Saturday, October 25, 2008
Breakfast at the Manor
Sophia frowned at her reflection which, contrary to expectation, continued to apply face powder, squinting to achieve the appearance of dotty old aunt crossed with just a tinge of faded desirability. She tapped on the glass and her reflection started, smiled sheepishly and caught up with the original. “That’s better.”
She flicked through the three envelopes on the hall table, leaving the two bills – from the butcher and the florist – and taking the third, along with the newspaper, into the Green room where breakfast had been laid out. She rang the table bell and slit open the envelope with her thumb.
“Lag time is slipping again,” she said when Jasfoup arrived bearing a silver tray where a teapot and toast rack nestled like shining doves. “We aren’t anywhere near a breach, are we?”
“Blue moon in three days,” said Jasfoup. “There’s always a little leakage until the two planes align.”
“Tsk. It’s so tiresome. Typical of Lydia, too.”
“Ma’am?” Jasfoup hesitated, the sugar tongs poised over Lady Sophia’s china cup.
“My sister.” Sophia waved lavender-scented writing paper at him. “She’s coming for a fortnight, arriving on the 12:10 from Euston tomorrow.”
“Isn’t that good news, Ma’am? She can assist you when the portals align, surely?”
“Normally, yes.” Sophia began to butter her toast. “But she’s bringing some chap with her. Herbert Glossop.”
“I’m sure he will be delightful company, Ma’am.”
“He sounds ghastly.” Sophia reached for the marmalade. “If he gives us any trouble, feed the blighter to the pigs.”