‘Are these gloves all right?’

‘What? Where are my cufflinks?’

‘Second drawer, as always.’

‘No, they’re not.’

Emma appeared in the doorway. ‘At the back, behind the copies of Esquire you think I don’t know about.’

John sighed. ‘They belong to Algy, as you well know. I’m looking after them for him.’

‘You were looking after them in the bathroom for twenty minutes yesterday, darling. Anyway, these gloves. What do you think?’

‘They’re very red. Do people wear red gloves to dances?’

‘It’s not a dance. It’s a masked ball. And they match my dress. And, in fact, my mask.’

‘You’re not wearing a red dress.’ John had found his cufflinks and looked up at his wife for the first time. ‘It’s blue.’

It was Emma’s turn to sigh. ‘I’m wearing a coat. The dress is underneath. Put your glasses on.’

John found his glasses on top of the dresser. ‘So it is,’ he said. ‘I can’t wear these specs when I’ve got my mask on. I was trying to see how I’d cope without them.’

‘Not very well, obviously. I’d better drive.’

‘Okay, if you say so.’ He took off his glasses and put on his mask. Black. Made him look quite dashing, Emma considered. She shook her head. Too late for thoughts like that. Her mind was made up. The gloves were a nice touch. There’d be no fingerprints.

And Algy was waiting with the van.

She slipped on her red mask.

It hid her grin beautifully.