The main problem was Marion's husband, who was alternately high on alcohol and ether. The alcohol Tennessee didn't mind, but the smell of ether drove him crazy.
Regis had a glass eye and one evening, during dinner, to emphasize a point, he threw it at his mother-in-law. It landed in her soup. A lesser woman might have fainted, or screamed, but not Mrs. Black.
She rose to the top of Tennessee's list of gentlewomen. As though nothing had happened, she removed it gracefully with her soup spoon and passed it to Marion, saying she believed it was something that Regis had lost.