“Mary dear, you look exhausted, is everything alright?” Cora stirred her tea and leaned towards her daughter.
“Perfectly Mama. Why?” Mary raised her eyebrows curiously as she looked at her mother.
“Oh you just look a little pale and drawn.”
“Well, truthfully, I’ve discovered a new love of poetry, and I just can’t seem to get enough.” She looked down and stirred her own tea, missing her grandmother’s eyes rolling derisively.
“Yes. I just can’t seem to satisfy my appetite for it. I’m up until all hours reading,” she replied serenely, feeling that familiar heat coil within her as she reflected on her late night reading.
“And what does Matthew think of this new interest?”
“Oh he’s very enthusiastic, and keen to encourage me,” she hid her smile by taking a sip of her tea, still determined not to look in her grandmother’s direction.
“Well my dear, just because you’re married, it doesn’t mean that you can let your routine slip and your looks deteriorate. Perhaps, you should save this poetry reading for in a morning, rather than at night,” Cora sat back with a smile, pleased that she had appeared to impart some wisdom to her eldest daughter.
“Well, I suppose I could try in a morning, but evenings just seem to be preferable, what with Matthew being at work all day.” She looked down again, smiling to herself as she took another sip.
“Oh Matthew! There you are!” Cora straightened as Matthew entered the room. “I was just telling Mary that she must stop with this late night poetry reading that she suddenly seems so fond of, and it would be much better suited to a morning, or even an afternoon. What do you think?” He searched for and met his wife’s gaze, smiling indulgently at her before turning back to his mother-in-law.
“Well, I suppose when the mood strikes, it cannot be helped. But I shall endeavour to make sure that she is not suffering because of it. Now, darling, I have a book of poetry in my pocket, perhaps you would care to take a walk with me and we could read it together.” His lips quirked into a smile, and he looked at her knowingly.
“Of course. Reading poetry with you Matthew is certainly one of my life’s greatest pleasures. Thank you for the tea Mama, Granny. Goodbye,” she smiled warmly at them before looping her arm through her husband’s and leaving.
“Poetry! Whatever next? Knitting, or embroidery…” Cora murmured, incredulous.
“Oh Cora, you don’t really think they were talking about poetry do you?”
“Well whatever else could it be?” Violet raised an eyebrow and stared at her daughter-in-law, waiting until she pieced it together. Cora gasped. “You don’t mean…? In the middle of the day? On a Saturday?”
“Well really dear, would we have expected anything less?” She rolled her eyes once more and sipped her tea, leaving the Countess staring at the door in wide-eyed shock.