Yet that look determined her. She clenched her little teeth, drew the shawl about her, and set off running up the hill.
Soon the run dwindled to a walk, the walk to a crawl, and the crawl to a halt. Her breath was coming painfully, and her heart pattered against her side like the beatings of an imprisoned bird. Again her gray guardian looked up, encouraging her forward.
"Keep close, lad," she whispered, starting forward afresh. And the old dog ranged up beside her, shoving into her skirt, as though to let her feel his presence.
So they reached the top of the hill; and the house stood before them, grim, unfriendly.
The girl's face was now quite white, yet set; the resemblance to her father was plain to see. With lips compressed and breath quick-coming, she crossed the threshold, treading softly as though in a house of the dead. There she paused and lifted a warning finger at her companion, bidding him halt without; then she turned to the door on the left of the entrance and tapped.
She listened, her head buried in the shawl, close to the wood panelling. There was no answer; she could only hear the drumming of her heart.
She knocked again. From within came the scraping of a chair cautiously shoved back, followed by a deep-mouthed cavernous growl.
Her heart stood still, but she turned the handle and entered, leaving a crack open behind.