**spoiler alert** "On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel. It was the on**spoiler alert** "On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel. It was the only living thing for miles. Just the baby, and some dining room chairs, and the tip of a ship disappearing into the ocean. There had been music in the dining hall, and it was music so loud and so good that nobody had noticed the water flooding in over the carpet. The violins went on sawing for some time after the screaming had begun. Sometimes the shriek of a passenger would duet with a high C. The baby was found wrapped for warmth in the musical score of a Beethoven symphony. It had drifted almost a mile from the ship, and was the last to be rescued. The man who lifted it into the rescue boat was a fellow passenger, and a scholar. It is a scholar's job to notice things. He noticed that it was a girl, with hair the color of lightning, and the smile of a shy person."
"She woke when they drew up in a street smelling of trees and horse dung. Sophie loved the house at first sight. The bricks were painted the brightest white in London, and shone even in the dark. The basement was used to store the overflow of books and paintings and several brands of spiders, and the roof belonged to the birds. Charles lived in the space between."
"This was the sort of woman who spoke in italics. You would be willing to lay bets that her hobby was organizing people."
"For her seventh birthday, Charles baked a chocolate cake. It was not an absolute success, because it had sagged in the middle, but Sophie declared loyally that that was her favorite kind of cake. 'Because,' she said, 'the dip leaves room for more icing. I like my icing to be extragavant.' 'I am glad to hear it,' said Charles. 'Although, the word is traditionally pronounced 'extravagant', I believe. Happy probably seventh birthday, dear heart. How about a little birthday Shakespeare?' Sophie had a habit of breaking plates, and so they had been eating their cake off the front cover of A Midsummer Night's Dream."
"Sophie didn't entirely understand him. Charles ate little, and slept rarely, and he did not smile as often as other people. But he had kindness where other people had lungs, and politeness in his fingertips."
"Miss Eliot did not approve of Charles, nor of Sophie. She disliked Charles's carelessness with money, and his lateness at dinner. She disliked Sophie's watching, listening face. 'It's not natural, in a little girl!' She hated their joint habit of writing each other notes on the wallpaper in the hall. 'It's not normal' she said, scribbling on her notepad. 'It's not healthy!' 'On the contrary,' said Charles. 'The more words in a house, the better, Miss Eliot.'"
"It was so beautiful that it was difficult for her to breathe. If music can shine, Sophie thought, this music shone. It was like all the voices in all the choirs in the city rolled into a single melody. Her chest felt oddly swollen."
"Only weak thinkers do not love the sky."
"'Yes! It's like prison.' She gripped him tightly. 'It's like they've forgotten everything important, isn't it? I mean, forgotten that things like cats and dancing exist.' 'I know. Exactly. Let's rattle the corridors, shall we? Shall we stomp?' 'Yes!' Sophie said, and Brave, she told herself. You have the face of a warrior."
"She turned a cartwheel. It was the most defiant cartwheel ever to have been turned on a Paris rooftop."
"From the street, she reckoned she could smell only a few meters' worth of smells. From up here, all the bakers and all the pet shops of Paris mixed their scents. The result was something thick and peculiar and delicious. From the roof, the moon looks twice as large, three times as beautiful. The moon, seen from the rooftops, is a thing worth spending time on. Sophie imagined her mother, up here, amongst the stars. Mothers belong on rooftops."
"'You look,' said Charles, when they met at the front door, 'as though you're about to sing the solo in the church choir.' 'Do I?' She knotted the bottom of her braid and tucked it under her hat. 'That's what I was hoping.' 'You do. You look as though you own a minimum of one pony. You look nothing like yourself. Well done.'"
"The pack was full of parcels wrapped in grease-proof paper. Matteo dipped his face in and sniffed, then lifted out the first parcel. It was bread rolls, four of them, soft in the middle and dusted with flour at the top. They were still warm from the oven, and they smelled of blue skies. The bread had been spread by someone with strong opinions about butter--it was as thick as the first joint of Sophie's thumb. 'I always used to think,' said Sophie, 'that if love had a smell, it would smell like hot bread.'"
"'Of course I have salt! I'm a rooftopper, Sophie, not a savage.'"
"'What happens when rooftoppers grow up?' 'Oh!' said Matteo. 'I thought you were going to ask about toilets.' Gerard said, 'Mostly they go down to the ground, but they still lead wildish sort of lives. It is easier to be a wildish sort of adult than a child.'"
"She had never felt less afraid. Perhaps, she thought, that's what love does. It's not there to make you feel special. It's to make you brave. It was like a ration pack in the desert, she thought, like a box of matches in a dark wood. Love and courage, thought Sophie--two words for the same thing. You didn't need the person to be there with you, even, perhaps. Just alive, somewhere. It was what her mother had always been. A place to put down her heart. A resting stop to recover her breath. A set of stars and maps."
"He saw three girls standing, unblinking, in the night air. Two unconscious boys lat at their feet. Sophie whispered, 'Do not mess with a mother-hunter. Do not mess with rooftoppers.' She whispered, 'Do not underestimate children. Do not underestimate girls.'"