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by Hugh Walpole
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Tisn't life that matters! 'Tis the courage you bring to it ... this from old Frosted Moses in the warm corner by the door. There might have been an answer, but Dicky Tasset, the Town Idiot, filled in the pause with the tale that he was telling Mother Figgis. "And I ran-a mile or more with the stars dotted all over the ground for yer pickin', as yer might say...." A little boy, Peter Westcott, heard what old Frosted Moses had said, and turned it over in his mind. He was twelve years old, was short and thick-necked, and just now looked very small because he was perched on so high a chair. It was one of the four ancient chairs that Sam Figgis always kept in the great kitchen behind the taproom. He kept them there partly because they were so very old and partly because they fell in so pleasantly with the ancient colour and strength of the black smoky rafters.
The primrose path was, of course, open to Peter. He was popular enough, at the beginning of that Autumn term, to do anything, and, had he followed the "closed-eyes" policy of his predecessor, smiling pleasantly upon all crime and even gently with his own authority "lending a hand," all would have been well. There were boys with strangely simple names, simple for such criminals--Barton, Jerrard, Watson, West, Underbill--who were old-established hands at their own especial games, and they saw no reason at all for disturbance. "Young Westcott had better not come meddling here," they muttered darkly, having discerned already a tendency on his part to show disapproval.
About the Author
British writer SIR HUGH WALPOLE (1884-1941) was born in New Zealand and moved to England as a child. His works include novels, short stories, biographies, plays, and screenplays.
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