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"Presumption" is the fourth story in the Tales of the Slayers comic anthology. Written by Jane Espenson and illustrated by P. Craig Russell, it was originally published on February 20, 2002, by Dark Horse Comics.


The story is set in Porter Hall, Somersetshire, in 1813, during a high society ball held by the Weston household, which is attended by a large group of people, including a young woman called Catherine and her sister. The sister complains to Catherine that the latter has been "thoughtful and low" lately. Catherine is introduced to a young man, Edward Weston, who asks her to dance. The Slayer ponders on how the ladies at the ball, while intelligent and witty, are unaware of the existence of vampires. As Catherine and Edward hold hands for the dance, the Slayer notices the cold hand of her partner and what it means.

Catherine tells Edward that he is an object of fascination for the women present, as he is one of the few unmarried men in the neighborhood. According to Catherine, they wanted to know if he hunts, his taste in poetry and even his favorite meals. Edward is offended and stops dancing, attracting the attention of people in the dance hall. He points out that he is uncomfortable with being the object of scrutiny. Catherine apologizes and the two part uncomfortably. The Slayer muses that it is for the best as it isn't good to be attracted to the creature she is meant to destroy.

Catherine's sister asks her what happened, Catherine answers that Edward strives to look and behave the very best, but at the same time resents drawing attention to himself: "an unpleasant mix of presumption and resentment", she concludes.

Edward retreats to the card room with his brother. As the two play poker, the brother asks him why did he backed away after having seemingly singled Catherine out as a "target." Edward retorts that he is not backing away, merely reconsidering his approach.

Edward approaches Catherine again, offering to fill her cup and asks her if she is always so direct in talking with newly acquainted men and free with her words. She retorts that society allows women few freedoms except learning all they can and speaking all they can get away with. Noticing that Catherine finds the life of a lady confining, Edward challenges her to go to the terrace: a place off-limits for unmarried ladies and gentlemen. She agrees and gets out the door, Edward following her.

Finally alone with Edward, Catherine vamps out only to be staked. The Slayer runs away to meet with her Watcher who asks "Did you get her, Miss Elizabeth?" She answers that she did, and that she is to be called Edward. The limitations imposed by society to women are why the Slayer, Elizabeth Weston had given up the life of a woman years before.

Slayer and Watcher leave, while the ball continues.


  • Set in 1813, this story is set after "Some Like It Hot" (early 19th century), and before the flashback from "Amends" (year 1883), in which Angelus kills Margaret during a Christmas party.



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Death count[]

  • Catherine, staked by Elizabeth Weston.

Behind the scenes[]



Elizabeth Weston: "I see many young girls here. Is this how they all fill their hours? With idle speculation and mean arts? Or is this perhaps peculiar to you?"