The House on the Hill Where Matilda Lived (Anytime Read-alouds Book 2)

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It did not seem enough to Peter. In fact he was now studying the six little books through his big horn-rimmed glasses not spectacles with more than a suggestion of anxiety. Peter was no financier; and the thought of adventuring his savings on the turbulent uncharted seas of finance filled his mind with terrors. Savings banks appealed to him because they were built solidly, of stone, and had immense iron gratings at windows and doors. And, too, you couldn't draw money without going to some definite personal trouble It is only fair to add that the books represented all he had or would ever have unless he could get more.

Nobody paid Peter a salary.

DOWN THE DRAIN! by Robert Munsch Read Aloud by Books Read Aloud For Children

No banker or attorney had a hand in taxing his income at the source. The Truffler might succeed and make him mildly rich. His last two plays had failed, you know. Plays usually failed. Eighty or ninety per cent, of them—yes, a good ninety! Theoretically, the seven thousand dollars should carry him two or three years. Practically, they might not carry him one.

For he couldn't possibly know in advance what he would do with them.

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Genius laughs at savings banks. Locked it with sudden swiftness and caution, for Hy Lowe just then burst in the outer door and dove, humming a one-step, into the bedroom. Peter, pocketing the keys carefully so that they would not jingle, put on a casual front and followed him there. Hy, still in overcoat and hat, was gazing with rapt eyes at a snap-shot of two girls. He laughed a little, self-consciously, at the sight of Peter and set the picture against the mirror on his side of the bureau.

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There were other pictures stuck about Hy's end of the mirror; all of girls and not all discreet. One of these, pushed aside to make room for the new one, fell to the floor.

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Hy let it lie. Peter leaned ever and peered at the snap-shot. He recognized the two girls as Betty Deane and Sue Wilde. Peter grunted. His gaze was centered not on Hy's friend Betty, but on the slim familiar figure at the right. Look here, Pete, I'm generous. We're going to cut it in half. I get Betty, you get Sue. That's your trouble, Pete; you take 'em seriously.

And believe me, it won't do! She irritates me. He came in with Sue. By the way, he wants to see you. Seems to have an idea he can interest you in a scheme he's got. Talked quite a lot about it. Peter did not hear all of this. At the mention of Zanin he got up suddenly and rushed off into the studio. Hy glanced after him; then hummed more softly, out of a new respect for Peter a hesitation waltz as he cut the new picture in half with the manicure scissors and put Sue on Peter's side of the bureau.

The Worm came in, dropped coat and hat on a chair and settled himself to his pipe and the evening paper. Peter, stretched on the couch, greeted him with a grunt. Hy appeared, in undress, and attacked the piano with half-suppressed exuberance. It was the Worm's settled habit to read straight through the paper without a word; then to stroll out to dinner, alone or with the other two, as it happened, either silent or making quietly casual remarks that you didn't particularly need to answer if you didn't feel like it.

He made no demands on you, the Worm. He wasn't trivial and gay, like Hy; or burning with inner ambitions and desires, like Peter.

On this occasion, however, he broke bounds. Slowly the paper, not half read, sank to his knees. He smoked up a pipeful thus.

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His sandy thoughtful face was sober. Met her outside the Parisian, and we had lunch together. She and I have had several talks. I can't place her.

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This was so unusual—from the Worm it amounted to an outburst! You know, so often, when these feminine professors of freedom talk to you how they over-emphasize the sex business—by the second quarter-hour you find yourself solemnly talking woman's complete life, rights of the unmarried mother, birth control; and after you've got away from the lady you can't for the life of you figure out how those topics ever got started, when likely as not you were thinking about your job or the war or Honus Wagner's batting slump.

You know. Back of it is the new Russianism they live and breathe—to know no right or wrong, trust your instincts, respond to your emotions, bow to your desires Well, now, here's Sue Wilde. She looks like a regular little radical.

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And acts it. Breaks away from her folks—lives with the regular bunch in the Village—takes up public dancing and acting—smokes her cigarettes—knows her Strindberg and Freud—yet Most of 'em aren't so. She's a real natural oasis in a desert of poseurs.

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Probably that's why I worry about her. But I do. It's the situation she has drifted into, I suppose.

Booklist (K-2 by Genre - Picture books) : NSW Premier's Reading Challenge

If she was really mature you'd let her look out for herself. It's the old he protective instinct in me, I suppose. The one thing on earth she would resent more than anything else. But this fellow Zanin He painstakingly made a smoke ring and sent it toward the tarnished brass hook on the window-frame. It missed. He tried again. Peter stirred uncomfortably, there on the couch. But she has talked her work and prospects. And the real story comes through. Just this afternoon since I left her, it has been piecing itself together.