He nodded, thought for a moment, put the dishtowel down again, pushed his feet into his boots and went out. He shut the door softly behind him. He didn’t want Dorcas to think he had slammed it.

Woodenly, her face as still as winter, Dorcas began the task of clearing the dishes and sweeping the floor. While the burnt pan soaked, she measured out the flour for the bread, and kneaded it like an automaton, punching it around on the board as if she hated it.

From the room across the passage she could hear the little sounds of the baby beginning to stir already.

Dorcas felt like a prisoner.