(In all due Respect to their Little Angels)
Playing with children is a glorious thing; but the journalist in question has never understood why it is considered a soothing or idyllic one. It reminds him, not of watering little budding flowers, but of wrestling for hours with gigantic angels and devils.
Moral problems of the most monstrous complexity besiege him incessantly. He has to decide before the awful eyes of innocence, whether, when a sister has knocked down a brother’s brick, in revenge for the brother having taken two sweets out of his turn, it is endurable that the brother should retaliate by scribbling on the sister’s picture book, and whether such conduct does not justify the sister in blowing out the brother’s unlawfully lighted match. Just as he is solving this problem upon the principles of the highest morality, it occurs to him suddenly that he has not written his Saturday article; and that there is only about an hour to do it in . . . .
He sits down desperately; the messenger rings at the bell; the children drum on the door; the servants run up from time to time to say the messenger is getting bored; and the pencil staggers along, making the world a present of fifteen hundred unimportant words. Then the journalist sends off his copy and turns his attention to the enigma of whether a brother should commandeer a sister’s necklace because the sister pinched him at Littlehampton. That is how an article is written.