On Pride and Prejudice

Not Precisely Pride [FICTION]

By Mercedes Lackey

It is a misperception universally accepted as a truism that a woman in possession of her own fortune must be in want of a husband.

“I really do not know what I am to do about this invitation,” Althea Lynncroft said to her companion, staring Iat inoffensive pasteboard crossly. “I do not wish to accept it, and yet I cannot in politeness turn it down.”

Her companion, Regina Sedgwick, blinked at her from behind the thick lenses of her spectacles. “Why do you not wish to accept it? Mrs. Darcy is a most amiable lady, and you have often rejoiced in her company when you have been together in London. Pemberley is by all accounts a charming estate in all seasons, but is said to excel in the spring. What possible objections can you have?”

“Only this: that Cordelia Hawthorne has also written me to warn me that Elizabeth Darcy has already secured the attendance of a gentleman of her acquaintance to this party with the intention of matchmaking.”

Althea’s stormy expression betrayed her feelings. “Lizzy is the most charming of friends, but really! This is ample proof for me that Elemental Magicians really should not seek for company outside their own circle. Outsiders cannot be told of our powers, and cannot understand why the attentions of a suitor with no magic whatsoever in them must be abhorrent to us! Now I must either lose the regard of Mrs. Darcy, or suffer an uncomfortable weekend fending off the attentions of some fellow who may  …

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