No, indeed; David would not have a drum.
“Or a sword?” asked the Doctor.
“No, thanks,” the words came with husky politeness.
The cup was the thing for him; it would please Mother. She would be so glad about the cup!
Here, again, was disappointment. She didn’t seem pleased with it—not nearly so pleased as she should have been. But never mind, little boy; every generous heart is quick to forget the unselfish kindness that is in it, and you yourself will not be slow to forget this foolish sacrifice you have made for love of one who has made many a sacrifice for you. She has made them, little boy, in love, and forgotten them in love, and that, David, is the beautiful thing in loving.
When David is an early bird it is great fun to show Mother what a sluggard she is. He calls to her to let her know it is getting-up time, and then she is so amazed! She cannot understand how it is possible for her little boy to get awake almost as soon as the robins do. Sometimes she asks if he is sure he is awake, and he tells her he is sure of it, and then she believes him.
Only this morning she did not ask that, and this morning there was no smile in her eyes. A strange intentness had taken all the summer look out of her face, and there were no kisses on her lips; for he had troubled her with that repeated demand of his to be supplied with a father.
“Whose boy,” she asked hesitatingly, “whose boy are you?”
David returned her steadfast gaze with a queer, impish wisdom. He sat up in bed and fixed his eyes upon her.
“Whose boy?” he slowly repeated. “Why, I’m fav-ver’s boy.”
“Have you a father?” asked the woman.
“If you get one for me I have.”
“David,” she said, more serious than was usual with her, “if you had one I should want him to look like you.... Here, little boy, here, in your face I see your father.”
The woman had moulded her cool hands to David’s smooth, soft cheeks, and was looking wistfully into the eyes of her little boy. But abruptly he struggled free from her; he slipped to the floor, mounted on a chair in front of the chiffonier and peeped excitedly into the mirror. A long time he looked at the tousle-headed reflection that looked earnestly back at him. He frowned, and the boy in the glass frowned, too. He was a great disappointment, that boy; he wasn’t the teeniest bit like any father that ever was. He was only a child in a white nighty.
David faced about; he got down off the chair, and he turned his accusing eyes upon Mother. She had fooled her little boy; she had told him a wrong story, and it was woful disillusionment.
“You cannot see him, David,” she said, “because you have no picture of him in your heart.”
Well, then, did Mother have such a picture? If she did, why could she not show him that picture? And please, Mother, where did she keep that heart where the picture was?