THE LOST CAUSE
David had a suspicion. He did not know it was that, but that is what it was. He suspected that Mother thought he was a good little boy, and he suspected that she thought Mitchell Horrigan was a bad little boy. Perhaps Mother had a suspicion, too; she might have suspected that it was Mitch who had put a certain notion into David’s head—a notion which had to do with pants. Only you must not call them pants; they are “trouvers.”
But it doesn’t really matter in the least what they are called. Mitch had them. He also had the measles once. David did not know whether it was the measles part or the pants part that made Mitch a bad little boy. All David knew about it was that if he invited Mitch into the yard to climb trees and give swimming lessons in the high grass, it usually happened that Mother could think of some important business for her little boy to do in the house. It was surprising how many important matters there were for David to do in the house every time Mitch came into the yard to play. She might want to show him something, and perhaps it would be a turn-over that she wanted to show him, a delicious little half-grown pie stuffed with strawberries or with cherries.
If Mitch were waiting out under the trees, the toothsome bit of pastry was always a very peculiar kind. Mother believed in generosity, but generosity with limitations. Strawberry turn-over was not good for Mitch. Mother was positive that it was not good for him. That seemed a little singular to David, for he had never noticed anything wrong with Mitch. It does not seem credible that a boy who owns a real Indian bow ‘n’ arrow, which shoots so high he can knock the eye out of an angel with it, should yet be so foolish as to have a bad stomach.
David had never seen any of the one-eyed angels that Mitch had knocked down out of heaven with his Indian bow ‘n’ arrow. Mitch was not the kind to show all of his treasures. He didn’t even show his bow ‘n’ arrow. He kept it hid, so that if the police ever found out about it they could not get it away from him. If they wanted to arrest him for having it, that would be all right, but they should not get hold of his Indian bow ‘n’ arrow.
The thing you liked about Mitch was that he was so reasonable. One’s faith in him would never be shaken unless one were to try his recipe for getting trouvers. In theory it was a sound recipe. Mitch, who had reached trouvers and understood the mightiness of the achievement, could vouch for the sure result of his prescription. It was guaranteed to cure the dress-habit in seven days. At first, though, Mitch would not tell how the great honor of pants had been bestowed upon him. He was then too important even to say, “Hello, kid!” For a time he did not deign to notice anybody, and when he did notice anybody it was only to pretend that David was nothing but a little girl.