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Diana Athill

  • The extension of power offered by a pony, the ease and speed of movement, the tapping of unsuspected courage, the satisfaction of collaboration with another creature and of controlling it in order to improve the collaboration, the joy of fussing over it — of loving it — these, from the age of about eight to sixteen were the most completely realised delights of my life.

  • Never once in my twenties and thirties did I hope for a child, or feel more than a vague good-will towards anyone else's child. When other women yearned towards babies I kept silent to hide my own feelings, and as for toddlers, I didn't go so far as to blame them for being what they were, but I did feel that they were tedious to have around except in very small doses.

  • The difference between being and non-being is both so abrupt and so vast that it remains shocking even though it happens to every living thing that is, was, or ever will be.

Diana Athill, English writer, editor