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PAGE 2

The Truth About Home Rails
by [?]

“Like a house?”

“Well, something like that. This chair, for instance,” and I put my hand on her chair, “is firm because you can’t shake it. You see, it’s quite—- Hallo, what’s that?”

“Oh, you bad Uncle, you’ve knocked the castor off again,” cried Margery, greatly excited at the incident.

“This is too much,” I said bitterly. “Even the furniture is against me.”

“Go on explaining,” said Margery, rocking herself in the now wobbly chair.

I decided to leave “firm.” It is not an easy word to explain at the best of times, and when everything you touch goes and breaks itself it becomes perfectly impossible.

“Well, so much for that,” I said. “And now we come to ‘rails.’ You know what rails are?”

“Like I’ve got in the nursery?”

This was splendid. I had forgotten these for the moment.

“Exactly. The rails your train goes on. Well then, ‘Home Rails’ would be rails at home.”

“Well, I’ve got them at home,” said Margery in surprise. “I couldn’t have them anywhere else.”

“Quite so. Then ‘Home Rails Firm’ would mean that–er–home rails were–er–firm.”

“But mine aren’t, because they wobble. You know they do.”

“Yes, but—-“

“Well, why do they say ‘Home Rails Firm’ when they mean ‘Home Rails Wobble’?”

“Ah, that’s just it. The point is that when they say ‘Home Rails Firm,’ they don’t mean that the rails themselves are firm. In fact, they don’t mean at all what you think they mean. They mean something quite different.”

“What do they mean?”

“I am just going to explain,” I said stiffly.

. . . . .

“Or perhaps I had better put it this way,” I said ten minutes later. “Supposing—- Oh, Margery, it is difficult to explain.”

“I must know,” said Margery.

Why do you want to know so badly?”

“I want to know a million million times more than anything else in the whole world.”

“Why?”

“So as I can tell Angela,” said Margery.

I plunged into my explanation again. Angela is three, and I can quite see how important it is that she should be sound on the question.