'I'm sorry, Mr Stevens,' Miss Kenton said behind mein an entirely new voice, as though she had just been jolted from a dream, 'I don't understand you.' The as I turned to her, she went on: 'As I recall, you thought it was only right and proper that Ruth and Sarah be sent packing. You were positively cheerful about it.'
'Now really, Miss Kenton, that is quite incorrect and unfair. The whole matter caused me great concern, great concern indeed. It is hardly the sort of thing I like to see happen in this house.'
'Then why, Mr Stevens, did you not tell me so at the time?'
I gave a laugh, but for a moment was rather at a loss for an answer. Before I could formulate one, Miss Kenton put down her sewing and said:
'Do you realise, Mr Stevens, how much it would have meant to me if you had thought to share your feelings last year? You knew how upset I was when my girls were dismissed. Do you realise how much it would have helped me? Why, Mr Stevens, why, why, why do you always have to pretend?'
The remains of the day
The remains of the day, Kazuo Ishiguro