When elder brothers insisted on their rights with undue harshness, or when the grown-up people descended from Olympus with a tiresome tale of broken furniture and torn clothes, the groundlings of the schoolroom went into retreat. In summer-time this was an easy matter; once fairly escaped into the garden, any climbable tree or shady shrub provided us with a hermitage. There was a hollow tree-stump full of exciting insects and pleasant earthy smells that never failed us, or, for wet days, the tool-shed, with its armoury of weapons with which, in imagination, we would repel the attacks of hostile forces. But in the game that was our childhood, the garden was out of bounds in winter-time, and we had to seek other lairs. Behind the schoolroom piano there was a three-cornered refuge that served very well for momentary sulks or sudden alarms. It was possible to lie in ambush there, at peace with our grievances, until life took a turn for the better and tempted us forth again into the active world.
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- Richard Middleton
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