"I suppose you don't realise that it's a shock to me. I don't know what Ernest will think--"
"I do wish, Father, you wouldn't swear."
Old Heythorp's rage found vent in a sort of rumble. How the devil had he gone on all these years in the same house with that woman, dining with her day after day! But the servant had come back now, and putting down his fork he said:
The man paused, thunderstruck, with the souffle balanced. To leave dinner unfinished--it was a portent!
"Mr. Heythorp's not very well, Meller; take his other arm."
The old man shook off her hand.
"I'm very well. Help me up. Dine in my own room in future."
Raised to his feet, he walked slowly out; but in his sanctum he did not sit down, obsessed by this first overwhelming realisation of his helplessness. He stood swaying a little, holding on to the table, till the servant, having finished serving dinner, brought in his port.