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Judy's Particular Adventure
Adventure means saying Yes, and being careless; children say Yes to everything and
are very careless indeed: even their No is usually a Yes, inverted or deferred. "I won't
play," parsed by a psychologist, means "I'll play when I'm ready." The adventurous spirit
accepts what offers regardless of consequences; he who hesitates and thinks is but a
Policeman who prevents adventure. Now everything offers itself to children, because
they rightly think that everything belongs to them. Life is conditionless, if only people
would let them accept it as it is. "Don't think; accept!" expresses the law of their swift
and fluid being. They act on it. They take everything they can--get. But it is the
Policeman who adds the "get," changing the whole significance of life with one ugly
Each of the children treasured an adventure of its very own; an adventure-in-chief, that
could not possibly have happened to anybody else in the world. These three survivals in
an age when education considers childhood a disease to be cured as hurriedly as
possible-- took their adventure the instant that it came, and each with a complete
assurance that it was unique. To no one else in the world could such a thing have
happened, least of all to the other two. Each took it characteristically, according to his or
her individual nature --Judy, with a sense of Romance called deathless; Tim, with a
taste for Poetic Drama, a dash of the supernatural in it; and Maria, with a magnificent
inactivity that ruled the world by waiting for things to happen, then claiming them as her
own. Her masterly instinct for repose ran no risk of failure from misdirected energy. And
to all three secrecy, of course, was essential: "Don't never tell the others, Uncle!
Promise faithfully!"
For to every adventure Uncle Felix acted as audience, atmosphere, and chorus. He
watched whatever happened--audience; believed in its reality--atmosphere; and
explained without explaining away--chorus. He had the unusual faculty of being ten
years young as well as forty years old, and a real adventure was not possible without
The secrecy, of course, was not preserved for long; sooner or later the glory must be
shared so that "the others" knew and envied. For only then was the joy complete, the
splendour properly fulfilled. And so the old tired world went round, and life grew more
and more wonderful every day. For children are an epitome of life--a self- creating
That week was a memorable one for several reasons. Daddy, overworked among his
sealing-wax, went for a change to Switzerland, taking Mother with him; Aunt Emily, in
her black silk dress that crackled with disapproval, went to Tunbridge Wells--an awful