A Family Gathering

An awkward silence followed Claude’s toast.  As Minnie mouthed to the photographer to put the camera away, the guests absorbed Claude’s startling revelation.  They all knew that Claude was not like the other boys, but they were unprepared for his announcement that from this day forward he would be living as Miss Camilla Dubois.  Few around the table dared to make eye contact.  Uncle Harry began to methodically count the flowers in the wallpaper pattern.  Walter wondered if this meant he and Claude still had to share a room, and Father’s blood pressure threatened to break all past records. Edith and Martin contemplated the etiquette of leaving before dessert, while George and Teddy wished they hadn’t invited Claude to go camping.  Sarah, however, exchanged knowing smiles across the table with Lizzy, who, a fortnight earlier, had caught Claude inspecting Minnie’s trousseau with unusual interest.  “Please pass the peas!” chirped Lizzy.