Crotchety Mrs. Stroud fixed her beady eyes on me as we walked by. I didnae have to look up to know she was glaring at me; I could feel it, burning through my skull. I knew better now than to match her glare. I kept my head down, watching my feet and mum’s skirts swish ahead of me, her freshly polished boots glinting whenever they peeked beneath the lace hem. I let her lead the way through toun.
We stopped at various shops, me holding the basket, and mum would drop in various parcels and guids. Mum would speak with the owners, coostomers, and other gossipers as we went through toun. I spoke very little and only when needed, with all the politeness I could muster. I kept my voice soft. A lady like mum would want. I donnae bother to remember anyone’s name. Some I knew through childhood, others I didnae care to learn. Connexions were mum’s concern. I knew she made most of them to help me appear better in standings—so the rumors would go away—but I cannae find