The Sprig part 6 – a digression

Hilda herself had been born just before the start of the first world war and used to tell us stories about her naughty childhood in the twenties. One of her favourites was about the rabbit skins.

There was an old chap in the town who used to prepare rabbit skins and sell them to dressmakers, milliners and so on, to be made into gloves, stoles, hats etc. He encouraged local children to bring him skins and paid a penny for a fresh skin or thruppence for one that had been cleaned. Hilda and her sister Elsie and brother Robert used to be regular suppliers and earned a number of pennies, most of which went back to their mother to help the family income.

After a while, they twigged that the old chap hung the skins up in his shed and they worked out how to open the window from the outside. One would keep watch, one bend over for the third to hop up, in the window, grab a skin or two and clamber out again. Then they took the skin back to sell it. The old man was very pleased. What a good clean skin, well worth 3d. Bring him any number more like that. And so they did, the same skins over and again. Hilda did all the voices, alive with mischief. I don’t know if the poor old boy ever did find out that he’d been duped, but too much detail would have spoiled the tale.

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