The book may be 200 years old, but do you know who Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s great-great-grandson is?

On the 13th December in 1795 a meteorite crashed to Earth just outside the village of Wold Newton, in Yorkshire. It landed at about three in the afternoon, startling a number of people who were nearby.

Although the meteorite is now harmless (it was acquired by the British Museum in 1835) it may not always have been. The author Phillip José Farmer has, by diligent research, shown that many of the descendents of the bystanders were people who displayed outstanding (sometimes almost superhuman) mental and physical abilities. He hypothesised that the meteorite emitted radiation as it fell which affected the genetic makeup of those exposed to it.

Two of those present were Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, whose lives were fictionalised by Jane Austen in her book Pride and Prejudice. Their son, Fitzwilliam B. Darcy married Agatha Jansenius, and their daughter was a teacher, Athena Darcy. Her life was fictionalised (under the pseudonym Agatha Wylie) in An Unsocial Socialist by George Bernard Shaw.

She married John Clayton, the 5th Duke of Greystoke, and her son was also known as John Greystoke. He married Alice Rutherford, herself the great-granddaughter of Alice Clarke Raffles and Percy Blakeney II (whose life was fictionalised as The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy). They were lost in Africa in the 1880s, and their fate unknown until Edgar Rice Burrows met their child and discovered the amazing story of his adoption by robust Australopithicines. He had no idea what they were, of course, so thinking they were apes, he called his story Tarzan of the Apes.

Don’t you think that upon seeing Mr Darcy swimming across the lake at Pemberley, you can imagine his great-great grandson, the 8th Earl of Greystoke, swinging through the trees?

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