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|The Lost World||Arthur Conan Doyle|
It's Just The Very Biggest Thing In The World
|Page 1 of 11||
Hardly was it shut when Mrs. Challenger darted out from the dining-room. The small woman was in a furious temper. She barred her husband's way like an enraged chicken in front of a bulldog. It was evident that she had seen my exit, but had not observed my return.
"You brute, George!" she screamed. "You've hurt that nice young man."
He jerked backwards with his thumb.
"Here he is, safe and sound behind me."
She was confused, but not unduly so.
"I am so sorry, I didn't see you."
"I assure you, madam, that it is all right."
"He has marked your poor face! Oh, George, what a brute you are! Nothing but scandals from one end of the week to the other. Everyone hating and making fun of you. You've finished my patience. This ends it."
"Dirty linen," he rumbled.
"It's not a secret," she cried. "Do you suppose that the whole street--the whole of London, for that matter---- Get away, Austin, we don't want you here. Do you suppose they don't all talk about you? Where is your dignity? You, a man who should have been Regius Professor at a great University with a thousand students all revering you. Where is your dignity, George?"
"How about yours, my dear?"
"You try me too much. A ruffian--a common brawling ruffian-- that's what you have become."
"Be good, Jessie."
"A roaring, raging bully!"
"That's done it! Stool of penance!" said he.
To my amazement he stooped, picked her up, and placed her sitting upon a high pedestal of black marble in the angle of the hall. It was at least seven feet high, and so thin that she could hardly balance upon it. A more absurd object than she presented cocked up there with her face convulsed with anger, her feet dangling, and her body rigid for fear of an upset, I could not imagine.
"Let me down!" she wailed.
"You brute, George! Let me down this instant!"
"Come into the study, Mr. Malone."
"Really, sir----!" said I, looking at the lady.
"Here's Mr. Malone pleading for you, Jessie.
Say `please,' and down you come."
"Oh, you brute! Please! please!"
"You must behave yourself, dear. Mr. Malone is a Pressman. He will have it all in his rag to-morrow, and sell an extra dozen among our neighbors. `Strange story of high life'--you felt fairly high on that pedestal, did you not? Then a sub-title, `Glimpse of a singular menage.' He's a foul feeder, is Mr. Malone, a carrion eater, like all of his kind--porcus ex grege diaboli-- a swine from the devil's herd. That's it, Malone--what?"
"You are really intolerable!" said I, hotly.
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|The Lost World
Arthur Conan Doyle
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