Page:The White Peacock, Lawrence, 1911.djvu/17
PEOPLE OF NETHERMERE
“Little wretch,” said Emily, swallowing with difficulty. “I’m glad I did! Some of my lads belong to—to——”
“To the devil,” suggested George, but she would not accept it from him.
Her father sat laughing; her mother with distress in her eyes, looked at her daughter, who hung her head and made patterns on the table-cloth with her finger.
“Are they worse than the last lot?” asked the mother, softly, fearfully.
“No—nothing extra,” was the curt answer.
“She merely felt like bashing ’em,” said George, calling, as he looked at the sugar bowl and at his pudding:
“Fetch some more sugar, Annie.”
The maid rose from her little table in the corner, and the mother also hurried to the cupboard. Emily trifled with her dinner and said bitterly to him:
“I only wish you had a taste of teaching, it would cure your self-satisfaction.”
“Pf!” he replied contemptuously, “I could easily bleed the noses of a handful of kids.”
“You wouldn’t sit there bleating like a fatted calf,” she continued.
This speech so tickled Mollie that she went off into a burst of laughter, much to the terror of her mother, who stood up in trembling apprehension lest she should choke.
“You made a joke, Emily,” he said, looking at his younger sister’s contortions.Emily was too impatient to speak to him further, and left the table. Soon the two men went back to