The Ghost

TherewascomparativecalmintheWormwoodhouseholdforaboutaweekaftertheSuperglueepisode.TheexperiencehadclearlychastenedMr.Wormwoodandheseemedtemporarilytohavelosthistasteforboastingandbullying.

Thensuddenlyhestruckagain.Perhapshehadhadabaddayatthegarageandhadnotsoldenoughcrummysecond-handcars.Therearemanythingsthatmakeamanirritablewhenhearriveshomefromworkintheeveningandasensiblewifewillusuallynoticethestorm-signalsandwillleavehimaloneuntilhesimmersdown.

WhenMr.Wormwoodarrivedbackfromthegaragethateveninghisfacewasasdarkasathundercloudandsomebodywasclearlyforthehigh-jumpprettysoon.Hiswiferecognisedthesignsimmediatelyandmadeherselfscarce.Hethenstrodeintotheliving-room.Matildahappenedtobecurledupinanarm-chairinthecorner,totallyabsorbedinabook.Mr.Wormwoodswitchedonthetelevision.Thescreenlitup.Theprogrammeblared.Mr.WormwoodglaredatMatilda.Shehadn’tmoved.Shehadsomehowtrainedherselfbynowtoblockherearstotheghastlysoundofthedreadedbox.Shekeptrightonreading,andforsomereasonthisinfuriatedthefather.Perhapshisangerwasintensifiedbecausehesawhergettingpleasurefromsomethingthatwasbeyondhisreach.

"Don’tyoueverstopreading?"hesnappedather."Oh,hellodaddy,"shesaidpleasantly."Didyouhaveagoodday?"

"Whatisthistrash?"hesaid,snatchingthebookfromherhands.

"Itisn’ttrash,daddy,it’slovely.It’scalledTheRedPony.

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