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A Matter of Class

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On their way back home from church, Hyacinth expressed her indignation in clear terms. There was certainly much to be said, for what on Earth had Daisy been thinking?

Bringing Onslow into the company of civilised people was bad enough, of course, but to drag poor Daddy along! Wasn't it obvious that he'd mistake the church bells for air raid sirens? And if this wasn't bad enough, there was still the matter of Rose's skirt -- it was Sunday, for Heaven's sake; one would think she had the decency to wear something knee-length, at least.

"Emmet asked me about Daisy and the others," Richard remarked after she'd paused to draw her breath. "He said he found it hard to believe you are related."

"Of course he does," Hyacinth sniffed, with the air of someone who feels vindicated. "Any sensible person would. Dear Emmet," she added affectionately, then paused. "What did you tell him?"

"Not much," said Richard hesitantly. "Only that your mother was a seamstress, and --"

"Richard!" Hyacinth scolded. "As I have told you a million times, poor Mother was a modiste, bless her memory. Honestly, how I can trust you with such delicate information, if you are going to distort it so frightfully? Mind the pedestrian."

"Minding the pedestrian," Richard said, shifting to a higher gear. "At any rate, Emmet didn't seem to find anything wrong with her being a seamstress."

"Hm?" said Hyacinth. "Oh well, I daresay he's a very tolerant person. I shall have to show him Mother's photograph one day, so he can see for himself. Poor Mother." She frowned. "You spared him from the details of her unhappy fate, I hope?"

"I don't know that many details to begin with," Richard pointed out. "Only that your father ran away when you were twelve, and --"

"Do mind the double-decker, dear," Hyacinth said.

Richard minded the double-decker.

There was silence for a moment, then Hyacinth sniffed again. "It was that woman's fault, of course. She tricked him into running away with her. Of course she tricked him! But one should perhaps not blame the wretched soul too much; Daddy must have looked striking in his uniform."

"Unlike now," Richard muttered under his breath.

"And Rose must have got her appetite from somewhere -- it's certainly not something you'd find in Mother's family," Hyacinth mused. "But what might one expect from someone who couldn't tell a Royal Doulton from a Spode? I was most embarrassed at Violet's wedding, I must say."

Richard had also been quite embarrassed at said wedding, although that was mostly due to Bruce's parading around wearing a veil; he refrained from saying as much, however. "Aren't you a little harsh now? I thought you were fond of your sisters?"

"Of course, of course," said Hyacinth absently. "It's not the poor girls' fault they were not brought up by a modiste. I count myself lucky to have been taught the importance of maintaining certain standards. -- Do mind the cyclist. Richard, I wish you'd check with me next time Emmet asks you something."

"You weren't there," Richard protested feebly. "And what if he asks where you and I met? Am I allowed to tell him you were a waitre --"

"Now, dear, there's no need to be silly," Hyacinth said, stretching out a gloved hand to pat his knee. "I know he will want to hear it from my own lips. After all, storytelling is an art like any other, what with deciding what is essential and what is unnecessary, and if anyone knows how to appreciate a fine anecdote, it's him."

She paused, smiling contently. "Or should that be 'he'? Oh, never mind. I am certain it will make a very fine story in the end, if only you will keep from bringing irrelevant details into it. Remember, dear, it is all a matter of class."