The Ultimate Literary Crush: Mr. Thornton vs. Mr. Darcy

My dearest Darcy,

I fear I find myself the victim of a handsome face and an iron sense of integrity. I fear that my once constant heart, a heart so dedicated to one man, to you, has found itself longing for another. I fear, my darling Fitzwilliam Darcy, that I no longer “ardently admire and love you.” I like you, rather a lot, but I can’t say Love — at least not since I met the heir to your character. Forgive me, Mr. Darcy, but Mr. John Thornton of Milton has wooed my heart and I don’t believe there is any going back.

Darcy, when we first met you were rude and prideful — you put down my dear friend Elizabeth Bennet and dismissed her family as silly, wealth-obsessed, and generally beneath your social and personal standards. Your prejudices against those less fortunate than you were made painfully evident. Indeed, I misjudged you. Charmed by his affections towards Lizzy, I took Wickham’s side when it was really you who were wronged. By the end of our acquaintance, Miss Bennet had come to realize your inner kindness, yet, let us be honest, your Pride and your Prejudices still remained. Let us consider the famous moment of your proposal…you claimed to admire and love Lizzy, but still put down her family and still acted as the agent of her sister’s misery. Furthermore, you retained your sense of class superiority. You were born with your wealth and status, Mr. Darcy; you were not its maker.

I do not wish to dismiss all your heroic acts, all your subtle and genuine declarations of affections for Lizzy, but i have to wonder if you are really the hero for a modern woman?

John Thornton may be many years your junior, his story coming into being in the mid 1850s, and he is not a gentleman by your standards — he did not inherit wealth, he made it in trade. He ran a mill in Milton, a rapidly industrializing town, and he ruled it with an iron fist. When I met him, he was beating up a worker who’s carelessness with a smoking pipe might have set the mill ablaze. His response seemed cruel and beast-like. But I can understand his anger — one flame and hundreds of workers would have lost their lives. Miss Margaret Hale didn’t like Mr. Thornton at first, neither for his temper nor his modern, business-like ways. Yet, throughout our knowing one another, he was consistent in his admiration of her character and her ethics. When he proposed, he said simply that he loved her — no put downs, no dismissals. Only heartbreak at her initial refusal. He too was an ethical man, ensuring always that his workers were protected and properly cared for. And regardless of the hurt he felt at Miss Hale’s rejection of him, he was always willing to put himself on the line to save her. He refused to engage in a risky speculation because he refused to play with his workers’ livelihoods. He has a temper and is prideful, but he is not selfish.

Mr. Darcy, forgive me. For you shall always be my first love, but Mr. Thornton has stolen my heart. He is a bit darker than you, a bit gruffer than you, for sure. He has no Pemberly, just a mill and a large house in a gloomy Northern town. But he is the man of the future, off his high horse and Byronically handsome in a Richard Armitage sort of way.

Forever partly yours,


12 thoughts on “The Ultimate Literary Crush: Mr. Thornton vs. Mr. Darcy

  1. I’ve just written a similar post after leafing through – once again – the two novels I love most. I’ve found your blog searching for materials and photos and…here we are! Nice blog.
    P.S. If your want to have a look
    P.S. Richard Armitage has stolen my heart too! But don’t worry…I like meeting others loving him. He deserve a huge “army” of admirers!

  2. This is brilliant!!! I’m going to put it up on my blog. Of course, all credits will go to you. But I would love my followers to read this witty letter

  3. Pingback: In which I stumble across a letter to Mr. Darcy « June's Blog

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  5. Interesting letter(thanks to Maria Grazia for pointing it out), I like how ‘appropiate’ this is, Mr Darcy wrote to Lizzy to explain his motives of his actions and so do you.

    “…I have to wonder if you are really the hero for a modern woman?”
    Good point, I think this is part why some Darcy fans, as yourself, with the arrival of RA’s John Thornton have changed alliances ;).
    I think if a woman who has not seen/doesn’t know Darcy or Thornton and reads your letter might feel more interested in knowing more about John than Mr. Darcy.

    OML 🙂

  6. Mr. Thornton unselfishly assisting Margaret although believing her to have rejected him and loving another speaks VOLUMES about his true love for her.
    Mr. Thornton’s Unselfish Passion;
    Mr.Darcy’s wit;
    Mr. Knightley’s personality,
    Mr. Rochester’s brooding sex appeal

    Favorite book of the above is Jane Eyre. I can start reading where Jane meets Rochester any day or any time. Charlotte Bronte’s writing is exceptional.

  7. Oh Kathleen, I don’t know how I came across your letter to your first love, but despite regret on trespassing your privacy and deep feelings in the depths of my heart that wanted to shout out to you “How dare you put Darcy second” I cannot deny sharing some – more than I wish – of your affections, love and admiration for the man that is John Thornton. For he truly is a man, a real man, a gentleman in the truest essence of the word who worked hard and fought fairly and remained a man of integrity (side note: and ultimately sexy and dark and brooding).
    Kathleen, this letter is a genius idea and greatly amusing and so true (a side note: I still love Darcy). What a treat.

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  9. Oh. My. God. Kathleen, I believe I’m kinda late to show my opinions about this letter, but it does not matter. You couldn’t have expressed in a better way what I am feeling right now. When I first watched Pride and Prejudice, I believe two years ago, I completely fell in love for Mr. Darcy. I bought the book, I watched the mini-series (preffering Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy, Matthew also does a good job, but the mini-series is more attached to the book and that’s what I love about it), I was completely obsessed with P&P. But then, by coincidence, I came across North And South. There was no going back then. Mr. Thornton has bewitched me body and soul, and I love him (lol). And I don’t care if he just wants to possess me, but I certainly wish to marry him! ❤ Loved your letter. Greetings.

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