"Nell Wilson's bringing hers when she comes back in September, but we'll have to make some kind of provision for the others," Madge Bettany mused as she poured the coffee.
"Hmm," Her husband absentmindedly reviewed a file of case notes as he reached across the breakfast table for another roll. "What's that, dear?"
"Clubs," Madge said.
Jem looked at her, utterly bewildered. "What do you mean, clubs?"
"We'll need some extra clubs," Madge said patiently.
"What do you mean, extra clubs? They've got Hobbies Club, haven't they, and Guides? Isn't that enough for them?"
"Hobbies Club is for the girls, my dear, not the staff. And I don't think you can really describe Guides as a club."
"Well, what is it then?"
Madge waved the question away. "Anyway, I'm not talking about that kind of club. As you'd know if you'd've been listening to what I've been saying for the last five minutes."
The expression on Jem's face wavered for a moment between frustration and penitence, before finally settling on the latter. "Sorry, my love. I'm just a bit distracted by the new cases we've got at the moment." He reached for her hand, and she nodded, understanding. "So, what kind of club were you talking about?"
"Golf clubs, of course."
"For whom?" Vague echoes of what Madge had been saying were starting to surface in Jem's mind, and his voice became wary.
"To lend to the staff at the school."
"Mr Denny, you mean? And Herr Anserl?"
"Of course, if they want to borrow them. And Miss Annersley, and Mademoiselle, and Miss Stewart, and Miss Leslie, and Miss Nalder, and all the rest of the staff. Both male and female," Madge said, determinedly.
Jem drew in his breath, squinted a little, and peered over the breakfast table, as if, Madge thought somewhat uneasily, he'd suddenly become rather short-sighted.
"But - "
Madge raised her eyebrows, challenging him to finish the sentence he was about to utter.
"But - women can't play -" He stopped himself just in time. "Golf clubs, you say?" he said, rather unsteadily, after a moment had passed. "For the staff at the school?"
"For the women, as well as the men?"
Madge nodded again.
"To play golf with?"
Madge nodded a third time.
"Right. Yes. Right. Erm. Yes. Erm, well, I'll certainly look into that...though," Jem avoided his wife's eye. "I'm not sure the other chaps will approve, you know..." As Madge made a peculiar noise, somewhere between a cough and a tut, Jem reconsidered the end of that sentence. "...but, of course, I'll ignore any protests they make."
"Thank you, dear. Now, have a good day at work, won't you?" And stooping to give her husband a kiss, Madge headed off to the nursery to check on the children.