Miss. Mary Bennet was, by her own admission, ill fit for socializing. Carrying a conversation with new acquaintances was a struggle in itself, and making friends, such a formidable task that it is for all, was made ten times more difficult due to Mary's lack of social tact.
It is for these reasons that Mr. Bennet was so hesitant in sending one of his two remaining daughters to London. As both Elizabeth and and Jane were no longer in a position to assist the Gardiners with their children, each beginning families of their own, his brother in law had requested the the help of the next eldest of his daughters. He reread the request several times over the course of two days before forming a response.
Mr. Gardiner, he begins.
I must begin this missive by expressing my deepest gratitudes for extending such an invitation to Mary. I know that Jane and my dear Elizabeth were favorites among yourself as well as your children.
In regards to Mary's visiting you, I feel compelled to reveal some concerns. Mary, while sincere in all of her endeavors, is lacking some of the finesse that need be applied by ladies in polite conversation. Part of me believes that a season in London would do her well, hopefully forcing her to adapt to polite society's expectations. Another part, however, fears she may become a hindrance more than a help.
I leave whether or not she visits up to you. If you retract your offer, please know that there will be no hard feelings; Mary lacks several of her older sisters positive characteristics. Luckily, she is also without those negative traits of her younger sisters. If you continue to seek Mary's presence in London, I will send her forthwith. He looked through his open office door to where Mary sat, fingers flitting across the keys of the piano, producing a dull melody.
I believe that, while Mary was never close to any of her sisters, she is feeling their absence greatly. Her mother is now greatly focused on Kitty. Having seen how your wife has influenced my two eldest daughters, I have no doubt that Mary will do just as well in her care.
I shall finish this missive so as not to devour anymore of your time, only adding: God bless you and your family.
Mr. Bennet reread the letter once before retrieving a green stick of wax from his drawer to seal the letter. "Mary," he called. The playing came to an abrupt stop in the middle of a crescendoing stretch of the piece. She made her way into his office so neither would need shout. "See if you can drag Kitty away from your mother for an hour and walk to Meryton with her. She wants to look at more ribbons for her bonnets and I have a letter that needs to be sent to your Aunt and Uncle in London."
"Yes, Papa, of course." She put her hand out for the letter.
He pressed a few coins into her hands, "for anything you or Kitty purchase in town," before handing over the letter. Mary tucked the money and letter into her pocket before hurrying off to find Kitty. After dragging Kitty away from Mrs. Bennet, Mary explained their reasons for trudging into town, although the word 'ribbons' alone would have been enough to entice Miss. Kitty Bennet to go almost anywhere. Kitty's idle ramblings of ribbon color, width, and design were acknowledge by Mary with hums of agreement, although she paid no mind to what was said.
Mary simply wished to keep her sister content and, in doing so, to avoid one of her sister's dramatic fits of jealous at their sisters' new stations. Indeed, ribbons were a much more lax topic and easier for Mary to disregard.
This is just a prologue to see if anyone is interested in another take on what happens to Mary after the novel. I'm completely open to title suggestions. Please leave a review telling me if you're interested in more chapters.