Read by Mark Rice-Oxley (Unabridged 1hr 9mins)
Mary Gleed Tuttiett was born and brought up in Newport on the Isle of Wight on 11th December 1846.
She was largely self-educated but of determined character to achieve something with her life. As a young woman she travelled in England and Switzerland working as a governess despite bouts of ill-health. During her writing career her health deteriorated, mainly due to asthma and rheumatism, to such an extent that she was unable to leave her bed for more than a few hours a day.
Mary began her literary career by contributing essays, poems, articles, and short stories to various periodicals of the times. In common with several other women of the time she wrote under a male pseudonym, that of Maxwell Gray, and which in literary terms at least, has removed any trace of her life as Mary.
Her first novel, ‘The Broken Tryst’, arrived in 1879 to little attention or sales. Mary’s first critical and popular success did not arrive until 1886 with the novel ‘The Silence of Dean Maitland’, an unorthodox ecclesiastical story which was to be later adapted for the stage and screen. With this recognition came a far more prolific output with several of her other works set in a fictionalised Isle of Wight. As well as novels there were collections of short stories and several poetry anthologies.
Mary was strongly supportive of women’s rights and the suffragist cause and was one of several writers who petitioned in support of the Women’s Suffrage Bill in 1910, and she wove these and other social themes into several of her novels.
After her father's death in 1895, she moved to London and remained there until her own death on 23rd September 1923, aged 76.
Her short story ‘An Unexpected Fare’ is a classic fish out-of-water story. A rich, entitled young man has designs on a young woman of a class below his. Wanting to find out more about her he takes on the job of a cabbie, common accent and all, as a way to discover more.