‘Pooh!’ said Mr. Thomasson. ’Don’t try to browbeat me, sir. These persons are impostors, Lady Dunborough! Impostors!’ he continued. ’In this house, at any rate. They have no right to be here!’
‘You shall pay for this!’ shrieked Mr. Fishwick. For he it was.
‘I will ring the bell,’ the tutor continued in a high tone, ’and have them removed. They have no more to do with Sir George Soane, whose name they appear to have taken, than your ladyship has.’
‘Have a care! Have a care, sir,’ cried the lawyer, trembling.
‘Or than I have!’ persisted Mr. Thomasson hardily, and with his head in the air; ‘and no right or title to be anywhere but in the servants’ room. That is their proper place. Lady Dunborough,’ he continued, his eyes darting severity at the three culprits, ’are you aware that this young person whom you have been so kind as to notice is—is—’
‘Oh, Gadzooks, man, come to the point!’ cried her ladyship, with one eye on the victuals.
‘No, I will not shame her publicly,’ said Mr. Thomasson, swelling with virtuous self-restraint. ’But if your ladyship would honour me with two words apart?’
Lady Dunborough rose, muttering impatiently; and Mr. Thomasson, with the air of a just man in a parable, led her a little aside; but so that the three who remained at the table might still feel that his eye and his reprehension rested on them. He spoke a few words to her ladyship; whereon she uttered a faint cry, and stiffened. A moment and she turned and came back to the table, her face crimson, her headdress nodding. She looked at the girl, who had just risen to her feet.
‘You baggage!’ she hissed, ’begone! Out of this house! How dare you sit in my presence?’ And she pointed to the door.
ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
The scene presented by the room at this moment was sufficiently singular. The waiters, drawn to the spot by the fury of my lady’s tone, peered in at the half-opened door, and asking one another what the fracas was about, thought so; and softly called to others to witness it. On one side of the table rose Lady Dunborough, grim and venomous; on the other the girl stood virtually alone—for the elder woman had fallen to weeping helplessly, and the attorney seemed to be unequal to this new combatant. Even so, and though her face betrayed trouble and some irresolution, she did not blench, but faced her accuser with a slowly rising passion that overcame her shyness.
‘Madam,’ she said, ’I did not clearly catch your name. Am I right in supposing that you are Lady Dunborough?’
The peeress swallowed her rage with difficulty. ‘Go!’ she cried, and pointed afresh to the door. ’How dare you bandy words with me? Do you hear me? Go!’
‘I am not going at your bidding,’ the girl answered slowly. ’Why do you speak to me like that?’ And then, ’You have no right to speak to me in that way!’ she continued, in a flush of indignation.