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Daphne du Maurier

“Roger left the cricket stumps and they went into the drawing room. Grandpapa, at the first suggestion of reading aloud, had disappeared, taking Patch with him. Grandmama had cleared away the tea. She found her spectacles and the book. It was Black Beauty. Grandmama kept no modern children's books, and this made common ground for the three of them. She read the terrible chapter where the stable lad lets Beauty get overheated and gives him a cold drink and does not put on his blanket. The story was suited to the day. Even Roger listened entranced. And Deborah, watching her grandmother's calm face and hearing her careful voice reading the sentences, thought how strange it was that Grandmama could turn herself into Beauty with such ease. She was a horse, suffering there with pneumonia in the stable, being saved by the wise coachman.

After the reading, cricket was anticlimax, but Deborah must keep her bargain. She kept thinking of Black Beauty writing the book. It showed how good the story was, Grandmama said, because no child had ever yet questioned the practical side of it, or posed the picture of a horse with a pen in its hoof.

"A modern horse would have a typewriter," thought Deborah, and she began to bowl to Roger, smiling to herself as she did so because of the twentieth-century Beauty clacking with both hoofs at a machine. ("The Pool")”


Daphne du Maurier, Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories
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Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories by Daphne du Maurier
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