— Have you voltaired, Lionel?
— No, but I’ve twemlowed like billy-o!
— Don’t be crude, Lionel, especially at the breakfast table!
— Twemlow tells a cracking story. Le Salon de Mme Anueil…
— Stop it at once! Tosh and flim-flam! What about you, Jocasta? What are you reading?
— I’m reading Robespierre on the duties of government, Mama.
— Oh how exciting! Are you enjoying it?
— Well yes, up to a point.
— Oh dear! Is there some obstacle, some entrave, to your reading pleasure?
— There’s just too much Montesquieu in his thinking, Mama. It rankles.
— That’s certainly true, Jocasta. Well observed! He was steeped in Montesquieu, and lacked the largesse to admit it.
— You agree with her about everything!
— That’s not true, Lionel, and you know it. We differ sharply on the Council of Trent, for instance, and on the centrality of la tendresse in human affaires.
— We don’t disagree on that, Mama. Only our paths diverge…
— Well put, Jocasta! More chocolat?
— I hate that chocolate. Makes me puke.
— Stop it, Lionel, at once! You’re just like your father!
— Where is Father, by the way? Why does he never come home?