One Monday afternoon towards the end of April my father asked me to take some shoes which he had mended to a house on the other side of the town. They were for a Colonel Bellowes who was very particular.
I found the house and rang the bell at the front door. The Colonel opened it, stuck out a very red face and said, “Go round to the tradesmen’s entrance—go to the back door.” Then he slammed the door shut.
I felt inclined to throw the shoes into the middle of his flower-bed. But I thought my father might be angry, so I didn’t. I went round to the back door, and there the Colonel’s wife met me and took the shoes from me. She looked a timid little woman and had her hands all over flour as though she were making bread. She seemed to be terribly afraid of her husband whom I could still hear stumping round the house somewhere, grunting indignantly because I had come to the front door. Then she asked me in a whisper if I would have a bun and a glass of milk. And I said, “Yes, please.” After I had eaten the bun and milk, I thanked the Colonel’s wife and came away. Then I thought that before I went home I would go and see if the Doctor had come back yet. I had been to his house once already that morning. But I thought I’d just like to go and take another look. My squirrel wasn’t getting any better and I was beginning to be worried about him.
So I turned into the Oxenthorpe Road and started off towards the Doctor’s house. On the way I noticed that the sky was clouding over and that it looked as though it might rain.
I reached the gate and found it still locked. I felt very discouraged. I had been coming here every day for a week now. The dog, Jip, came to the gate and wagged his tail as usual, and then sat down and watched me closely to see that I didn’t get in.
I began to fear that my squirrel would die before the Doctor came back. I turned away sadly, went down the steps on to the road and turned towards home again.