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Pickle Me This

July 8, 2011

She could see that you might consume babies

“‘Why did the nuns expel you?” Kyril asked, venturing a little further, his head bent in an attitude so suggestive that Aunt Irene felt that, if he had been a stranger and addressing her, she would have emptied the orange pekoe over him. Sometimes she was so afraid for him with his reckless offensiveness that she felt sympathy for Focus’ [the cat] mother who, finding that the world had intruded and that strange human adults had fondled her kittens, had eaten the better part of the litter and was starting on Focus when he was rescued by Aunt Irene’s friend and thereafter raised on tinned milk dealt out by an old fountain-pen tube. She could see that you might consume babies when they were sweet enough to eat. At least you would know where they were. She worried about Kyril all the time, going about as he did in a world of fire and water, sudden concussions, cold steel and heights and depths, and taking so little care.” —The 27th Kingdom, Alice Thomas Ellis

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