When the sisters returned home late on a Saturday night, the mother’s first question was always, ‘Have you been drinking?’
‘No, Mother,’ the eldest would reply.
‘No, Mother,’ the youngest would slur.
The mother would then turn to the spaniel, curled on a stool by the window, and say, ‘Isn’t she silly, she thinks we don’t know, doesn’t she? But we do know, don’t we? Yes we do!’
And the spaniel would rhythmically thump its tail against the carpet, appearing to agree.
This prompted the youngest daughter to add one more item to the list of grievances against her mother: ‘I hate it when she talks about me to the dog.’