And it cannot be denied that the investigation of her pet subject, the satisfaction of her curiosity concerning occult matters and her diligent inquiries into the mysteries of the supernatural did lead her into places and scenes not at all in harmony with Eunice’s ideas of propriety.
“Not another word of that rubbish, Auntie; the subject is taboo,” and Eunice waved her hand with the air of one who dismisses a matter completely.
“Don’t you think you can come any of your high and mighty airs on me!” retorted the elder lady. “It doesn’t seem so very many years ago that I spanked you and shut you in the closet for impudence. The fact that you are now Mrs. Sanford Embury instead of little Eunice Ames hasn’t changed my attitude toward you!”
“Oh, Auntie, you are too ridiculous!” and Eunice laughed outright. “But the tables are turned, and I am not only Mrs, Sanford Embury but your hostess, and, as such, entitled to your polite regard for my wishes.”
“Tomfoolery talk, my dear; I’ll give you all the polite regard you are entitled to, but I shall carry out my own wishes, even though they run contrary to yours. And to-morrow I prance out to Newark, N.J., your orders to the contrary notwithstanding!”
The aristocratic old head went up and the aristocratic old nose sniffed disdainfully, for though Eunice Embury was strong-willed, her aunt was equally so, and in a clash of opinions Miss Ames not infrequently won out.
Eunice didn’t sulk, that was not her nature; she turned back to her writing desk with an offended air, but with a smile as of one who tolerates the vagaries of an inferior. This, she knew, would irritate her aunt more than further words could do.
And yet, Eunice Embury was neither mean nor spiteful of disposition. She had a furious temper, but she tried hard to control it, and when it did break loose, the spasm was but of short duration and she was sorry for it afterward. Her husband declared he had tamed her, and that since her marriage, about two years ago, his wise, calm influence had curbed her tendency to fly into a rage and had made her far more equable and placid of disposition.
His methods had been drastic—somewhat like those of Petruchio toward Katherine. When his wife grew angry, Sanford Embury grew more so and by harder words and more scathing sarcasms he—as he expressed it—took the wind out of her sails and rendered her helplessly vanquished.
And yet they were a congenial pair. Their tastes were similar; they liked the same people, the same books, the same plays. Eunice approved of Sanford’s correct ways and perfect intuitions and he admired her beauty and dainty grace.
Neither of them loved Aunt Abby—the sister of Eunice’s father —but her annual visit was customary and unavoidable.
The city apartment of the Sanfords had no guestroom, and therefore the visitor must needs occupy Eunice’s charming boudoir and dressing-room as a bedroom. This inconvenienced the Emburys, but they put up with it perforce.