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His grandfather was still shouting at him from the landing. Lord Kelso, he thought, not grandfather – already he resented the family relationship between them, such as it was. The old man seldom even spoke to him except when he caught Dorian at some childish infraction and went into a rage, as he had that morning.

Dorian grabbed a book from the book-case and sat down with his back against the large painted chest, hoping to read for a while. But he was still rather dizzy: Lord Kelso had boxed his ears before thrusting him back into the schoolroom. A tear surprised him by rolling down his cheek. He wiped it angrily and sat rigid, straining to listen.

At last the old man finished his tirade. Dorian was too young to find it strange, the way words alone could wound one; for him, this was the most obvious fact in the world – had always been so. He sat in his hiding place, too cold and too frightened to move, and hated his guardian with every nerve in his small body.

Even the servants hated their master. Dorian knew that well enough. They were always leaving, with or without references. Dorian despised them for doing so when he could not leave himself – he wouldn’t even be going away to school for a year or two – but when he could imagine what it might be like to have someone stay and be a friend to him.

It never occurred to him that another, humbler member of the household might suffer as badly as he did, or worse.