This week, I’m away so I thought I’d do a quick and easy (for me haha!) post: It’s a deleted scene from A Meeting With Murder: Miss Gascoigne Mysteries Book 1 which is one year old!!!!!!!
In this scene my heroine and amateur detective Dee Gascoigne is trying to teach a few words of French to a rather well-to-do lady, Meredith Prescott so that she can greet her guests in their own language. Meredith, however has horrible attitudes to people from other nations and doesn’t really see why she should bother…
‘If you like, I could teach you a few basic phrases. It’s actually quite easy to learn just a few words to welcome your visitors. Then you could feel that you’d at least tried to meet them halfway. You know, get things off to a good start.’
‘Oh I don’t know…’Meredith said, wrinkling her nose. ‘I mean, really… It seems an awful faff to go through for a bunch of foreigners.’
Dee said nothing. Whether her feelings were there in her expression or Meredith really was interested, she didn’t know. But after a moment, Meredith said,
‘Oh go on, then, if it really is that easy, I suppose a few words in French can’t hurt.’
‘What? Now?’ Dee queried.
‘Yes, why not. It’s pleasant enough sitting here, and we’ve got to talk about something, haven’t we? Go on, try me.’
‘All right.’ Dee thought for a second, then decided to start with the absolute basics.
‘Let’s start with an easy one. Bonjour. It literally means ‘good day’ but can be used at any time during the day to greet someone. Just think of it as a way of saying hello. So let’s try it. Bonjour.’ She beamed encouragingly at Meredith.
Meredith was immediately sulkier than a whole class of fourteen-year-olds. Yet it had been her idea, after all. Dee could feel her smile freezing on her lips as Meredith said, with no effort to copy the accent or tone at all, ‘Bon jaw.’
‘Not bad for a first attempt,’ Dee lied. ‘Not bad at all. Let’s try it again. Watch my lips as I say it and try to copy the sound. The J is a softer j than we usually use in English. Think of the sound of the second g in garage, or the g in the word menage, also a French word. More of a Bonjour. Bonjour.’ She emphasised the J in the word.
‘Bon jaw,’ Meredith repeated, exactly the same as before.
‘Nearly.’ Dee made an effort to sound bright and encouraging. It was too ridiculous that Meredith already looked cross and bored.
‘I thought that was perfectly fine,’ Meredith snapped. ‘What else?’
Dee decided that most French people would probably decipher ‘bon jaw’ so she said, ‘At the end of the day, as a greeting or as a way to say goodbye to your guests, one would say ‘bon soir’. Bon soir.’
‘Bon saw,’ Meredith immediately responded.
Through gritted teeth, Dee said, ‘Not bad. Let’s have another go. Think of how you say the word Soirée, another French word. Bon soir. Soir. Bon. Soir. Bon soir.’
‘Bon saw,’ said Meredith without any effort, and yawned.
It was all Dee could do not to roll her eyes. ‘Excellent,’ she lied, thinking, who am I kidding, she’ll never use anything I teach her anyway. She’d rather die than learn something useful. She decided to make one last sally before giving up entirely.
‘Now, you’ll probably want to introduce yourself. So you might say, ‘Je suis Mademoiselle Prescott’, that is to say, I am Miss Prescott. Or you could say, ‘Je m’appelle M’selle Meredith Prescott’, which means…’
‘Oh stop, stop, stop!’ Meredith was holding up a hand, then she pressed it to her temple, frowning as though her head was aching with the effort. ‘This is all going far too quickly. You must remember that I’m a complete beginner.’
‘Yes, of course, Meredith, but if you’ll just…’
‘No! I will not be badgered in this way. It’s all too much. You’ve got to go slowly. I thought you knew how to teach?’
‘Anyway,’ Meredith added, ‘As I’ve said before, these foreigners really ought to learn to speak proper English before they come to our country. It’s bad enough just having them here, and all the extra work that makes.’
Dee sighed. Clearly the lessons were at an end.
Don’t forget – book 2 in this series, A Wreath of Lilies is available now to pre-order (eBook only, sorry) and is released on November 10th in eBook, Paperback, Large Print Paperback and Hardback editions.