“You have embarrassed me yet again,” he hissed. “Babbling at the dinner table about that pup Swayne. Do you not know what constitutes a suitable subject for dinner conversation? Did you learn nothing in your years at Miss Irwin’s school?”

He shook his head. “How many times did you meet him in the gatehouse. That artist. How many times?” Henry grabbed Emma by the shoulders and shook her, one of her curls slipping from the hairpin. “You ungrateful—” He glared at her. “Wench.” Emma gasped. “I am aware of what you have done with young Master Swayne.” Henry pushed her away from him, and shot his cuffs. “There will be consequences for Master Swayne,” he smiled, turning to her. “And for you. Clearly, you are unbalanced, only someone of unsound mind would turn her back on all of this!” He motioned around the opulent room.

“But, Henry,” Emma began, “I was never alone with Mr. Swayne outside the morning room.”

“You were observed walking in the garden with him,” said Henry. “Alone. Explain how your personal effects were found in the gatehouse.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew a short, kid glove. “This is yours, is it not?” He slapped it onto the table. “The second item of your apparel. I discovered this after Master Swayne vacated our premises this morning. And one of your daubings. How did that come to be there?”

“Give me your wedding ring,” Henry demanded. “You no longer deserve to wear a token of devotion.” He reached a hand to her. “You do not have it, do you? You chose not to wear it this evening.”

“You CHOSE not to wear it this evening,” he shouted.

“I did not think—” Emma began.

“Of course, you did not think,” he hissed. “You are not capable of thought. Do you know what becomes of faithless, unbalanced wives?”


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