Holiday Reading

Hugh Walpole 

‘From that instant her doom was sealed. The children exchanged a glance of realisation. Jeremy smiled. The lesson was continued. What possessed Jeremy now? What possesses any child, naturally perhaps, of a kindly and even sentimental nature at the sight of something helpless and in its power? Is there any cruelty in after life like the cruelty of a small boy, and is there anything more powerful, more unreasoning, and more malicious than the calculating tortures that small children devise for those weaker than themselves? Jeremy was possessed with a new power.’

It was something almost abstract in its manifestations; it was something indecent, sinister, secret, foreign to his whole nature felt by him now for the first time, unanalysed, of course, but belonging, had he known it, to that world of which afterwards he was often to catch glimpses, that world of shining white faces in dark streets, of muffled cries from shuttered windows, of muttered exclamations, half caught, half understood. He was never again to be quite free from the neighbourhood of that half-world; he would never be quite sure of his dominance of it until he died.’ …

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