“But won’t the boght millish be afraid to be left alone?” she asked.
I said I shouldn’t, and she kissed me and told me to knock at the wall if I wanted anything. And then, with her husband’s arm about her waist, the good soul left me to myself.
I don’t know how I knew, but I did know that that house was a home of love. I don’t know how I knew, but I did know, that that sweet woman, who had been the daughter of a well-to-do man, had chosen the doctor out of all the men in the world when he was only a medical student fresh from Germany or Switzerland. I don’t know how I knew, but I did know, that leaving father and mother and a sheltered home she had followed her young husband when he first came to Ellan without friends or connections, and though poor then and poor still, she had never regretted it. I don’t know how I knew, but I did know, that all this was the opposite of what had happened to my own dear mother, who having everything yet had nothing, while this good creature having nothing yet had all.
When I awoke next morning the sun was shining, and, after my hair had been brushed smooth over my forehead, I was sitting up in bed, eating for breakfast the smallest of bantam eggs with the smallest of silver spoons, when the door opened with a bang and a small figure tumbled into my room.
It was a boy, two years older than myself. He wore a grey Norfolk jacket and knickerbockers, but the peculiarity of his dress was a white felt hat of enormous size, which, being soiled and turned down in the brim, and having a hole in the crown with a crop of his brown hair sticking through it, gave him the appearance of a damaged mushroom.
Except that on entering he tipped up his head so that I saw his face, which was far from beautiful and yet had two big blue eyes—as blue as the bluest sea—he took no notice of my presence, but tossed a somersault in the middle of the floor, screwed his legs over the back of a chair, vaulted over a table and finally stood on his hands with his legs against the wall opposite to my bed, and his inverted countenance close to the carpet.
In this position, in which he was clearly making a point of remaining as long as possible, while his face grew very red, we held our first conversation. I had hitherto sat propped up as quiet as a mouse, but now I said:
“Little boy, what’s your name?”
“Mart,” was the answer.
“Where do you come from?”
I cannot remember that this intelligence astonished me, for when the inverted face had become scarlet, and the legs went down and the head came up, and my visitor tossed several somersaults over the end of my bed, to the danger of my breakfast tray, and then, without a word more, tumbled out of the room, I was still watching in astonishment.
I did not know at that time that these were the ways which since the beginning of the world have always been employed by savages and boys when they desire to commend themselves to the female of their kind, so that when the doctor’s wife came smiling upstairs I asked her if the little boy who had been to see me was not quite well.