I shall do better in the coming weeks. I promise.
Jack’s eyebrows crinkled. “But Mr. Herbertson, sir—Jeeves in the Jeeves books isn’t a butler. He’s a valet.”
“No more is James Butler a butler. He’s my personal secretary,” Mr. Herbertson retorted, obviously quite anxious that the company should know that Mr. Butler was a personal secretary and not secretary to the unwashed masses at large. “And while we’re on the subject, young man, just what are you?”
“What,” Jack inquired, “is THAT?”
“It is a cat,” said Deirdre, a little stiffly. “I have rescued it.”
“From a sausage machine?” Jack dropped his briefcase and bent down for a closer look. The cat snarled at him and batted an indignant, bedraggled paw.
“No indeed, what a horrid thought.” Deirdre scooped the cat up and turned away from Jack. The cat snarled at her and tried to wiggle away. “There’s nothing truly wrong with it—all it needs is a good hot bath and some food.”
“Indeed,” said Jack solemnly. “I should very much like to see you give that cat a hot bath, Miss McSmith.”
Everything in Mrs. Buchran’s office was an uglier shade of yellow than the last item. If the sofa had matched the heavy gold drapes, or the butterscotch candies in the dish, perhaps it would not have been so jarring to look at, but as it was the clashing colors made Sylvia wince.
“It’s a really pretty room,” she said at last, and bit her tongue immediately afterwards to punish herself for the inanity of the comment. It was not, strictly speaking, a very pretty room. Functional would be a better term. Well, really it might best be described as—
“Oh, please, it’s kind of a mess right now.” Celia grinned. “Actually it’s kind of a mess all the time. We like to keep our stuff on display. Like a museum. See, over there, that’s what most people would call a dresser but we call it the portrait gallery.”
The bureau was littered with pictures—photographs of each family member, including a young woman whose identity Sylvia could easily guess, along with several drawings in various stages of visibility that seemed to represent dogs.
“Patsy likes to draw,” Celia explained.
“They’re cute,” said Sylvia, which was quite true. Whether the pictures were artistic as well as cute was not the question at stake.
“Last year—” Celia began, but Alice interrupted.
“Last year the rule was exactly the same. Come on, now, let’s not have any more nonsense. There are lots of other things to do around here than swim in the lake.”