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A bestseller when it was first published, The Children is a comic, bittersweet novel about the misadventures of a bachelor and a band of precocious children. The seven Wheater children, stepbrothers and stepsisters grown weary of being shuttled from parent to parent are eager for their parents' latest reconciliation to last. A chance meeting between the children and the solitary 46-year old Martin Boyne leads to a series of unforgettable encounters.
Judith; how absurd—” “Why absurd? Why shouldn’t you be here with a lady? Vous êtes encore très bien, mon cher . . .” She drew her deep lids half shut, and slanted an insinuating glance at him. “Don’t talk like a manicure, child. As a matter of fact, I have an old friend here who wants very much to see you, and who kindly suggested—” “An old lady-friend?” “Yes.” “As old as Scopy?” “No; probably not as old as your mother, even. I only meant—” “But if she’s younger than mother, how can you
the sense of peace flowed in on him from those great fastnesses of sun and solitude, with which the little low-ceilinged room, its books and flowers, the bit of needle-work in the armchair, the half-written letter on the desk, had the humble kinship of quietness and continuity. “I’d forgotten that anything had any meaning,” he thought to himself as he let the spell of the place weave its noiseless net about him. “Martin—but how tired you look!” She was on the threshold, their hands and lips
for a walk.” Mrs. Sellars fell silent again. He saw the faint lines of perplexity weaving their net over her face, and reflected that when a woman is no longer young she can preserve her air of freshness only in the intervals of feeling. “It’s too bad,” he thought, vexed with himself for having upset the delicate balance of her serenity. But now she was smiling again, a little painfully. “Looking at her—looking at her how?” “Well—as I’ve told you.” The smile persisted. “I certainly didn’t see
made audible. “I don’t know that it’s quite fair to him to tell you,” she added, with one of her old-fashioned impulses of reserve. It was Boyne’s turn to find no answer. For some time he sat gazing into the summer darkness without speaking. “Marry him? Marry Dobree—you?” “You see you were right: he does want to get married,” she softly bantered. “It was what he came for—to ask me. I’d no idea . . . And now he’s going away . . . he leaves to-morrow,” she added, with a faint sigh in which
control their fate. And meanwhile—? Well, he could only mark time; thank heaven it was still his to mark! The Lido season had not yet reached its climax, and till it declined and fell he was free to suppose that its devotees would linger on, hypnotized. As between taking steps for an immediate divorce, and figuring to the last in the daily round of entertainment, Boyne felt sure that not one of the persons concerned would hesitate. They could settle questions of business afterward; and it was