READING ACTIVITIES. 4. Read the first part of the story

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  1. Additional reading
  2. AFTER-READING ACTIVITIES
  3. AFTER-READING ACTIVITIES
  4. AFTER-READING ACTIVITIES
  5. AFTER-READING ACTIVITIES
  6. As you can see it varies very much in spelling and structure from the English you are reading, but you certainly recognize it as English of Caxton to whom we owe so much.
  7. Communication activities.
  8. Communication activities.
  9. Communication activities.
  10. Communication activities.
  11. Do you think the narrator is going to commit a crime ? Go on reading and you will find out.
  12. Finish reading the first half of the story. Prepare to explain what exactly is happening to the teacher.

4. Read the first part of the story. Pay attention to the sentence There must be more money ! Why is it repeated several times ? What impression does it evoke ?

There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them. They looked at her coldly, as if they were finding fault with her. And hurriedly she felt she must cover up some fault in herself. Yet what it was that she must cover up she never knew. Nevertheless, when her children were present, she always felt the centre of her heart go hard. This troubled her, and in her manner she was all the more gentle and anxious for her children, as if she loved them very much. Only she herself knew that at the centre of her heart was
a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody. Everybody else said of her: She is such a good mother. She adores her children. Only she herself, and her children themselves, know it was not so.

They read it in each others eyes.

There were a boy and two little girls. They lived in a pleasant house, with a garden, and they had discreet servants, and felt themselves superior to anyone in the neighborhood. Although they lived in style, they felt always an anxiety in the house. There was never enough money. The mother had a small income, and the father had a small income, but not nearly enough for the social position which they had to keep up.

The father went into town to some office. But though he had good prospects, these prospects never materialized. There was always the grinding sense of the shortage of money, though the style was always kept up.

At last the mother said: I will see if I can make something.

But she did not know where to begin. She racked her brains, and tried this thing and the other, but could not find anything successful. The failure made deep lines come into her face. Her children were growing up, they would have to go to school. There must be more money, there must be more money. The father, who was always very handsome and expensive in his tastes, seemed as if he never would be able to do anything worth doing. And the mother, who had a great belief in herself, did not succeed any better, and her tastes were just as expensive.

And so the house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase: There must be more money! There must be more money! The children could hear it all the time, though nobody said it aloud. They heard it at Christmas, when the expensive and splendid toys filled the nursery. Behind the shining modern rocking-horse, behind the smart dolls house,
a voice would start whispering: There must be more money ! There must be more money ! And the children would stop playing, to listen for a moment. They would look into each others eyes, to see if they had all heard. And each one saw in the eyes of the other two that they too had heard. There must be more money ! There must be more money !

It came whispering from the springs of the still swaying rocking-horse, and even the horse, bending his wooden, champing head, heard it. The big doll, sitting so pink and smirking in her new pram, could hear it quite plainly, and seemed to be smirking all the more self-consciously because of it. The foolish puppy, too, that took the place of the teddy-bear, he was looking so extraordinarily foolish for no other reason but that he heard the secret whisper all over the house: There must be more money !

Yet nobody ever said it aloud. The whisper was everywhere, and therefore no one spoke it. Just as no one ever says: We are breathing ! in spite of the fact that breath is coming and going all the time.

Mother, said the boy Paul one day, why dont we keep a car of our own ? Why do we always use uncles, or else a taxi ?

Because were the poor members of the family, said the mother.

But why are we, mother ?

Well I suppose, she said slowly and bitterly, its because your father had no luck.

The boy was silent for some time.

Is luck money, mother ? he asked, rather timidly.

No, Paul. Not quite. Its what causes you to have money.

Oh ! said Paul vaguely. 1 thought when Uncle Oscar said filthy tucker, it meant money.

Filthy lucre does mean money, said the mother. But its lucre, not luck.

Oh ! said the boy. Then what is luck, mother ?

