No Other Sacrifice
Elinor Ferrars was paying her annual visit to her mother-in-law. Neither of them actually enjoyed each other's company, but once a year Mrs. Ferrars plucked up enough benevolence to be civil to her daughter-in-law. On this particular visit, Robert and Lucy were also visiting Mrs. Ferrars. Edward could not accompany his wife to his mother's house because he had a marriage to perform that weekend.
One day, while Elinor was wandering the grounds in solitude and engaged in quiet reflection, she was startled by the sudden appearance of Lucy.
"I'm so sorry I startled you. Perhaps you'd rather be alone," Lucy said.
"It's quite alright. I'm going back inside presently," Elinor lied.
"It's just that I've wanted to speak with you for ever so long," Lucy said innocently.
"Oh? About what?"
"I wanted to assure you that I bear no ill-will against you for marrying Edward so soon after our engagement ended."
Elinor would have gladly told Lucy exactly what she thought of her, but instead she said:
"I was under the impression that it was you who broke off the engagement so you could marry Robert."
"I did break off the engagement, to be sure; I only freed Edward because I saw he no longer loved me. I was quite heart-broken when I realized he loved another. And to think, that other was you, in whom I most confided and trusted! But, I'm very happy as things are. My Robert is so very dear to me and I know now what it is to love a truly worthy man."
"Is that so?" asked Elinor, suppressing both a desire to laugh and a desire to strike Lucy.
"Yes, I'm very content, but I still fondly recall the day Edward propsed to me. He was so eloquent and so full of passion! I'll wager he's never been so eloquent or passionate since."
"It's no wonder you can say so, being so closely acquainted with Edward. You've had many opportunities to witness his passion and eloquence, especially of late. You were both so faithfully attached to one another for five years."
"We most certainly were," said Lucy, pretending not to notice the note of sarcasm in Elinor's voice.
Elinor was thankful that they had reached the house by this time, and Robert's calling for the assistance of his wife put an end to all discourse between Elinor and Lucy. Elinor resolved to never again visit her mother-in-law while Lucy and Robert were there.
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