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HOME > Short Stories > The Queen of Farrandale > CHAPTER XI A MUTINOUS ACTOR
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 John Ogden waited long enough to shake his fist toward the closed door before he turned back to regard Hugh, who, with features refined by illness, perfectly groomed, and grandly arrayed, seemed to him a new person. The gloomy expression in the eyes, however, warned him. “Sit down again, Hugh,” he forced the tall fellow back into the white easy-chair, “and let me speak first.”
Hugh sat down perforce, but with a belligerent expression. “No, sir. I’m going to do all the speaking,” he said. “You got me into this and you’ve got to get me out.”
“Now, now, boy”—Ogden drew the nearest chair forward and dropped into it. “I expected I might find you a bit morbid—”
“Morbid!” explosively. “Me with a nurse! Me being stuffed four times a day with the delicacies of the season! Me dressed up like a Christmas doll! I don’t need anything but a wrap of tissue paper and a sprig of holly to be ready for delivery; and me a liar all the time—”
“Look here, Hugh”—John Ogden faced[126] the indignation in the dark eyes. “Did you notice my escort as I came in? And is he on such intimate terms with you that he bolts into your room without ceremony?”
“We’re on no terms at all. I despise the little cockatoo and he hates me—”
“He has reason,” put in Ogden with a nod.
“I’d like to know why. I haven’t done anything to him.”
“Oh, yes, you have.” John Ogden spoke slowly.
“What, I’d like to know?”
“You’ve delayed the settling of the estate—unwarrantably, and—indefinitely.”
Hugh stared, and then broke forth hotly. “Oh, look here, that’s a darned mean thing to say!”
“I think he’s a darned mean little man,” returned Ogden calmly. “Now we’ve got to look this ground all over, if I’m to get you out of here. How comes on Sukey the Freak?”
Hugh’s face flushed. “She’s a wonder, and a sport,” he answered. “If she wasn’t so infernally grateful to me for breaking my arm, she’d be all right.”
“Well, I think the Queen of Farrandale likes her job pretty well. You probably did help her to keep it, you know.”
“Oh, well, I’m sick of hearing about it,” said Hugh restlessly, “and if she knew who I am I could stand all this pampering better; but it’s degrading to be waited on, and stuffed, and having to accept presents when—when I’m deceiving her; and I warn you”—he began speaking faster—“I’m not going to stand it, and I just waited to see you. Miss Damon, the nurse, is a good scout, but I hate the sight of her. I want to be let alone. My arm is all right”—he moved it about—“a little weak, but here’s my right all the time.”
“But you went off your head, my dear boy, and shouted for Aunt Sukey till you brought tears from a bronze image.” Ogden didn’t dare to laugh. “It rests with me to bring her here right now.”
“Yes, and you think that’s very funny, I suppose.”
“I think that such a début as you made in the r?le I planned for you was little short of miraculous; and to give it up and leave it would be flying in the face of Providence.”
“I don’t care whose face I fly in. I’m strong enough to move out of here, and I’m going.”
Ogden regarded him thoughtfully from the thatch of auburn waves down to his jeweled satin feet.
“If a film-producer should come in here now, you would never be allowed to learn the department-store business,” he said. “I’ll wager that Miss Frink is having a romance—rather late in life, I admit, but it goes all the deeper.”
Hugh shook his head gravely. “Don’t make any fun of her. Whatever she did to my father, she has been wonderful to me. I’ll be ashamed to face her when the truth comes out.”
“By that time you won’t, boy. Grimshaw is so jealous of you that it shows your work is well begun.”
“Ugh! The meanness of it,” said Hugh repugnantly. “She is so frank and honest that it’s disgusting to be plotting against her. Grimshaw has got it all over me. He’s in his own cockatoo colors when all’s said and done; but I”—the speaker lifted a fold of his rich robe and dropped it with a groan.
“I’m pleased that you like Miss Frink so much,” said Ogden, ignoring this. “Everything will come out all right. Everybody confined to a sick-room gets morbid.” The speaker looked about the spacious apartment, and through a door ajar had a glimpse of the silver and tile of the bathroom. “Isn’t the house charming?”
“I don’t know,” replied Hugh curtly. “I[129] know when I once get out of it I’ll never see it again.”
Ogden smiled. “My actor is more temperamental than an opera star,” he mused aloud. “Promise me one thing, boy; I think you owe me that much. Promise me you won’t take any step without forewarning me.”
“Of course I owe it to you,” said Hugh bitterly. “I owe everybody. I’ve been the most appalling expense both to you and Miss Frink, it makes me sick to think of it when I don’t know how I can ever get even.”
“You’ll get even with me by just doing what I say,” returned the other forcefully. “Of course, I haven’t seen you and Miss Frink together yet, but I’m certain you have been and are being a wonderful event in her life. She has been the loneliest woman I ever knew except on her business side. Look at this perfectly appointed house. I never heard of any ............
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