The use of indifference
He had used indifference against his mother for so long that he could adopt it with both ease and skill. He went to the sideboard and switched the wireless on.
‘Just as you like. You know how she met us. She met us all together and now she has invited us all together and John has accepted. If you think I ought not to go, then I shan’t. It won’t worry me if I offend her, and she’ll be leaving the district soon anyway.’
The wireless transmission came up. A band was playing some popular tune with a simple strong rhythm that he could enjoy; he was very insensitive to tone. He hummed the melody, out of key.
Mrs. Bates said: ‘Just what did she say in her letter – about inviting all of you?’
‘I can’t remember. Something about remembering when she met us all at the lake and hoping we would come to tea with her.’
He hummed another half dozen bars before she spoke again. ‘In that case you’d better go. But let them do the talking.’
‘I generally do,’ he said.