chapter  2
1 The child
Pages 17

Children can more readily abandon themselves to the joys, perhaps it is even

the ecstasy, of an amusement-park ride or the sight of the sea, compared with

adults, who find it virtually impossible to shake off the dripping worry of the mort-

gage payments. According to David Warburton, director of human psycho-

pharmacology at Reading University, children laugh, on average, 300 times a

day. By adulthood, this number plummets to 50. But, by the same, token, a child

will be more readily frightened by a creak on the stair, by someone with a white

sheet draped over his head, or by a train roaring into the station. Children expe-

rience emotions as strongly, perhaps even more strongly, than adults, but seem-

ingly, for less good reason. We may call them ‘crybabies’, not because of the

nature of the emotion itself, but because such strong feelings have been evoked

by such a feeble cause.