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Fern-hunting parties became popular, allowing young women to get outside in a seemingly innocuous pursuit with less rigid oversight and chaperoning than they saw in parlors and drawing rooms. They may have even had the occasional romantic meetup with a similarly fern-impassioned beau. — Bree


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The Family In The Fog
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9 June, 1888 — Townsend House, Slums

Perhaps it was rather insensitive of him to find this whole thing profoundly funny, but he did. At least so long as he wasn't being asked to go cover it, Frederick could watch his paper for updates about the spread of the fog in Irvingly without any sense of actual concern. The only people he knew who lived in Irvingly were Cassandra and Miriam Trelawney, and after Miriam's sour-faced visit last week, he was hardly feeling inclined to worry for their sake. Besides, it wasn't as though there was any indication that this fog was actually causing harm. Not being able to use magic inside their home was, at best, a minor inconvenience — but one that amused him greatly to picture.

"I suppose," he commented to Sarah as he set the paper down and reached for one of the apples on the table, which looked to be on the verge of going off but was still close enough to food for his tastes at the moment. "That this means your sisters won't be dropping by any time soon with ominous prophetic visions."

Was the Sight affected by the inability to use magic? He hoped so. He'd always thought Cassandra's visions were just a little too attention-seeking for his tastes, and that she might secretly be enjoying the cultivation of her very-mysterious, highly-tormented air, but he hadn't ever said as much to Sarah (and certainly not to any of her siblings).
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Today's news about Irvingly had put Sarah off eating entirely, and her tea was well on its way to going cold as she peered across at the paper.

"I should hope a sinister fog is plenty, and that Cassie won't have any more bad omens to see," Sarah protested, unconsciously picking at the skin around her fingernails in a nervous habit from childhood that still surfaced occasionally. The news was worrying to her, though Fred did not seem concerned; perhaps she should try harder to imitate him. Her sisters were adults themselves, and fully capable with or without magic - and magic was not something that could be permanently stripped from people, was it? And just because Sarah mightn't get to see them as much as she usually did - well, that was a silly reason to fall to pieces over.

"But you don't think it will last long, do you?" Sarah lifted her gaze to Frederick, not sure whether she was searching for reassurance or his honest opinion. "Surely it'll disperse in a day or two," she said with forced optimism, though she had no evidence of this from the article: it was not an ordinary fog, and if anything it was getting bigger.



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Frederick made a dismissive tsk noise as he glanced over at his wife. "If there was any indication that it was sinister, Sarah, we would've splashed it all over the headlines," he pointed out. That sort of thing tended to sell well, in the newspaper business. The Ministry might have a vested interest in keeping the population from panicking over this, but the Prophet's interests lay in precisely the opposite direction. A bit of civil unrest would just mean more headlines, in the end. Riots, fires, plagues; they were all good for selling papers.

"It's inconvenient, at best," he argued. And both of her sisters were grown women, who could, at least in theory, take care of themselves. Not that being an adult was always the surest indicator of being able to take care of oneself. "But I don't imagine it will go on indefinitely. The Ministry will get off their bums and intervene someday." From his understanding of it, what they'd done so far could be summed up into: nothing.


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