"Thanks, Lizzy. I don't mean to be twitchy, it's just that - "
"Dennis." She interrupted.
"Am I correct in thinking that, if you were to try to explain why talk of the war upsets you, you would have to talk about the war?"
"And that you would therefore be made upset by it?"
"Ah. Also yes."
"So, if we are to have a nice, civil conversation about more pleasant matters, we should be making an effort to do so?"
"In that case," she said, "tell me why you're interested in the Asheton family history."
He didn't say anything at first, because as she made this statement, she'd reached a finger into her glass of gin, then tilted her head back and drawn the wet finger down the length of her neck, leaving a trail of glistening gin from just below her right ear down to the crest of her cleavage. She lowered her head again and then met his stare with a warm gaze of her own.
"Perfume is so dear these days, what with the war on the continent and all. And I never went in for that French stuff anyway."
MacDonald's throat seemed to have closed up.
"Dennis? The Ashetons?"
"Ah. Right. The Ashetons."