Walking into the cool formal entrance hall, Lady Dalhousie is waiting for me. Her twinkling dark eyes and genuine smile puts me at ease. She is wearing a stylish, pastel-coloured, summer morning dress. I comment on how lovely she looks and soon we are chatting about the latest fashions. Within minutes a two-tiered, ornately decorated, wooden trolley with brass handles is wheeled in. It has a silver tea service laid out. The white-uniformed servant stands to attention. Even his whitegloved hands patiently wait by his side, ready for action at the slightest command.
“Now, Maria. Is it English, Chinese, or Indian?”
I’m floored by this question. What on earth is she talking about?
“Tea, my dear. What type of tea would you like?”
Annoyingly, I feel my cheeks flushing with embarrassment. Thankfully, I manage to respond with, “Oh, whatever you are having. Grazie! I mean, thank you.”
“Oh, I just love the Italian language. Grahh-zie. Is that how you say it?”
I nod. I don’t want to correct her accent when she is being so kind.
The servant proffers an assortment of sandwiches and sweet delicacies; it is a display of culinary arts on a three-tiered silver dish. Everything looks delicious. But, I don’t want any food to drop on my dress or attach itself to my lips. I decide on a petite sandwich that can be swallowed in two dainty bites.
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