Joshua was revelling at being in the spotlight. His companions were not convinced no matter what he did. It was not in their characters to be so active in this charade. Rhaïd opened his dark lips a couple of times to speak, but was hurriedly quietened by Mrs. Winters, which did nothing to improve his mood towards her.
“You’ve been sucked in!” exclaimed Mr. Biggins in his classy voice, drenched with the power of acting. “If you give that thieving charwoman any more of your money, you’ll surely be broke. I know mother and father aren’t willing to fund these ridiculous ‘causes’ any longer.”
A deathly silence filled the air. The only sounds were of the other participants eating. Even Daphne had stopped her meaningless chatter with Cynthia to stare at the volume and depth of Mr. Biggins’ speech. The actress had a glint of triumph in her eyes. Mr. Stones was bubbling with fury, false or otherwise.
“Well, at least the women won’t be after me just because of my money,” he spat controversially. It was known that the smartest women were those who chose their husband from aristocracy, for status and money, just as a young Annabelle had done, moving up in class when she married Geoffrey Winters. For her, status meant a lot, but here she tried to hide the dense consternation that had exploded inside her at the utterance of those weighty words. Luckily for her, most eyes were on the quick reply from Azura’s lips.
“Ha! What money?” she said in a snort, covering her mouth with one dainty, black-glove-covered hand and grinning guiltily out from behind it.
“Exactly, brother-” the second, elder Renfield brother started.
“-He couldn’t even keep hold of his wife’s own money, which, of course, by rule of marriage was meant to be his!” Azura remarked, her dark eyes now bright and sparkling. There was no denying the glee that painted her actress face as she declared the revelation.