“Oh, and I have prayed to You, I have always tried to do what You wanted, and I never asked You to let me be born locked up in a good-for-nothing Musgrave body! And You won’t even let me see a wild-pea vine again! That isn’t much to ask, I think. But You won’t let me do it. You really do have rather funny notions about Your jokes.”
She began to laugh.
“Oh, very well!” Patricia said aloud. “It is none of my affair that You elect to run Your world on an extremely humorous basis.”
She was at Matocton in good time for luncheon.
Colonel Musgrave had a brief interview with his wife after luncheon. He began with quiet remonstrance, and ended with an unheard extenuation of his presumption. Patricia’s speech on this occasion was of an unfettered and heady nature.
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” she said, when she had finally paused for breath, and had wiped away her tears, and had powdered her nose, viciously, “to bully a weak and defenseless woman in this way. I dare say everybody in the house has heard us—brawling and squabbling just like a hod-carrier and his wife. What’s that? You haven’t said a word for fifteen minutes? Oh, la, la, la! well, I don’t care. Anyhow, I have, and I am perfectly sure they heard me, and I am sure I don’t care in the least, and it’s all your fault, anyway. Oh, but you have an abominable nature, Rudolph—a mean and cruel and suspicious nature. Your bald-headed little Charteris is nothing whatever to me; and I would have been quite willing to give him up if you had spoken to me in a decent manner about it. You only said——? I don’t care what you said; and besides, if you did speak to me in a decent manner, it simply shows that your thoughts were so horrid and vulgar that even you weren’t so abandoned as to dare to put them into words. Very well, then, I won’t be seen so much with him in future. I realize you are quite capable of beating me if I don’t give way to your absurd prejudices. Yes, you are, Rudolph; you’re just the sort of man to take pleasure in beating a woman. After the exhibition of temper you’ve given this afternoon, I believe you are capable of anything. Hand me that parasol! Don’t keep on talking to me; for I don’t wish to hear anything you have to say. You’re simply driving me to my grave with your continual nagging and abuse and fault-finding. I’m sure I wish I were dead as much as you do. Is my hat on straight? How do you expect me to see into that mirror if you stand directly in front of it? There! not content with robbing me of every pleasure in life, I verily believe you were going to let me go downstairs with my hat cocked over one ear. And don’t you snort and look at me like that. I’m not going to meet Mr. Charteris. I’m going driving with Felix Kennaston; he asked me at luncheon. I suppose you’ll object to him next; you object to all my friends. Very well! Now you’ve made me utterly miserable for the entire afternoon, and I’m sure I hope you are satisfied.”