Mary Bennett


No one who has ever seen me would suppose me a heroine. My situation in life, the character of my father and mother, indeed my own person and disposition are all against me.


Mrs Bennet is determined that all five of her daughters must marry. Mary overhears a conversation between her parents that shatters her already fragile sense of self-worth. She knows she is the least attractive of the sisters but to hear that her attempts to overcome this by being intelligent and accomplished are laughable sends her into a deep depression.

Mary and her her sister Kitty are sent to Derbyshire so that their elder sister, Mrs Darcy, can introduce them to suitable young gentlemen. Mary is satisfied to remain a spinster and is shy with gentleman. But she does decide she should try and improve herself.

On the way to Derbyshire she meets a strange gentleman who she considers ill mannered. However she is intrigued by his knowledgeable conversation about old buildings.

On arrival at Pemberley, the home of the Darcy’s, Mary discovers that the stranger is a Mr Sharnbrook of Kent and also a house guest. Mr Sharnbrook is an amateur archaeologist and has come to Pemberley to excavate possible burial mounds as part of his studies. Mary is interested in his work and offers to help him sort out his notes. Engrossed in the work, her spirits begin to lift.

A continuation of Pride and Prejudice beginning eight months after the end of Jane Austen’s novel, Mary Bennet tells the story of how the Bennet’s neglected middle daughter tries to overcome the disadvantages of her character and find happiness.


No one who has ever seen me would suppose me a heroine. My situation in life, the character of my father and mother, indeed my own person and disposition are all against me.

I am one of five children, all living, all daughters. Three married last year: one married impetuously, the other two to well situated gentlemen. We have all enjoyed excellent health, none has ever been sickly.

My misfortune has been to have been born plain. A misfortune indeed when all four of my sisters are acknowledged handsome by everybody. My figure is awkward, my skin sallow, my hair lank and my features too strong.

My solace is that I am considered to be accomplished. I can play the pianoforte, sing, and do needlework tolerably well, and certainly with more application than any of my sisters. I have read more books than any of them, even Lizzy. I aspire to be a woman of information, whose good sense and deep reflections are sought in conversation.

This was my firm view of myself and my family until I was passing through the hall at Longbourn and hearing the voices of my mother and father coming from the drawing room, and hearing my own name mentioned I could not help be arrested. I stood, noticing that door was ajar, and listened.

‘Mr Bennet, do not think that it was time our daughter Mary was married?’

‘Why, of course, my dear. I should be greatly relieved of my apprehension of Mary dying an old maid.’

‘Lady Lucas met us in Meryton today and she was quite forceful in reminding me that neither Mary nor Catherine are yet married nor even bethrothed. Nor is there anybody whom we might think they could develop an understanding. Indeed, no prospects at all!’

‘She is entitled to say such a thing,’ my father replied. ‘It is the truth.’

‘That is all very well for you to say, Mr Bennet, but what are we to do? There are no gentlemen of even a tolerable consequence in the vicinity of Meryton. Why only on Tuesday I was talking on the very same subject with Mrs Long. With Jane’s confinement, no one will come to Netherfield. And even the garrison is empty!’

‘Kitty shall no doubt find a husband once the militia returns to Meryton.’

‘I dare say a smart young colonel of six thousand a year might suit her very well.’

I could not help smiling at this, though I fervently hoped that Kitty would make a more sensible match than our sister Lydia, whom she still emulated in other ways.

‘But what of Mary?’ my mother said. I leaned inward towards the door. ‘We must not forget the entailment, Mr Bennet.’

‘You are quite right, my dear. Mary can not remain here with Mr and Mrs Collins.’ I imagined my father removing his spectacles and giving them a polish with his handkerchief.

‘I for myself shall go and live with Jane, for I am partial to Bingley. He is the best of all of them.’

My father did not reply to this directly saying he considered it his duty to do what he could to promote both of his remaining daughters’ prospects.

‘My dear, you are the kindest of husbands and the best of fathers! Though we have three daughters married, as you know, it has always been my ambition to have all five daughters settled.’

‘It is best that they all marry.’ My father’s voice sounded very collected. ‘No woman wants to be an appendage in a household when she can be mistress of her own.’ There came a pause and I felt my heart beating in my chest. I should not be listening to this private conversation. Yet because it concerned me I could not remove myself. I looked down at my slippers and willed them to move. They remained fast where they were.

