I can cry at pretty much anything (I was never good, but became far, far worse once I had the children.) My family are now very used to my welling up at emotional moments in films, and they all turn round expectantly at particularly mushy moments, whilst I gulp and try (and usually fail) to give them the satisfaction of seeing me cry. Again. When I read Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate, I so sympathised with Linda, who is endlessly made to cry by being taunted about the match by her tougher siblings:
- 'A little, houseless match, it has no roof, no thatch,
It lies alone, it makes no moan, that little, houseless match.'
My absolute prime weepy moment isn't actually a pony book at all: it's E Nesbitt's The Railway Children. Even typing it is enough. It's the "Daddy, my Daddy," bit at the end.
But pony books do their bit too to add to the dampness. I have great difficulty reading Black Beauty when he meets Ginger again, and then the cart with Ginger's body in it goes past: "The head hung out of the cart tail..." - I shall spare you the rest of the quotation.
John Steinbeck's The Red Pony I am completely incapable of reading in a single sitting.
Pamela MacGregor Morris's Lucky Purchase has me in floods, as does Veronica Westlake's Ten Pound Pony: "They stood and stared at each other for a long time. We stared too, and I think our mouths must have been open. It seemed as if something had broken somewhere and time was standing still..."