Laura’s writing stopped there, for that day, interrupted by a hurried rapping upon the door and her mother’s voice calling her with stress and urgency.
The opening of the door revealed Mrs. Madison in a state of anxious perturbation, and admitted the sound of loud weeping and agitated voices from below.
“Please go down,” implored the mother. “You can do more with her than I can. She and your father have been having a terrible scene since Richard went home.”
Laura hurried down to the library.
“Oh, come in, Laura!” cried her sister, as Laura appeared in the doorway. “Don’t stand there! Come in if you want to take part in a grand old family row!” With a furious and tear-stained face, she was confronting her father who stood before her in a resolute attitude and a profuse perspiration. “Shut the door!” shouted Cora violently, adding, as Laura obeyed, “Do you want that little Pest in here? Probably he’s eavesdropping anyway. But what difference does it make? I don’t care. Let him hear! Let anybody hear that wants to! They can hear how I’m tortured if they like. I didn’t close my eyes last night, and now I’m being tortured. Papa!” She stamped her foot. “Are you going to take back that insult to me?”
“`Insult’?” repeated her father, in angry astonishment.
“Pshaw,” said Laura, laughing soothingly and coming to her. “You know that’s nonsense, Cora. Kind old papa couldn’t do that if he tried. Dear, you know he never insulted anybody in his——”
“Don’t touch me!” screamed Cora, repulsing her. “Listen, if you’ve got to, but let me alone. He did too! He did! He knows what he said!”