He stopped, pale, panting, quivering.
“How dare you! ... How dare—”
“Dare!” ... Bonbright glared at his father; then he felt a great, quivering emotion welling up within him, a something he was ashamed to have the eye of man look upon. His lips began to tremble. He swung on his heel and ran staggeringly toward his door, but there he stopped, clutched the door frame, and cried, chokingly, “It’s a lie. ... A lie. ... A slimy lie!”
Mr. Foote stood motionless, staring after his son as be might have stared at some phenomenon which violated a law of nature; for instance, as he might have stared at the sun rising in the west, at a stream flowing uphill, at Newton’s apple remaining suspended in air instead of falling properly to the ground. He was not angry—yet. That personal and individual emotion would come later; what he experienced now was a family emotion, a staggering astonishment participated in by five generations of departed Bonbright Footes.
He was nonplussed. Here had happened a thing which could not happen. In the whole history of the Foote family there had never been recorded an instance of a son uttering such words to his father or of his family. There was no instance of an outburst even remotely resembling this one. It simply could not be. ... And yet it was. He had witnessed it, listened to it, had been the target at which his son’s hot words had been hurled.
For most occurrences in his life Mr. Foote could find a family precedent. This matter had been handled thus, and that other matter had been handled so. But this thin—it had never been handled because it had never happened. He was left standing squarely on his own feet, without aid or support.
Mortification mingled with his astonishment. It had remained for him--who had thought to add to the family laurels the literary achievement of portraying philosophically the life of the Marquis Lafayette—to father a son who could be guilty of thinking such thoughts and uttering such words. He looked about the room apprehensively, as if he feared to find assembled there the shades of departed Bonbrights who had been eavesdropping, as the departed are said to do by certain psychic persons. ... He hoped they had not been listening at his keyhole, for this was a squalid happening that he must smother, cover up, hide forever from their knowledge.