A propos of nothing, really, a beautiful painting, the sitter dignified but cautious.
The Maid - George Lambert, 1915
The Art Gallery of New South Wales
When you are under my roof, I will look after you and I know you'll help me when I ask, and ask I will. But when friends move a used coffee cup to the kitchen or rummage in my kitchen drawers for a melamine serving spoon when I had every intention of using the Henning Koppel or ask to help with the dishes at midnight after a dinner, I'm dealing either with misplaced bossiness or misplaced guilt.
The Spectator is not a mag I regularly read (I’m an old leftie) but one might nearly say that the Dear Mary column comes up with enough good ideas to warrant a subscription.
She suggests saying, as you usher friends out the door,
"Oh please, leave it, it's fine. We have a lovely old couple who come by in the morning."
(And we'll get up on the morrow, when we can, have a cup of tea or two, a massive glass of water and start - loving the opportunity to relive the evening, pick at the wilted salad, and finish off the chocolates.)