Treasons and Strategems
Towards evening the women harp on the state of Sarah’s roses and the inevitable road works and the delays which make their schedules rather more hectic than less. The details are lost amid the uneven songs of the pigeons, the beat of wings and scrape of claw on slate. The women loiter in front of the house of musical instruments, next but one both from my own house and the corner. If you happen to be the sort of person who looks into a stranger’s windows, you would see clarinets, oboes, recorders, all standing neatly on the shelves in the front parlour, the woodwinds bracketed by cloth-bound books and other things the names of which I do not know. On warm afternoons you can hear a woman’s voice singing, sweet and sure, more tuneful than the pigeons; there is also the sound of something like a harpsichord, but it may just be a piano with the memory of happier days. This evening, though, there are only the pigeons, and the women, talking.