She’s one of those soppy girls, riddled from head to foot with whimsy. She holds the view that the stars are God’s daisy chain, that rabbits are gnomes in attendance on the Fairy Queen, and that every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born, which, as we know, is not the case. She’s a drooper.

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Pongo shuddered, accordingly, and in addition to shuddering uttered a sharp quack of anguish such as might have proceeded from some duck which, sauntering in a reverie beside a duck-pond, had inadvertently stubbed its toe on a broken soda-water bottle.

The only thing that prevented a father’s love from faltering was the fact that there was in his possession a photograph of himself at the same early age, in which he, too, looked like a homicidal fried egg.