They always spoke in English to each other; it was

a matter of principle with them, although they must have

felt much more at home in their native German, its

idiom packed with idiosyncratic meaning for them.  But they banished

that language, too proud to use it since they themselves

had been banished from its precincts.  I myself, an English

child growing up in England, never thought of my grandmother

as anything but foreign.  My grandfather Karl’s accent was so

impenetrable that it was sometimes impossible to understand what he

was saying (but then I did not understand him anyway).


Paraphrases from the short story “Two Muses” by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.