One of the recreations of us children was walking along the tops of the tall walls that surrounded our huge gardens. Juliet and I were better at it than Antonia.
Sometimes if there was a door in the wall one would have to clamber across and sometimes the coping on the top of the wall was loose. It was quite a dangerous business.
A by-product was that sometimes we found nests where the bantams had laid, and would take eggs back, to general appreciation.
One day Antonia decided that she must get over her aversion to scaling the high walls. Armed with a basket to pick up eggs that might lie along the way, she climbed up a ladder and gingerly began her progress along the top of the wall where it passed the kitchen.
Soon she was delighted to discover a nest of eggs. She filled her basket with eggs, took one step more, and fell headlong from the top of the wall into a huge pile of soot and crushing beneath her the basket of eggs.
It was a catastrophe for Antonia who was black with soot which stuck to her all the closer because she was covered from head to foot with sticky egg yolk and there was also the red of blood because she’d grazed herself in falling.
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