You may be a good publisher,’ Laura began, keeping the advantage which a standing position gave her, ‘but you are the world’s most blethering ass, Adrian Coates. If I really wanted to punish you, I’d accept you on the spot. Do you think I want a husband, and if I did do you think I’d want you? I’m old enough to be your mother, or at least I would be in India. And as for being a father to my boys, do you think three independent young men who are earning their own livings need a father? Bah! As for Tony he doesn’t require one. We get on very well, thank you. Bear my burdens, indeed. You great mass of incompetence and conceit, you revolt me. You really do. Here, drink that coffee.