Jack Lambert pinned her tie in place and examined her reflection with unusual attention. Was her new brooch too obvious? Or not obvious enough? She tweaked the little pink enamelled trinket until it was sitting straight, then glanced at the clock on her bureau and realised she was going to be late for Abendessen.
She went bolting down the main stairs (strictly forbidden to the girls), and almost knocked Mr Denny off his feet. The force of the collision sent the green carnation in his lapel tumbling to the ground. Jack hastened to pick it up, stammering apologies, but surprisingly the temperamental music master didn’t scold.
Instead, his eyes rested on the little brooch, and he nodded in understanding.
“It was well met, little maid,” he said. “You shall give me back my dear flower’ – he tucked it back into the buttonhole of his brown jacket- ‘And I shall return the favour by correcting your little brooch.’
He deftly unpinned the pink triangle holding Jack’s tie in place, and re-pinned it with the point facing downwards.
‘So. Wear it with pride, and may it bring you happiness.’
‘That’s a pretty necklace you have there, Nell,’ Miss Annersley commented as the staff sat in their airy salon that evening, enjoying coffee and the cakes that Nell Wilson had brought over from Welsen. ‘New, is it?’
Miss Wilson put a hand to the stylised double-axe pendant she wore. ‘No, not at all. It ‘s a very old gift from a very old friend. Con Stewart, as was.
‘Your English!’ Miss Annersley said automatically, helping herself to another éclair.
‘We are a particularly ornamented bunch today,’ Miss Wilson continued. ‘Kathy’s bracelet is particularly beautiful.’
Kathy Ferrars blushed, and tried to hide her rainbow beaded bracelet under her saucer. Nancy Wilmot came to her rescue.
‘Oh, rainbows are quite the thing nowadays,’ she said blandly. ‘I ordered a pair of comfortable shoes for the summer, and they came with a free gift.'
‘A gift is free by definition,’ Miss Annersley began, but her strictures went unheard over the exclamations of amusement as Nancy stuck out a slender foot, clad in a comfortable black shoe with blazing neon laces.
Freudesheim lay wrapped in darkness, except for a soft light burning in the kitchen. Inside, Rösli and Anna sat at the big scrubbed table; Rösli with a pile of darning, Anna with a half knitted sock.
‘Zist schön, der Regenbogen,’ Rösli said, admiring the brightly coloured heel, which contrasted with the black foot of the sock. ‘It is for the dear Charles, nicht wahr?’
‘The gnädige Frau and the Herr Dokter will not approve.’ Rösli said sadly,
‘Let them disapprove. Der arme Junge will know that some in this house at least love him, whatever choices he makes.’
‘Wirklich,’ Rösli agreed. She jabbed her needle rather viciously into the collar of Jack’s pyjama jacket and threw it aside. ‘Zur Holle mit die Flickarbeit! Give me some of your yarn, Anna. I think every member of this family needs a pair of these socks. Perhaps it will remind them that they should be proud of all their children, not just those who conform to Kinder, Küche, Kirche.’