Its what causes you to have money. If youre lucky you have money. Thats why its better to be born lucky than rich. If youre rich, you may lose your money. But if youre lucky, you will always get more money.

Oh ! Will you ? And is father not lucky ?

Very unlucky, I should say, she said bitterly.

The boy watched her with unsure eyes.

Why ? he asked.

I dont know. Nobody ever knows why one person is lucky and another unlucky.

Dont they ? Nobody at all ? Does nobody know ?

Perhaps God. But He never tells.

He ought to, then. And arent you lucky either, mother ?

I cant be, if I married an unlucky husband.

But by yourself, arent you ?

I used to think I was, before I married. Now I think 1 am very unlucky indeed.

Why ?

Well Never mind ! Perhaps Im not really, she said.

The child looked at her to see if she meant it. But he saw, by the lines of her mouth, that she was only trying to hide something from him.

Well, anyhow, he said stoutly, Im a lucky person.

Why ? said his mother, with a sudden laugh.

He stared at her. He didnt even know why he had said it.

God told me, he asserted, brazening it out.

I hope He did, dear ! she said, again with a laugh, but rather bitter.

He did, mother !

Excellent ! said the mother, using one of her husbands exclamations.

The boy saw she did not believe him ; or rather, that she paid no attention to his assertion. This angered him somewhere, and made him want to compel her attention.

He went off by himself, vaguely, in a childish way, seeking for the clue to luck. Absorbed, taking no heed of other people, he went about with a sort of stealth, seeking inwardly for luck. He wanted luck, he wanted it, he wanted it. When the two girls were playing dolls in the nursery, he would sit on his big rocking-horse, charging madly into space, with a frenzy that made the little girls peer at him uneasily. Wildly the horse careered, the waving dark hair of the boy tossed, his eyes had a strange glare in them. The little girls dared not speak to him.

When he had ridden to the end of his mad little journey, he climbed down and stood in front of his rocking-horse, staring fixedly into its lowered face. Its red mouth was slightly open, its big eye was wide and glassy-bright.

Now ! he would silently command the snorting steed. Now, take me to where there is luck ! Now take me !

And he would slash the horse on the neck with the little whip he had asked Uncle Oscar for. He knew the horse could take him to where there was luck, if only he forced it. So he would mount again and start on his furious ride, hoping at last to get there. He knew he could get there.

Youll break your horse, Paul ! said the nurse.

Hes always riding like that ! I wish hed leave off ! said his elder sister Joan.

But he only glared down on them in silence. Nurse gave him up. She could make nothing of him. Anyhow, he was growing beyond her.

One day his mother and his Uncle Oscar came in when he was on one of his furious rides. He did not speak to them.

Hallo, you young jockey ! Riding a winner ? said his uncle.

Arent you growing too big for a rocking-horse ? Youre not a very little boy any longer, you know, said his mother. But Paul only gave a blue glare from his big, rather close-set eyes. He would speak to nobody when he was in full tilt. His mother watched him with an anxious expression, on her face.

At last he suddenly stopped forcing his horse into the mechanical gallop and slid down.

Well, I got there ! he announced fiercely, his blue eyes still flaring, and his sturdy long legs straddling apart.

Where did you get to ? asked his mother.

Where I wanted to go, he flared back at her.

Thats right, son ! said Uncle Oscar. Dont you stop till you get there. Whats the horses name ?

He doesnt have a name, said the boy.

Gets on without all right ? asked the uncle.

Well, he has different names. He was called Sansovino last week.

Sansovino, eh ? Won the Ascot. How did you know this name ?

He always talks about horse-races with Bassett, said Joan.

The uncle was delighted to find that his small nephew was posted with all the racing news. Bassett, the young gardener, who had been wounded in the left foot in the war and had got his present job through Oscar Cresswell, whose batman he had been, was a perfect blade of the turf. He lived in the racing events, and the small boy lived with him.

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