters,” Bingley defended. “There would be days of tears and tantrums, and it is a wonder the door to Caroline’s room never fell off its hinges.”

“I agree,” said Jane. “I would rather have Lydia and Kitty hit each other and be done.”

“Jane!” Elizabeth cried. “How violent of you! I do believe your sojourn in town has corrupted you.”

Darcy watched in amusement as Jane’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly and her lips pursed while Elizabeth’s twitched in an attempt not to smile.

“I believe it would be far better for you to remain in the country where such savagery is little known,” Elizabeth continued.

“Little known?” exclaimed Jane. “How many times was the surgeon called to the Lucas’s to stitch up one or the other of Charlotte’s brothers after some fight?”

“And yet you would have him called to Longbourn to stitch up Kitty?” Elizabeth could not contain her smile any longer and let it spread across her face.

“Kitty?” Darcy asked in surprise.

“Oh, yes,” Jane assured him. “If Lydia and Kitty were to fight — and I assure you they have — it would not be Kitty who would be victorious. Lydia, as you may well be aware, is a very determined sort of person.”

Darcy chuckled. “I must be honest. I never thought much about what it would be like to live among so many sisters. It is very different from what my life has been like.”

“Two sisters is more than enough,” agreed Bingley. “I likely would not have survived if there had been more than Louisa and Caroline with whom to contend.”


Unravelling Mr. Darcy is newly available at your favourite retailer >> books2read.com/u/boYDBZ

To be entered to win an ebook copy of Unravelling Mr. Darcy, leave a comment below.

Contest closes at 11:59 PM ESTSeptember 28, 2017 so hurry and get your name in!

The teacher in me wants to ask you to share one interesting fact that you found on one of the links above, but I’ll refrain from such requirements. However, if you would like to share something, I would be delighted to read it. 🙂 


Leenie B Books




49 Responses to Unravelling Mr. Darcy at Vauxhall Gardens

  1. Leenie, I was just reading your excerpt from Thursday of your latest novella and thinking how much research you must do…and then I read this. Thank you for sharing your process with us. It enhances my enjoyment of your books! Can’t wait to read more!??

    • You’re welcome! I do find the research enjoyable (most days) 🙂 I got really lucky when researching on that Thursday story on my blog and happened across a perfect poem to use — I love it when that happens. 🙂

  2. I have a book called Murder in the Pleasure Gardens by Rosemary Stevens. It features Beau Brummell. So Vauxhall Gardens is in the story and it says it’s 12 acres.

    • Oh, that sounds interesting. Beau Brummell was quite a character himself. 🙂 I knew the garden was several acres in size, but did not remember the number. That is a lot of parkland!

  3. Thank you for the information on Vauxhall Gardens. I really didn’t know much about the place until I read your description. It has been mentioned briefly in other books,but not much info. Loved the excerpt and already added it to my wishlist. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • You’re welcome, Mary. It is a fun topic to research, and I am sure I have only scratched the surface in my understanding of the place. I know I have read about characters being there in several other regency romances. It seems to be a fav with characters in those sorts of books. 🙂 I’m delighted you enjoyed the excerpt and hopefully, you will be able to move it off of the wishlist to the to be read list soon. 🙂

  4. Great excerpts! As my Dad says, “you can get glad in the same pants you got mad in”. Too bad that as a female with the “grudge” gene, I can’t subscribe to that philosophy as men do. Sounds like another book to add to my TBR pile. Thank you!

    • Well, when deciding where to place this book in that TBR pile, don’t forget to consider it is a quick sort of read. 😀 I’m very glad you liked the excerpts, Linda. I like your dad’s philosophy. 🙂

  5. One of the things I love about your work is the ability you have of whisking the reader off to the locations you describe. Your writing is so descriptive that one cannot help but feel they are witness to the events as they unfold. It’s wonderful to leave the madness of 2017 behind to be immersed in the Regency Era with the Bennett’s, Bingley’s, and Darcy even if it is only for a few hours. Thankfully with books like this, I get to take that trip often!

