Playing (party) games with Mr. Darcy

This post is a special (party) hats off to the Austenesque Extravaganza going on this entire month. It’s been so much fun to be a part of the festivities, including my first-ever twitter party on Sunday. And yes, Mr. Darcy’s name was bantered about, as was Mr. Tilney, Mr. Knightly, Colonel Brandon…but I digress. The party hostess, Meredith Esparza, has thought of everything, including a chance to win Austen-inspired party favors for everyone who comments on this post!

In the party spirit, I’m asking the question:

Do you think Mr. Darcy would play parlor games? 

Hmmm. There were many parlor games that Regency revelers enjoyed, but one that Fanny Austen Knight, Jane’s niece, wrote about in a letter dated 1808, described a popular game called “Bullet Pudding” and I wonder if Mr. Darcy would have engaged, or stood aside to observe, arms folded. Here is an illustration of the game by Francis Hayman:


It’s not really a “pudding” at all, but a dish of flour with a bullet, yes, a bullet–placed on top of it. Really, it’s just a rouse to have someone get flour all over their face and try not to laugh as they would blow the pile of flour and dust all the party-goers with it. How about that for a way to get to know a potential suitor in the 19th century?

Fanny Austen Knight describes how to play it:

“I was surprised that you did not know what a Bullet Pudding is but as you don’t I will endeavor to describe it as follows: You must have a large pewter dish filled with flour which you must pile up into a sort of pudding with a peak at the top, you must then lay a Bullet at the top & everybody cuts a slice of it & the person that is cutting it when the Bullet falls must poke about with their nose & chins till they find it & then take it out with their mouths which makes them strange figures a-covered with flour but the worst is that you must not laugh for fear of the flour getting up your nose & mouth & choking you. You must not use your hands in taking the bullet out.”

Can you picture Mr. Darcy, in one of the Pemberley drawing rooms, with his nose and chin coated in flour, clenching a bullet in his teeth?

Certainly Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse would be game. But Mr. Darcy? What do you think?!

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos: Book Cover

Bullet pudding is mentioned in my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, as my main character Chloe Parker would like it served up for her rival, Lady Grace. But the bullet pudding, like so many of Chloe’s wishes, never quite materializes.

Thank you, Austenesque Extravaganza for a rollicking time and I’m looking forward to see what everyone thinks:

Would Mr. Darcy play parlor games?





  1. Goodness! – _never_ Mr. Darcy! – Bingley yes, Darcy no! – though the thought of a flour-covered Darcy would be awfully endearing!

  2. Lol, I think that would be a no for Mr. Darcy. But I agree with above comment, yes on Bingley

  3. I cannot picture Mr. Darcy getting flour all over his face and most likely his freshly starched cravat. Although, I think if an author portrays the more fun-loving side of Mr. Darcy, I could see it. I read a book a several months ago or so where Darcy is daydreaming of the day when Elizabeth will be at Pemberley to play snapdragon with him and Georgiana. I have read so many books that I can’t think of exactly in which book it was.

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Does anyone else know which book Jakki’s referring to? Sounds like I’d like to read that one!

      • Was it “Mr. Darcy’s Diary”? (I did a Google search.) “I wonder if Elizabeth plays at bullet pudding and snapdragon.”

        • That’s it Deborah. That is the exact sentence to which I was referring. You are amazing! Thanks so much! 🙂

  4. I love the image you created of Darcy with his nose and chin covered with flour! As for would he actually play? I think it would depend on the game – he probabaly would never play a game that made him look silly, so no to bullet pudding, but maybe yes to something like Tiddlewinks?

    Thanks for being a part of Austenesque Extravaganza, Karen!

    • Karen Doornebos says

      It probably would depend on the game, I agree. Meredith, it has been so much fun to join the party–thank you!!!

  5. I think Mr Darcy pre-marriage would swear this game off but after marriage to Lizzy, I believe he would be less formal with himself and would engage sportingly in it, but still, only with his close family friends like the Colonel, Georgina, the Bingleys and Kitty 🙂

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Wow, Joanna, I agree with you! There is no right or wrong, but he would react differently as a bachelor than as a man married to the playful Lizzie–he wouldn’t have a choice, right?! She’d convince him to play, I’m sure. And then we’d get to see Mr. Darcy in his starched cravat like Jakki says, with flour all over his face!

  6. I agree with Janeite Deb, “NEVER MR DARCY”. Another one who’d have immense fun playing is Henry Tilney. I think he’s someone who knows how to have fun in life.

  7. This is like bobbing for apples Regency style. I do not believe Darcy would ever play this game, no matter how loosened up he became. I can’t even picture it.

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Point taken! Actually, they did bob for apples during the Regency, too. I might add that in my research I found that Regency men drank quite a bit, too, especially after dinner…

  8. Bonnie Carlson says

    I can see Mr. Darcy playing chess or an occasional game of whist, but round games or more active parlor game? never!

  9. Doesn’t Darcy play cards at Netherfield? Or almost play cards? I do believe Darcy would participate in *some* of the evening entertainments, and we know he has a wicked sense of humor, but the flour game- eh, I can’t see it.

    At least not until he’s happily married. This was a fun topic and something I had never heard of before. Thanks for the post Karen!

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Hmm, Heather you raise an interesting point. I’d actually have to go back to P&P to see if he plays cards! Glad you liked the post. I had so much fun doing the research for my book–almost as much fun as writing it!

  10. He didn’t even want to be part of the dance at Meryton or take a walk around the room with Caroline and Elizabeth at Netherfield, so I can’t see Mr. Darcy joining in with parlor games.

