Looking at the cake on the silver tray, Peggy remembered the beautiful cakes and confections that Auntie Nano and Lena used to make – and she longed again for the kitchen of Market Lane.
‘Peggy, Mrs O’Connor, look!’ Young Simon was standing at the kitchen door with a little puppy squirming in his arms. ‘He’s the best present I ever saw. Isn’t Roxanne lucky? Aunt Melissa gave him to her.’
‘He’s an angel. Look, Peggy, isn’t he lovely?’ joked Mrs O’Connor.
A shiver of fear passed through Peggy the minute she saw the dog. With a burst of energy he bounced out of young Simon’s arms and began to scamper around the kitchen, exploring every nook and cranny.
Peggy stepped back near the scullery. She tried to control the shakes that were tingling through her. Years ago, when she was only seven, a pack of dogs, wild and starving, had attacked her, and since then she had never lost her fear of dogs no matter what they were like. She just couldn’t stand them being near her. The puppy stood panting with excitement, his tail wagging and his long tongue out, staring at her, almost touching her feet.
‘Go away! Get lost!’ she muttered.
‘Bonaparte! Good dog!’ Roxanne, looking more gorgeous than ever, suddenly appeared in the kitchen. She came to a halt right in front of Peggy.
‘Isn’t he a beautiful dog?’ announced Roxanne.
Peggy was so scared of the little creature, she could barely stutter, ‘He’s grand, Miss.’
Roxanne bent down and scooped him up.
‘Come and pet him, then.’ The older girl stared at Peggy.
She knows, thought Peggy – she can read my mind! Peggy tried to put out her hand and force herself to touch the shiny brown and white coat. She just couldn’t do it.
‘Are you scared of a little bit of a thing like Bonaparte?’ jeered Roxanne.
Peggy felt like pulling the other girl’s curls as she looked into the smug face.
‘No, it’s not that, Miss, it’s just that my hands are greasy from the pots,’ she announced, inspired.
Bored at last, Roxanne turned her attention to the others.
Peggy stood rigid and still until both the dog and his mistress had gone back upstairs. Only then, to everyone’s surprise, did the tears seep out of her. She tried to explain her fear but nobody