Doris came home from the market upset. She stormed through the front door and passed Charles on the sofa and into the kitchen.
Her husband of forty years closed his newspaper and folded it neatly. He rose and followed his wife into the kitchen. She was angrily putting things away. Charles went to kiss her on the cheek.
She glared at him. “Don’t you dare.”
“What’s wrong, Sweet’ems?” he asked.
Sweet’ems was in no mood to be Sweet’ems. “Don’t Sweet’ems me.”
This was not good. Not good at all. Charles was concerned. He had not seen his wife this upset since the Big Shoe Expedition of 1896.
Doris glared at Charles. “Fine mess,” she mumbled. “That Henrietta Dumpling and her snide remarks.”
Uh-oh, Charles knew there was going to be trouble. He just had to figure out how to escape the firing squad.
Doris finished her work in the kitchen, then headed to the bedroom, mumbling.
Charles went back to the living room and his newspaper. This Serbian thing was getting serious. Austria-Hungary declaring war. That was not good. Soon the Russians, then the Germans. Before you knew it, France would be in the thick of it and he’d be called up to serve in the General Staff. He did not have a good feeling about this. He remembered the last time France and German were at loggerheads.
Doris came out of the bedroom. “Does this or does this hat not look lovely?” It was the blue hat with the fruit in Doris’ hand.
Charles remembered how much the hat had cost. “Of course, it’s beautiful.”
“That Henrietta Dumpling just laughed at it.”
Charles sat the newspaper down and went over and hugged his wife. “What are you upset for? Henrietta Dumpling has absolutely no sense of style at all.”
“She laughed at my hat. My beautiful hat.”
To calm his wife down, he gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse. “Tell you what. We’re going out and buy you a new hat. Then you can wear it to the opera Saturday. I have tickets to the Puccini and Rosetta Arpin is singing the lead.”
Doris kissed her husband.“You know how much I love Rosetta Arpin. And a new hat. You are the best. Tonight you will get a special treat.”
“You have to promise one thing.”
She had that look on her face like she was not sure she was going to like the promise. But then again it was for a new hat. And the opera.
“No more mention of Henrietta Dumpling. You promise?”
“She is always at the market.”
“That she is. We’re just going to have to come up with a strategy. After all, she has crossed the Rubicon. Insulting my Sweet’ums’ hat. How dare her?”