Athalie (Chapter 9, page 1 of 23)


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Chapter 9

The course of irresponsible amusement which C. Bailey, Jr., continued
to pursue at intervals with the fair scion of the house--road-house--of
Greensleeve, did not run as smoothly as it might have, and was not
unmixed with carping reflections and sordid care on his part, and with
an increasing number of interruptions, admonitions, and warnings on
the part of his mother.

That pretty lady, flint-hardened in the igneous social lava-pot,
continued to hear disquieting tales of her son's doings. They came to
her right and left, from dance and card-table, opera-box and supper
party, tea and bazaar and fashionable reception.

One grim-visaged old harridan of whom Manhattan stood in fawning fear,
bluntly informed her that she'd better look out for her boy if she
didn't want to become a grandmother.

Which infuriated and terrified Mrs. Bailey and set her thinking with
all the implacable concentration of which she was capable.

So far in life she had accomplished whatever she set out to do.... And
of all things on earth she dreaded most to become a grandmother of any
description whatever.

But between Athalie and Clive, if there had been any doubts concerning
the propriety or expediency of their companionship neither he nor she
had, so far, expressed them.

Their comradeship, in fact, had now become an intimacy--the sort that
permits long silences without excuse or embarrassment on either side.
She continued to charm and surprise him; and to discover, daily, in
him new traits to admire in a character which perhaps he did not
really possess.

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