Her Particular Friend
This short story is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, focusing on some of the secondary female characters. It first appeared in the anthology A Certain Persuasion.
When Susan Price leaves Mansfield Park to accompany her aunt, Lady Bertram, to take the waters in Bath, she little expects to meet an old “friend” of the family. Initially scandalised, Susan finds herself drawn to the former Mary Crawford, now a widow, Mrs Lynd.
Mary has lost none of her playful spirit in the ten years since her family’s acquaintance with the Bertrams ended amid elopement and scandal. Her interest, first piqued by Susan’s resemblance to her older sister Fanny, only grows on discovering Susan’s very different character.
But Lady Bertram will surely never countenance Susan’s intimacy with the woman whose brother caused her daughter’s disgrace—and Mary’s true identity cannot be kept a secret forever.