The Duke is standing there, hands thrust awkwardly into the jacket of his customary grey suit, the Duchess at his side in twinset and pearls. ‘My dear Titania, it’s delightful to see you again,’ he says, shaking Tania’s hand firmly. ‘It must have been, what, ten years? How is your mother? And Mr Mukherjee, delighted to meet you. Welcome to Corineus House.’
He doesn’t sound delighted. In fact his voice sounds strangulated, as if he’s swallowing marbles, but Stephen’s heard the man and his imitators enough times on TV to know that this is more or less normal.
Stephen exchanges platitudes and a handshake with the Duchess, then says, ‘We bring good wishes, sir, from the Circle and from the High King.’
‘Delighted to hear it,’ grimaces the Duke. ‘Won’t you come inside?’
– Trojans, pp108, 111-12