To Mrs Bennet,
My dear mother, I can hardly write such words to you; however, upon this festive occasion, I shall honor your motherly graces with a few lines of prose duly praising your efforts in my growth and development. I need not pamper your poor nerves with exaltations concerning your maternal nature towards me. You have not expressed such care except in the case of Jane and Lydia. Furthermore, you place great import upon the temporary things of this world. I care not for balls or bonnets or regimentals. Yet, you continue to thrust me into this world of your desire while I would infinitely enjoy an evening reading from Fordyce’s sermons.
Pray let me admonish you with a most appropriate passage in his Sermons on Women. I believe his words about mothers who should be admired and adored will be beneficial to your endeavors as my maternal role model.
In graver hours, you insinuate knowledge and piety by your conversation and example, rather than by formal lectures and awful admonitions. And finally, to secure as far as possible the success of all, you dedicate them daily to God with the most fervent supplications for his blessing—Thus you show yourself a conscientious and judicious mother at same moment; and in that I view with veneration.(Fordyce’s Sermons on Women).
As we examine the text, my dear mother, your lectures on modest behavior, our daily dress, our presentation at balls has been completely against what the Good Book and Fordyce would have we women do. Perhaps, your hours would be better spent in prayer over your tiresome daughter Lydia and her wickedness. For once a woman has lost her virtue, she can ne’er retrieve it or recover from such pangs of loss. I cannot recall when your knees bended in “fervent supplications” unless it were to persuade our father to part with his limited income for a new bonnet or ball gown. Such trifles, when the souls of your youngest daughters wither under the scourge of infatuation. Upon these observations, I can neither praise you or condemn your behavior has my maternal role model.
May you celebrate this Mother’s Day in an appropriate manner in reading these sermons and begging the good Lord’s forgiveness for your silliness.
Your Overlooked Daughter, Mary