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"Mother, you have ruined my life." He staggers in to the room and sits, sprawling on a chair, legs out.

"You're drunk." says the mistress of the house, with disgust.

The housekeeper quietly moves towards the door.

"I can't work because you sent her away."

"You can't work because you are drunk."

He sways forward, putting his elbow on the table. He misses the first time. He yanks the chair forward and slams both elbows on the table. His mother grabs the oil lamp as the table sways. She stands up and back, the lamp in her hands. He puts his face in his hands. "I love her, don't you see. And the vixen spurns me and lies about me."

"No one could love you in this state." says his mother. "I am finished. I will not defend you again."

He laughs. "You will, mother, you will."

"No." says his mother harshly. "The others died young or aborning. I will tell your father the truth."

He laughs again. Hiccups, and draws a harsh breath. He drops his head on his arms.

"Your father has built a thriving business from nothing and you do nothing but spend. You could be a tailor and useful."

"I am a writer. I am a writer." he says.


She leaves with the lamp.

He is in the dark. There are snuffling sounds. Then snores.


To be continued.