Short Fiction: The Younger Miss Bennets (pt 1)

The following is a short epistolary sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; nine letters shared between Mary and Kitty Bennett after the events of the original novel. This was originally written as a task for my Fan Fiction unit at university.

I did not invent their fates myself, but was guided by Jane’s own imagination: According to the Memoir of Jane Austen, published in 1870 by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh, Jane Austen told her family that Kitty Bennet was “satisfactorily married to a clergyman near Pemberley”, while Mary Bennet “obtained nothing higher than one of her uncle Philips’ clerks” in marriage”. The crossover with Sense & Sensibility is just a bit of fun. Enjoy!

Dear sister Kitty,

It is such a shame you did not choose to stay longer in Hertfordshire, for our Uncle Phillips has hired a new clerk, and Mother declares he is just the sort of man she would like for another son in law. I dare say she will tell you all about him in her next letter. His name is James Alcott, and he is a handsome enough fellow I suppose, if I should be forced to reflect on his appearance. He would do very well for you, Mother declares, if only you were here to have him, and she begs you cut your trip short so that you might meet him before Maria Lucas sets her sights on him. I personally cared little for the man, though I confess I spoke to him little. My father asks to be remembered to yourself, and he says you’re to behave yourself while you’re from home.

Regards, Mary

My sister Mary,

It is a shame YOU did not choose to accompany us to Derbyshire, for we met the most delightful creature last night. Her name is Miss Margaret Dashwood, and she is visiting the area with her friends, the Jennings. They are a curious lot, all noise, gossip and laughter – Darcy did not take to them one bit, at first, but then Lizzy convinced him to see their folly and he tolerated them after that. But I enjoyed their company immensely.

Do you recall the new clergyman which Bingley had asked Jane to call on in my last letter? Well, he was there last night as well. When I first saw Miss Dashwood, she was dancing with him, and evidently not enjoying it one bit, for she caught me watching them – all fluster and little form – and grimaced at me over his shoulder. I smiled, and she then proceeded to continue to make silly faces at me every time the man’s back was turned. Of course, we properly introduced ourselves after that, and we became fast friends in an instant.

But what do you suppose happened the very next set? The man had the audacity to ask Miss Dashwood for another two dances! So I stepped in and insisted he danced with me instead. Lizzy said I oughtn’t to be so forward, but I couldn’t have left the poor girl to have endured another one of his merry jigs – I barely survived the ordeal myself. Miss Dashwood was ever so grateful, however, and we have been almost inseparable ever since. She laughed at Lizzy’s concern, saying it reminded her very much of her own sister. I am very glad I am not an elder sister, required to always be sensible.

But Miss Dashwood is such a dear. She implored me to ask you to come to Derbyshire, so the three of us can be merry together. I told her you should much rather prefer a good book, but she will not be dissuaded. I think hear her downstairs now, so I shall take my leave of you. Tell Mama that I wouldn’t cut my trip short now for anything, least of all a Mr Alcott, and that Maria is welcome to him. And tell Papa that I can hardly help but be on my best behaviour here, with Lizzy and Darcy to fuss and guide me! I really must go.

Yours, Kitty

Dear sister Kitty,

I should much prefer a good book indeed! I am sure I should not like this Miss Dashwood you speak of. She sounds entirely too much like our sister Lydia. But I dare say she is a better creature than you make her out to be.

Mama is very sorry you are not to come away soon, for Mr Alcott grows in her esteem every day. She continues to tell him a great deal about you, regardless of your disinterest. He came and sat with us the past three mornings, but today he called in at the Lucas’, which vexed Mama greatly. It put me out too, for we had been reading Jane Collier together, and without him here there is no one to debate with this morning.

I cannot abide Collier’s satire, though I suppose you will never read it, having much better things to do, away from home and on your adventures. But if you should ever find yourself with an idle moment, do choose another volume to peruse. And do tell Jane and Lizzy not to bother acquiring a copy for their libraries. Indeed I should not have pursued it this far if not for Mr Alcott’s insistence.

Although I suppose you should be grateful, for it is his lack of company that means you are getting a letter today at all. Next time, tell me nothing of this Miss Dashwood – say she is gone from Hertfordshire forever so that I do not have to endure her silliness anymore!

Regards, Mary

Thanks for reading: part two will be posted next week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.