The rank injustice of this was like iron entering her soul. She knew his speech was illogical, unfair and even absurd, but she knew no words of hers could make him see it so.
And in utter exasperation at her own impotence, she flung her self-control to the winds, and let go of her temper.
“Well, it isn’t my last word on the subject!” she cried. “I have something further to say!”
“That is your woman’s privilege,” and Embury smiled irritatingly at her.
“Not only my privilege, but my duty! I owe it to my self-respect, to my social position, to my standing as your wife—the wife of a prominent man of affairs—to have at my command a sum of ready money when I need it. You know perfectly well, I do not want it for anything wrong—or for anything that I want to keep secret from you. You know I have never had a secret from you nor do I wish to have! I simply want to do as other women do—even the poorest, the meanest man, will give his wife an allowance, a little something that is absolutely her own. Why, most of the women of my set have a checking account at the bank—they all have a personal allowance!”
“So?” Embury took up another cigarette. “You may remember, Eunice, I have spoken my last word on the subject.”
“And you may remember that I have not! But I will—and right now. And it is simply that since you refuse me the pleasure and convenience of some money for everyday use, I shall get some from another source.”
Embury’s eyes narrowed, and he surveyed his wife with a calm scrutiny. Then he smiled.
“Stenography and typewriting?” he said; “or shall you take in plain sewing? Cut out the threats, Eunice; they won’t get you anywhere!”
“They’ll get me where I want to arrive! Don’t say I didn’t warn you—I repeat, I shall get money for my personal use, and you will have no right to criticize my methods, since you refuse me a paltry sum by way of allowance.”
Eunice was standing, her two hands tightly grasping a chair-back as she looked angrily at Embury, who still seated lazily, blew smoke rings toward her. She was magnificent in her anger, her cheeks burned crimson, her dark eyes had an ominous gleam in them and her curved lips straightened into a determined line of scarlet. Her muscles were strained and tense, her breath came quickly, yet she had full control of herself and her pose was that of a crouching, waiting tiger rather than a furious ode.
Embury was full of admiration at the beautiful picture she made, but pursuant of his inexorable plan, he rose to “tame” her.
“‘Tiger, tiger, burning bright,’” he quoted, “you must take back that speech—it is neither pretty nor tactful—”
“I have no wish to be tactful! Why should I? I am not trying to coax or cajole you! You refuse my request—you have repeatedly refused me—now, I am at the end of my patience, and I shall take matters into my own hands!”