Another lovely sentence

Another lovely sentence, found, last night, in The Children's Book:

Philip is learning, for the first time, how to ride a bicycle.

Philip set off and fell off and set off and fell off and set off and pedalled half-way round the clearing, and fell off, and set off and rode, a little wobbly, right round the clearing.

This time, when Byatt uses the "and this ... and that ..." construction, she misses out the comma, deliberately, so that you can see how quickly Philip is climbing up back his bicycle and attempting to ride again, without falling. But he keeps falling, of course, again and again, again ... till he manages to ride, succesfully, upright, for a little way, and then falls off, again.

Now, here, Byatt inserts a comma after clearing, to show us a delay in his falling down after riding upright, and another, in his getting up. Then no comma, when he rides, finally, well enough to stay upright. When he finally does get it right, though a little shakily, he rides triumphantly - and very rhythmically, when we feel the whirring of the R sounds in rode ... right round ... clearing. The repeat of clearing gives a sense of his riding round and round.


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