Pa used to say that any piece of history might be made into a tale: it was only a question of deciding where the tale began, and where it ended. That, he said, was all his skill. And perhaps, after all, the histories he dealt with were rather easy to sift like that, to divide up and classify - the great lives, the great works, each one of them neat and gleaming and complete, like metal letters in a box of type.
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