|Esther before Ahasuerus, by Valentin Lefevre|
At the vineyard’s restaurant, they talked about neutral simple things until they had all ordered and had a couple of sips of champagne.
Lucasta had seen the hug Jason had given Eleanor, and she’d wondered. She was too polite to quiz either of them about it. And Jason didn’t want to say anything—it was Eleanor’s secret.
“I’ve offered to work for a couple of hours at the bar tonight,” he said looking from one face to the other. “Between nine and eleven. That’s when it’s busiest and Keith could do with my help.”
“Oh, my dear, I expect we’ll both be in bed when you get back.”
“Well, I’ll try not to wake you up!” Turning to his grandmother he said, “When I first started to stay at Majorca Flats, Bolt would bark when I came home. He has such acute hearing, it didn’t matter how quiet I was, he always heard me and would get so excited. But I managed to train him not to bark. He’s very intelligent.”
“Fox terriers are,” said his grandmother, “such clever nervy little dogs, almost like people really. I have some friends who are less intelligent than my own dog.”
Eleanor laughed. “What sort of dog do you have?”
“A little Pekingese. I used to have a Siamese cat called Ahasuerus but he died. Such a dignified and intelligent animal.”
“I remember,” said Jason. He’d loved Ahasuerus, but Parker had adored the cat, even more than his grandmother. “Why didn’t you get another cat, grandam?”
“You can’t just go out and buy a new kitten or puppy when you lose the one you’ve got. They’re not interchangeable, dear. And anyway I’m old. I don’t want them to grieve for me when I’m gone.”
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