  11. Nope, can’t picture Mr. Darcy playing this game. But I agree that Bingley is another story!

  12. I believe Darcy would be a master of word games. If he lived in modern times, one might see him competing at a Scrabble tournament, not for the glory, but for the satisfaction of knowing his verbal prowess.

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Regina, yes, I think we can all see Darcy playing Scrabble…I like that thought!

      Everyone–if you haven’t already–please check out my fellow Austen Authors’ blogs on this Touring Thursday: Regina Jeffers, Heather Rigaud and Mary Simonsen!

  13. Amanda Mauldin says

    Wow. While Bullet Pudding does sound like it would have been fun, I doubt very much even Elizabeth after years of marriage could incline Mr. Darcy to touch it. I just cannot imagine it. I’m pretty sure he’d be game for cards or something subtle, not requiring one to make exhibition of oneself. Even, if pressed, could I see him standing up for a duet with his lovely bride, but Bullet Pudding? Never.

    • Karen Doornebos says

      I’m giggling here just imagining the scene: Lizzie, even after years of marriage to Darcy, being very much challenged to convince him to do something silly like this!

  14. Why not? A few drinks among friends would loosen him up a bit, and he just might go for it.

  15. Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, never! Mr. Darcy of today’s sequels, yes I can see it happening.
    I had no idea that Regency parlor games where anything but card games.
    Thank you Karen, great post!

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Great distinction, Pam, between Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy and the Mr. Darcy of today’s authors. Thanks for your compliments on the post! The upper crust during the Regency played a lot of games–they had the time and the means. And no TV, movies, or computers to fill their evening hours!

  16. Having trouble picturing Darcy doing this. Even charades sounds like something that he would roll his eyes at (although, as mentioned about, a little port, or maybe even some smuggled in brandy would help!). Bingley, on the other hand would undoubtedly plunge right in to any game!

  17. I can’t see Darcy playing in public, but I bet Elizabeth could tease him into a private game once they’re married!

  18. Definitely can’t see Mr. Darcy playing this one or any parlor game for that matter.

  19. Susan Kaye says

    I’m not seeing Darcy in the midst of Four and Ammo. I agree that he’d be a wordie. A nice tidy game where he could put you in your place without mussing himself is probably his style.

  20. I think Mr Darcy would not play parlor games. He would think the frivolty beneath him and sit smug in a corner observing. Poor Mr. Darcy missing out on the fun lol!

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Margaret, your reply made me laugh! Yes, I can see him, as he is in the first half of P&P, sitting in the corner, watching, and missing out on the fun. Awwww….

  21. I can only imagine a post-marriage-to-Elizabeth Darcy playing Bullet Pudding to make his children laugh. I want to believe that he would be that kind of father.

    Can’t wait to read Definitely Mr. Darcy, Karen. I’ve got it pre-ordered. 🙂 Come on, September!

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Yes, Darcy would be that kind of father! It makes me smile to think of it…

      Thanks for pre-ordering! PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY gave it a starred review, and RT BOOK REVIEWS gave it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I’m thrilled!

  22. I can see him playing other games but not this one. Lizzy may be able to talk him into it, with appropriate compensation later 😉 I could see him playing it with their children. I do remember the scene Jakki was referring to (isn’t snapdragon the one where you try to pull raisins out of a fire or something?) but I can’t remember which book. Argh, that drives me crazy lol. Looking forward to reading your book! This Extravaganza has made my TBR list much longer and I’m lovin it.

    • Karen Doornebos says

      Uggh! I should know this…now I’m curious and need to check it out!

      Thanks for putting DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY on your reading list!

  23. Darcy would definitely *not* play parlor games like this, haha…It’s too…savage 😉

  24. I agree with Mary Simonsen, he could play it when he’s a bit drunk and would like to have some fun but between friends in private, not on public display. If his sister urge him to play, I don’t think he would turn her down.

  25. I agree with everything stated above for the most part. I can’t see him playing this but other more civilized games – perhaps cards. I can’t see much more. However the points about after marriage or perhaps with his children. People do things they’d never think of to connect with their children.

  26. I don’t think this is a game Mr. Darcy would play!=)
    I am so excited to read Definitely Not Mr. Darcy!!

  27. araminta18 says

    Probably he wouldn’t play, but man, wouldn’t that make a fantastic scene in a P&P movie adaptation? Awesome!

  28. I can’t imagine Darcy playing anything that would leave him covered in flour. However, I think post-Lizzy Darcy would be far more tolerant of other people playing such games than pre-Lizzy Darcy. I think he loosened up a bit after his marriage.

  29. I’m afraid that Mr. Darcy would never lower himself to play the game you describe. However, I offer another parlor game which I believe would be right up his alley. It’s an elegant, intellectual game called “Dictionary” … not a test of knowledge, but rather, a test of wit–just his cup of tea! Lizzy would love it, as well.

    I describe the game at the following link on the Sutter Home website, who featured a fun segment relating to one of my novels, “Dracula, My Love.” Enjoy!

  30. Valerie R. says

    I’m pretty sure Mr. Darcy would not partake in playing Bullet Pudding! LOL I could see several of Jane Austen’s characters joining in the fun of parlor games, but I think Mr. Darcy is far more reserved and would be an unwilling participant.

  31. Chelsea B. says

    Oh, gosh, no! I am not sure he would even watch, unless Elizabeth was playing 🙂

  32. not likely!
    much too reserved for such common carrying on ”)

  33. Jennifer Webb says

    Mr. Darcy probably would only play parlor games if Elizabeth asked him to.

  34. Susan Coster says

    Of course, he would, it it were with the right person……his true love!

  35. I think it’d be more fun if the bullet was in real pudding!!

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