SCREENPLAY: Mr. Darcy Confronts Mr. Wickham

Jane Austen never wrote a scene where men were talking without a woman present. 

 

 

She said she did not know how men would talk in that circumstance.  Well, I do, and I have always been intrigued by the scene (unwritten in the book) where Darcy confronts Wickham after he has run off with Lydia and scandalized and humiliated the Bennett family.  I think we would see another side of Darcy’s character in this scene.

 

INT:  A ROOM BENEATH THE INN IN LONDON.  DARCY IS STANDING IN THE ROOM, HAT IN HAND, AS WICKHAM OPENS THE DOOR AND ENTERS.  WICKHAM INDICATES SURPRISE.  DARCY IS STONE-FACED.
WICKHAM
Mr. Darcy.
DARCY
Mr. Wickham.
WICKHAM
This isn’t what you think it is.
DARCY
(scoffing laughter)
No.  This isn’t what you think it is.
WICKHAM
(chin out, bravado voice)
It’s nothing at all, really.  A mistake.

DARCY
She’s fifteen, man.
WICKHAM
She told me she was sixteen.
DARCY
Doesn’t matter.  What’s done is done.
WICKHAM
What concern is this of yours?  You have no say in this matter.  Do you still think you have power over me?  You don’t.  Now get out and let people be about their business.  I am no longer any concern of yours.

.
Darcy lays his hat and gloves on the table between himself and Wickham and leans over it, knuckles on the table-top, glaring at Wickham.

.

DARCY
How many times I have wished that very thing and yet in patience and respect for your father and mine I have indulged you and refused to say it. I am done with you and will say it now:  How deeply I wish that you were no concern of mine.
WICKHAM
(turns to leave)
Very well, Mr. Darcy.  If you wish to stay, you may, but I have business to be about.
DARCY
(in louder voice than ever)
Stand still, man, or you will be in jail before the morning.
WICKHAM
There’s nothing you can do, man.  This is not Derbyshire.  You can’t order people around here.
DARCY
You are in violation of the laws of the kingdom as we speak.  The prosecutor here is Sir David Mounts.
WICKHAM
(obviously troubled)
From Oxford?
DARCY
The very same.
WICKHAM
He remembers you?
DARCY
Better than that.  We have never been out of correspondence.  Even better, man, he remembers you.
WICKHAM
You wouldn’t.
DARCY
And why wouldn’t I?  You have used up every bit of mercy and indulgence that I can muster.  More than either your father or mine would have seen fit to give you.  You’ve done nothing but waste your inheritance and shame the legacy of your father and the name of my estate.  I’ll say it:  I don’t care what happens to you.  And when Mounts is through with you here, there are forty or more in Hertfordshire who are ready to prosecute for unpaid debts.  You may never get out, man.  I will not come to your rescue again, no matter what the consequences.  Not for your sake, anyway.

WICKHAM
But what about Lydia?  Surely the name of her family should not be shamed.  So young a girl.  And other lives to be thought of.  For the good of all.
DARCY
Aha.  Now.  There is the right question.  What is it you intend for her?

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