The fifth installment in the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard

‘I’m not saying that we shouldn’t explore all the possibilities. I just don’t think we should do it behind Rachel’s back.’

‘Archie, you sound as though you think I don’t mind about her.’

They were sitting on the bench by the tennis court where they had gone for some privacy – difficult to find in the overcrowded house.

‘Of course I don’t think that. You love her. We all do. What I meant was that it would be a good idea to iron out any of the disagreements before we talk to her. She’s exhausted – she doesn’t want to have to deal with a lot of bickering relations.’

‘What on earth do you mean by that?’

‘Come off it, Rupe. You know Hugh thinks that at all costs we should keep the house, and Edward thinks we should get rid of it. And, by the way, I’m not clear what you think.’

‘That’s because I haven’t made up my mind.’ He pulled out a battered packet of Gauloises and offered it before taking one himself. ‘I mean,’ he said, after a short silence while he tried to think what he did actually want, ‘it all depends on what Rachel wants. She won’t want the Regent’s Park house, that’s for sure. The Duchy hated it – said it was far too grand for her. This was her home, and Rachel may feel that as well. I really think it’s for her to decide. And the children all love it here.’

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