By Helen Dunmore
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Additional info for A Spell of Winter
She didn’t look at us. The hard eyes of the dog glared at me from the crook of her arm. I stared back, because I knew that a dog will always look away first. Then I nudged Rob. ‘Look,’ I whispered. ’ It was a toy. It looked so real that I thought that the lady had just had it clipped, but now I saw that the stiff tufts of fur were false. The dog’s head bobbled as the lady rocked it, but it didn’t really move. She handed her parasol to Father and he held it over her while she cradled the little toy dog and stroked its fur.
Theodore and Michael. They were planting young beech where Grandfather had had to take down an oak that was rotten to the heart. It might have been there a thousand years or more, Rob said. When it came down we’d count the rings, we said, but we never did, and it was soon sawn up and carted away for firewood. The Semple boys were twelve or thirteen then, a couple of years older than Rob. A short while ago they’d been children like us, but now they wore working clothes, like men. They stopped digging to look at the hare.
One glass before luncheon. One glass at teatime. ’ He ticked the glasses off on his fingers until there was only his thumb left. ‘Yes, sir,’ bobbed the maid. ‘Fetch it now, girl, fetch it now. No time like the present,’ said Dr Kenneth, and he watched the maid scuttle towards the house. His big meaty face turned on Father. He looked as if he had been half-cooked, then taken off the range. ‘Milk,’ he said. ‘Milk. ’ I squinted up my eyes to see if he was smiling, but he wasn’t. He took a watch out of his waistcoat pocket and held it in front of him.