The Telephone

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Such as the pursuit of woman!” snapped her father. “The love–not of woman, but of the pursuit of woman! On all sides you see it to-day! On all sides you hear it–sense it–suffer it! The young man’s eternally jocose sexual appraisement of woman! ‘Is she young? Is she pretty?’ And always, eternally, ‘Is there any one younger? Is there any one prettier?’ Sins, you ask?” Suddenly now he seemed perfectly willing, even anxious, to linger and talk. “A sin is nothing, oftener than not, but a mere accidental, non-considered act! A yellow streak quite as exterior as the scorch of a sunbeam. And there is no sin existent that a man may not repent of! And there is no honest repentance, Eve, that a wise woman cannot make over into a basic foundation for happiness! But a trait? A congenital tendency? A yellow streak 9l0-007 dumps bred in the bone? Why, Eve! If a man loves, I tell you, not woman, but the pursuit of woman? So that–wherever he wins–he wastes again? So that indeed at last, he wins only to waste? Moving eternally–on–on–on from one ravaged lure to another? Eve! Would I deliver over you–your mother’s reincarnated body–to–to such as that?” “O–h,” said little Eve Edgarton. Her eyes were quite wide with horror. “How careful I shall have to be with Henrietta.” “Eh?” snapped her father. Ting-a-ling–ling–ling–ling! trilled the telephone from the farther side of the room. Impatiently Edgarton came back and lifted the receiver from its hook. “Hello?” he growled. “Who? What? Eh?” With quite unnecessary vehemence he rammed the palm of his hand against the mouth-piece and glared back over his shoulder at his daughter. “It’s that–that Barton!” he said. “The impudence of him! He wants to know if you are receiving visitors to-day! He wants to know if he can come up! The–” “Yes–isn’t it–awful?” stammered little apple 9l0-007 Eve Edgarton. Imperiously her father turned back to the telephone. Ting-a-ling–ling–ling–ling, chirped the bell right in his face. As if he were fairly trying to bite the transmitter, he thrust his lips and teeth into the mouth-piece.


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