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A Humble Enterprise
written by "Simmons, St. Clair"
...s! A tea-room girl! Oh, you are only trying to aggravate me! I didn't save you from Lady Louisa to have you throw yourself away on a tea-room girl!" He almost shook her, he was so angry with her. "May I ask you to be so very good as to mind your own business, and allow me to manage mine?" he said, with a sort of cold fury in his voice and eyes. It was not the way a son should speak to his mother—indeed, it was quite brutal—but he could not restrain himself; and she, looking at him, guessed what the sudden rage portended. "It is my business," she retorted, with equal passion. "It is my family's business—it is all our businesses—to see that we are not disgraced." "Disgraced!" he drawled, with bitter amusement. "Good Lord!" The white gauze over her bosom heaved like foam on a flowing tide, the gold drops studding it shook like harebells in a breeze. "Tony," she burst out fiercely, "I shall tell your father of you." She swept out of the room, and he heard her long tail scraping over the tiles of the hall, and rustling up the broad stairs. "Little devil!" he muttered in his teeth; and then he laughed, and his eyes cleared, and he went out upon the colonnaded verandah and walked up and down, with his hands behind him, till the gong clanged for dinner. Sedately he marched into the dining-room and stood by the table, he and the servants, all silent alike, waiting for host and hostess to come downstairs. Then in flounced Maude, in her glittering whiteness, with her head up, and a wicked flash of triumph in her eyes as she met the wooden stare of her stepson; and her husband followed at her heels, furtive, downcast, troubled—pretending for the present that all was well, and failing to convince even the footman that it was so. Tony was at once aware that Maude had "told his father of him," and all through dinner he was trying to forecast what the result would be. She sparkled balefully for a time, tryi...

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