Before the husband breaks the news, name 3 clues indicating this evening is going to be a break with routine in "Lamb to the Slaughter"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first clue that this particular evening was going to be a break with routine was the husband's behavior with his drink.  It was not uncommon for him to be silent as he unwound while enjoying his first drink after returning home from work, but tonight, "he did an unusual thing...he lifted his glass and drained it in one swallow".  Then, after pausing for a moment, he "got up and went slowly over to fetch himself another", which Mary Maloney noticed immediately "was dark amber with the quantity of whiskey in it".

Mary, trying to figure out what was bothering her husband, then solicitously offered to fix him something to eat.  Her kind suggestion, however, was rebuffed with an uncharacteristically curt response, "No...I don't want it". 

Becoming uneasy, Mary, "her large eyes...watching his face", exclaimed to her husband, "But you must eat...I'll fix (something) anyway, and then you can have it or not, as you like".  The husband's response to his wife's gentle insistence was abrupt to the point of rudeness, an attitude which was in stark contrast to his usual loving demeanor.  He ordered Mary to "Sit down...just for a minute, sit down".  He had something momentous to tell her, and it was evident that what he had to say was not going to be good.

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Lamb to the Slaughter

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