They were his wife’s hens, not his, he would tell anyone who listened. She was far too soft, mollycoddling any that became ill, lame, out-of-sorts. It made him jolly angry, if he ever thought about it too deeply or for too long, this attention that she gave them but not him.
The new entrant teacher was her mother’s friend, Mrs Prendergast. Tall and loud, she wore two thick, long plaits that cracked through the air like whips when she moved suddenly. She moved suddenly a LOT. Along with her mother, Mrs Prendergast believed that children should be seen, but not heard. Tolerated. Just.