I stood at the top of the stairs in a cold sweat. The rumble of genteel conversation below frightened me more than a pack of snapping dogs. Hounds I could quiet, but mine were secure behind an iron gate so as not to disturb the guests.
bedecked girls flowed down the steps, sanguine despite the cacophonous
swirl, or perhaps because of it. We had been plumped, plucked and
primped. Taught to dance, play, flirt, we were admonished above all to
My sisters were too young to understand that this was not a party. It was a sale.