Edward suspects his Mama is mad. Every afternoon they withdraw to the parlour overlooking the garden—Edward shoulder to shoulder with the pianoforte—as they jostle next to chairs arrayed for guests. No one presents calling cards at our door anymore. Papa has left for the City ‘on business.’ The servants, departed.
Mama sits, gazing at my baby brother, Ernest. “Do you think he looks a little pallid today?”
I nod sagely, “Yes, Mama. A little.”
Mama reaches over with her rouge to rub more colour into Ernest’s flaccid cheeks.
The vicar is still striving to give him a Christian burial.