Such grand theories! My governess, a stern young thing, took
great pains to instruct me in the ways of music and joy. I was an ugly child, prone to Goethe, loath to comb my hair. How I hated her milky skin and berry-bright cheeks, her long fingers stroking me awake from nightmares under the eiderdown. . . . The snow-crusted tangle of Tchaikovsky's beard grew up around the chair as we rocked. Our cuckoo was frozen at twelve. The dachshunds humped furiously. Far off from Papa's study I heard the sound of pages turning. What day is it that means the endless passing of flowers? By the firelight, a black dog pried its sleeping eye open, not wanting to give up the dark, not knowing what else to look for.