  6. I love reading this excerpt, Leenie. It’s funny to learn that the younger Bennet sisters physically fight and the surgeon need to be called to attend to Kitty’s injuries. And Jane acting not so prim and proper like how she is depicted in P&P.

    • Coming from a house of sisters, I can’t imagine at least a bit of fighting going on now and again. 🙂 I also can’t imagine any sister, even the prim and proper “perfect” one always being so perfect. We only get a glimpse of Jane in P&P and what we see is filtered through Elizabeth’s point of view, so I personally think there is a great deal of depth to her that is hidden — this is what makes working with secondary characters so much fun — there is so much to discover/create.

  7. What fun… I loved the excerpt and look forward to reading it. Blessings on the success of this book and your future work.

  8. OH, I so love when illustrations are included. When Darcy breaks his moody character and smiles, I can just see those dimples!! Oh, I so hope to win the ebook!

    • I love pictures! Love, love, love, them! I am a rather visual learner, so they help me a lot. When you’re picturing Darcy smiling here, remember to include a split lip and a black eye with those dimples. 🙂

    • You’re welcome. Aren’t photos and maps excellent for bringing clarity to our imaginations? I know I have read several stories with Vauxhall in them, but until I researched it some, I didn’t see it as I do now. And I am certain my understanding of it is not complete by any means yet.

  9. Loved the excerpt! Thanks for the info about Vauxhall Gardens. Sounds like the perfect place for Darcy to take Elizabeth for a nice romantic stroll.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • It is a fantastic setting for romantic walks as long as the couple is careful to not wander into the dark corners and impropriety or danger (there were some unsavoury sorts that plied their trade in the shadows). Hmmm…although those dark corners could work nicely into a different sort of plot…hmmm. I think I might have to consider that for a bit. 🙂

  10. I love your extention of these charachters personalities and am glad you research places and what they would be like in that era. Great to look up the history myself for more detail.

    • I’m glad you enjoy those things! I like that the research helps me to know my setting and characters better, and I find with each book and associated research, things become even more clear as I see new pictures or read more articles with more details. And, for me, researching is best when it is not “required” but is led by curiosity, one thing, leading to the next. I also think learning happens better in such a fashion.

  11. Although I have visualized Vauxhall many times, it was a delight to see the pictures you included. Thank you for the excerpts and research links. The cover of the book is stunning! Darcy and Elizabeth seem so at ease, and it is nice to read how he is openly proud of her and wants the world to know. Thank you for the giveaway!

    • Oh, thank you. I am glad you like the cover. 🙂 Darcy and Elizabeth are very much at ease in this story once they get over a few bumpy moments at the beginning. They are at ease because that is the theme of the book, really. Darcy is learning to be unwind “himself” and Elizabeth is untangling the complexity of who he is. There are a few little attempts to unsettle them, but to no avail.

  12. It’s so nice to get a peek into Jane Austen’s world and the places in it. Mr Darcy is such an endearing and determined man.

  13. I love the photos in the 3rd link, especially the old garden and the costumes. (Not too sure what that entertainer costume is doing upside down though LOL) thanks for the giveaway!

    • Those are some pretty great pictures, aren’t they? I love pictures! I am guessing the upside down costume is to show that there were acrobatic acts? Good luck in the draw.

  14. Great post Leenie, I’m looking forward to reading it. Don’t count me in the giveaway, I already own it. As soon as I finish Jann’s ‘The Companion’, I’ll read your book.
    Congratulations on the release of your new book. 🙂

  15. Love this little peak into Jane Austen’s world.

    It is easy to tell if the author has researched even though it is not widely described. It gives authenticity to the story that I highly appreciated.

    Very intrigued by your excerpt too, sounds like a lovely and romantic story.

    • Glad you enjoyed it. It is fun to take these trips into Jane’s world via research. It helps me visualize my setting and know my characters better.

      I hope you get a chance to read the story. Good luck.

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