"I wondered if it would be possible to buy some underclothes and put them on, and then choose a frock and some stockings?"
"There may be a few cotton pairs left."
"I only want one pair."
"No real silk, of course, and certainly no lisle."
Miss Ranskill had heard the same tone of voice in her nursery days - "Not jam AND cake, Miss Nona; the very idea!" As she had done then, so she argued now.
"Well, there's a war on."
"A war, Madam. Naturally it is difficult to get exceptional articles."
"I'm sorry. I forgot."
This time raised eyebrows and tightened lips conveyed more sorrow than anger, but more contempt than both.
"You see, I haven't read a newspaper for over three years."