Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/290

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The Fool's Hour

Mandeville.Did she say that?[A slight pause.]I hope you will not be angry when I own that I do not especially admire your mother. A quarter of a century ago she may have had considerable attractions, but—are you offended?

Julia.Offended? Oh, no. Only it seems strange. I thought that all men admired mamma.[Pause.]You have not told me yet how you made Lady Doldrummond's acquaintance.

Mandeville.I am here at Lord Aprile's invitation. He has decided that he feels no further need of Lady Doldrummond's apron-strings.

Julia.Oh, Mr. Mandeville, are you teaching him to be wicked?

Mandeville.But you will agree with me that a young man cannot make his mother a kind of scribbling diary?

Julia.Still, if he spends his time well, there does not seem to be any reason why he should refuse to say where he dines when he is not at home.

Mandeville.Lady Doldrummond holds such peculiar ideas; she would find immorality in a sofa-cushion. If she were to know that Cyril is coming with me to the dress rehearsal of our new piece!

Julia.It would break her heart. And Lord Doldrummond would be indignant. Mamma says his own morals are so excellent!

Mandeville.Is he an invalid?

Julia.Certainly not. Why do you ask?

Mandeville.Whenever I hear of a charming husband I always think that he must be an invalid. But as for morals, there can be no harm in taking Cyril to a dress rehearsal. If you do not wish him to go, however, I can easily say that the manager does not care to have strangers present.[Pause.]Afterwards there is to be a ball at Miss Sparrow's.