Cross cakes are shaped like swollen crosses.
In spite of looking like dog biscuits or bones, these cakes are regularly devoured by café-goers. Knobbled and dry and outsize, they look as if they could sail through the air into the jaws of big bouncing dogs.
Virginia savours the thought of them. They are so dead plain. She looks at the pleasing, robust shapes on the thick, white, railway china plate. When she does eat, you notice how high and long and bumpy, how fine her profile. It is the profile of one who lived in another more religious, a merrier, age: a northern world. The body a dancing, shrugging, slowing spindle.
She clasps the cross cake. Now she looks like a dog-governess. In another life her sleeves might have been wider, open and falling like a Venetian doge's.