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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.
time. I’m going to jump into the train the minute we get to Venice.” The boy’s face fell. “You are? I’m sorry. And Judy will be awfully sold.” “That’s very good of her—and of you. But you see—” “Oh, I can see that a solid fortnight of the lot of us is a good deal for anybody,” Terry acquiesced. “All the same, Judy and I did hope you’d stay in Venice for a day or two. We thought, you see, there were a good many things you could do for us.” Boyne continued to consider him thoughtfully. “I
ten.” “She’s had no time to learn any other, with six children to look after. But I suppose she’s fifteen or sixteen.” “Fifteen or sixteen!” Mrs. Sellars gave a little sigh. “Young enough to be my daughter.” It was on the tip of his tongue to say: “I wish she had been!” But he had an idea it might sound queerly, and instead he stretched out his hand and took back the letter. The gesture seemed to rouse her to a practical view of the question. “What are you going to do about it, dearest?”
argument. It seemed to come out of some other plane of experience, to be thrust at him from depths of pain and disillusionment that he had not yet begun to sound. “You see,” she pressed on, snatching at her opportunity, “if we could only get to Grandma Mervin’s, I believe she’d keep us. At any rate, she’d try to make mother see that we mustn’t be separated. I know she would, because in her letters to mother she always calls us ‘those poor children.’ She’s awfully old-fashioned, Grandma
companionship had given him during the Mediterranean voyage, but which he had enjoyed only in uncertain snatches since their arrival at Cortina, came back to him as soon as he had slipped his chair between Judith’s and Blanca’s at the lunch-table. He would not ascribe it to her having gone, but preferred to think it was because her going left him free to dispose of himself as he chose. And what he chose was, on the spot, to resume his half-fatherly attitude toward the group, and devote every
might put them irretrievably in the wrong—he had first had to help her decide what should be done with the other children. Once brought round to his view, she had immediately risen to the emergency, as she always did when practical matters were at stake. She and Boyne were agreed that it would be imprudent to leave the children at Cortina, where the Princess, or even Lady Wrench, might take advantage of their absence to effect a raid on the pension. It took a three days’ hunt to find a villa in a