from
Dodger
by
Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

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Dodger

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Dodger

Copyright © 2012 by Terry and Lyn Pratchett

Chapter Five He had learned at an early age how to hang about the back doors of houses on the swell streets, and also—and this was important—to get known as a spritely lad. He had realized that if you were an urchin, then it might help to treat it as a vocation and get really good at it; if you wanted to be a successful urchin you needed to study how to urch. It was as simple as that. And if you are going to urch, then you had to be something like an actor. You had to know how to be chatty to everybody—the butlers and the cooks; the housemaids; even the coachmen—and in short become the cheerful chappie, always a card, known to everybody. It was an act and he was the star. It wasn’t a path to fame and fortune, but it certainly wasn’t the road to Tyburn Tree and the long drop.
Dodger, who had the eye for this sort of thing, watched the families and watched their faces and watched how they spoke to one another, and sometimes it seemed to him that although the man was the master, which was of course only right and proper, if you watched and listened, you would see that their marriage was like a barge on the river, with the wife being the wind that told the captain which way the barge would sail.
[...] the naughty ladies might give you a farthing for setting a gentleman’s footsteps in the right direction. As he grew older, he realized that some people would say that was, in fact, the wrong direction; there were two ways of looking at the world, but only one when you are starving.
Chapter Six Unhappiness was a state of mind generally alien to him. Who had the time to be unhappy, after all? He was often pissed off, fed up, even angry, but these were just clouds in the sky; sooner or later they passed. They never lasted long. But as he walked aimlessly away from the Mayhews’, it seemed that he was dragging other people’s worries with him.
Chapter Ten “Mmm, don’t I just know that onto the world that is people paint the world that they would like. Therefore they like to see dragons slain, and where there are gaps, public imagination will fill the void. No blame attaches.”
Chapter Eleven “Money makes people rich; it is a fallacy to think it makes them better, or even that it makes them worse. People are what they do, and what they leave behind.”

Topic:

Money

Chapter Twelve

“Of course, the lords and elected members debate the issues of the day in Parliament itself, but I strongly suspect that here in London the actual outcomes have a lot to do with the things that people say to other people over a drink. The process of ratifying what they have decided among themselves may be a variant of mmm what is known as proportional representation, but on the whole it all seems to work, if somewhat mmm erratically.”

He warmed to his subject. “What I really like about the English is that they don’t have theories. No Englishman would ever have said ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Although possibly he might have said, ‘I think, therefore I am, I think.’ The world can have too much order, alas.”

“Oh yes, indeed, you are kind, very kind. I don’t know about loving; we shall see. I have had what I believed was love, but it was an untrue thing, what I think is called a forgery, a bad coin, and not what I thought it was.” She hesitated. “What I thought of as a shining sixpence proved to be a farthing, as you would say. But I have found that kindness lasts a lot longer than love, because my mother always said that kindness was love in disguise.”

text checked (see note) Jan 2014

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