Harry and Allen left the keyhole and tip-toed down the hall to where their shoes were. Neither one said anything until they reached the foot of the curving staircase and sat down to put their shoes back on. Then the older one, who was eleven, spoke.

—I’m hungry, Harry said.

—We shouldn’t watch, Allen said.

—They shouldn’t do it, Harry said.

—That’s what they mean in school, Allen said. That’s the commandment they skip when they come to it.

Harry finished tying his shoes, rubbing them to remove white scuff-marks, and stood up.

—Don’t mind what they say in school, he said. Do you have any money?

—Mother wouldn’t give me any this morning, Allen said. What do you want it for?

—Ice cream, but we can’t get it until Mother comes down. Where’s Uncle Edward?

—He went to the library, Allen said.

—Let’s go to the kitchen, Harry said. Maybe Cook is out.

The cook turned when they came in, large and impatient, her face red against the white of her uniform.