Next to a Dog: An Agatha Christie Short Story
‘Yes, Terry darling – it’s Missus come home.’
As the door opened, a white body precipitated itself upon the girl – an aged wire-haired terrier very shaggy as to coat and suspiciously bleary as to eyes. Joyce gathered him up in her arms and sat down on the floor.
‘Terry darling! Darling, darling Terry. Love your Missus, Terry; love your Missus a lot!’
And Terry obeyed, his eager tongue worked busily, he licked her face, her ears, her neck and all the time his stump of a tail wagged furiously.
‘Terry darling, what are we going to do? What’s going to become of us? Oh! Terry darling, I’m so tired.’
‘Now then, miss,’ said a tart voice behind her. ‘If you’ll give over hugging and kissing that dog, here’s a cup of nice hot tea for you.’
‘Oh! Mrs Barnes, how good of you.’
Joyce scrambled to her feet. Mrs Barnes was a big, formidable-looking woman. Beneath the exterior of a dragon she concealed an unexpectedly warm heart.
‘A cup of hot tea never did anyone any harm,’ enunciated Mrs Barnes, voicing the universal sentiment of her class.