‘Let us consider instead what kind of character of a man might suit rather a young lady of many accomplishments and deep reflection,’ my father said.

I was pleased to hear myself thus described and could not help leaning closer towards the door so that I did not miss a word.

‘Mary was somewhat partial to Mr Collins when he first came here,’ my father continued. ‘Is he the kind of gentleman to make her an agreeable companion?’

‘You mean a clergyman? Only if he is certain of a good living, Mr Bennet. In times like these-‘

‘My dear, I speak rather of Mary’s disposition.’

‘You speak in riddles, Mr Bennet. The answer is quite plain!’

‘Tell me, Mrs Bennet,’ he said after a pause. ‘I have no objection to hearing it.’

‘Kitty and Mary must go to Derbyshire. You must write to Lizzy at once and tell her it is her duty to see her sisters married. Tell her I shall not speak to her until she does so.’

‘I shall do no such thing.’

‘Mr Bennet! How you delight in vexing me! My poor nerves!’

‘But I will write to Lizzy and ask her to introduce her sisters in their neighbourhood. She will have the good sense not to let Mary sing in company. And Darcy is a man of sensibility. He may have acquaintance suited to Mary’s character.’

I had always considered my father the more sensible of my parents but why did he mean that I should not sing in company?

‘And Kitty?’

‘Kitty may go too.’

‘Mr Bennet, why did I ever doubt you? We shall see all five daughters married and I shall be the happiest mother in Hertfordshire. And you are quite right: Mary must not sing. You must be quite explicit to Lizzy on this point. Nor must she be allowed to play the pianoforte in company.’

‘Her application to that instrument is to be admired but in truth she is not musical. Yet I expect a man of sense will overlook this once he has seen her other qualities.’

I flattened myself against the wall feeling its coolness on the palms of my hands. Papa thought I was not musical.

‘I do not know of what you speak, Mr Bennet, for Mary has none. She does nothing to encourage the attentions of gentlemen. Nothing! Her countenance is always serious, as is her conversation. She never smiles, is awkward in company and she is ill at dancing. And she is so plain. Perhaps you place too high hopes on Darcy knowing a suitable gentleman.’

I could not bear to listen a moment longer. I tiptoed away from the door feeling the pressure of tears behind my eyes. My own mother thought so little of me! And my father scarcely better. They said I was accomplished to everybody but in truth they thought me plain, gauche, unmusical. I knew that I was no beauty, that I was often awkward in company through shyness, that I was bookish and serious. Yet I had striven to be serious and to work hard at the pianoforte, more so than any of my sisters, in order to make up for my other deficiencies. What was I without these things?

About the Author

kate allen

Kate lives in the Bedfordshire countryside, England, close to the Chiltern Hills. She developed plans to be a novelist at the age of seven after reading about the career of prolific children’s author Enid Blyton, whose adventure and mystery story books she read avidly. She taught herself to use her mother’s typewriter to try and make her stories look like “proper books”. Endlessly fascinated by “the past”, Kate took a degree in History before starting a commercial career.

She began seriously writing in 2001, taking a notebook with her on the train to make best use of her commute to work. She wrote two historical novel manuscripts before receiving an offer of publication for the second – a short novel – in 2004 from DC Thomson. Fateful Deception is a romantic adventure set in the early 19th century and was shortlisted for the 2005 RNA New Writers Award.

2006 saw the publication of Perfidy and Perfection, Kate’s romantic comedy set in Jane Austen’s England, and the publication of two short novels: Fateful Deception and The Restless Heart.

Kate also writes in partnership with author Michelle Styles under the name Jennifer Lindsay. Jennifer Lindsay’s first novel, The Lady Soldier, is a romantic adventure about a lady who disguises herself as a man in order to join Wellington’s army. It was published in 2005.

The kind of stories Kate writes are those that she would like to read, and she hopes that others will find them enjoyable and entertaining too.

Kate is member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.



Twitter @kate_allan


2 thoughts on “Mary Bennett

  1. Pingback: Fiction Addiction Book Tours : Mary Bennet by Kate Allan | Fiction Addiction Book Tours

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