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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #48

[The "Railway Children," Bobbie, Peter, and Phyllis, rescued a boy with a broken leg, and he is now laid up in their home.]

"'I say, Mother, why can't his grandfather pay for a nurse?' Peter suggested. 'That would be ripping. I expect the old boy's rolling in money. Grandfathers in books always are.'

"'Well, this one isn't in a book,' said Mother, 'So we mustn't expect him to roll much.'

"'I say,' said Peter musingly, 'Wouldn't it be jolly if we all were in a book and you were writing it? Then you could make all sorts of jolly things happen, and make Jim's legs get well all at once and be all right tomorrow, and Father come home soon and --'

"'Do you miss your Father very much?' Mother asked, rather coldly, Peter thought.

"'Awfully,' said Peter, briefly.

"Mother was enveloping and addressing the second letter.

"'You see,' Peter went on slowly, 'you see, it's not only him being Father, but now he's away there's no other man in the house but me -- that's why I want Jim to stay so frightfully much. Wouldn't you like to be writing that book with us all in it, Mother, and make Daddy come home soon?'

"Peter's mother put her arm round him suddenly, and hugged him in silence for a minute. Then she said:

"'Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right -- in the way that's best for us.'

"'Do you really believe that, Mother?' Peter asked quietly.

"'Yes,' she said, 'I do believe it -- almost always -- except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I can't believe it I know it's true -- and I try to believe it. You don't know how I try, Peter. Now take the letters to the post and don't let's be sad any more. Courage, courage! That's the finest of all the virtues! I dare say Jim will be here for two or three weeks yet.'"

-E. Nesbit, The Railway Children (1906), pp. 220-221

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