To eat at the Doctor’s table, and wholly without the assistance of a high chair—that was one of the events; another was a hair-cut, and the third—Everybody, salute! David is in trouvers!
He and his big friend both admired them immensely, and it was in the little shabby, out-at-the-elbow doctor’s office that David had been helped to put them on. After he had strutted for a while his Fav-ver said to him:—
“What fun, David; what fun you must have had in running away!”
“Oh,” the little boy replied, “I didn’t go far. I got scart and hurried back to Mother.”
The Doctor looked wryly at his guest. He knew David had not gone home after running away.
“Did you see Mother after you went back?” he asked.
“No, I didn’t see her.”
“But you are sure you went back?”
“It didn’t feel back,” said David.
“You couldn’t have been mistaken about going back?”
“In what part of town were you when I found you on the fence-post?”
“Home,” said David.
“Why were you crying?”
“I was feeling bad.”
“And why was that?”
“I was scart.”
“Everything was so mixed up.”
“You ran away, though, didn’t you? And you did not see Mother after you went back?”
David nodded, and the Doctor got to his feet with a suddenness that knocked over his chair.
“Good gracious!” he exclaimed, consulting his watch. “It’s been four hours since you saw Mother, and she may think something has happened to you. She may think you have been run over by horses—that you have been hurt and can never come home to her any more.”
What was to be done about it? Dr. Redfield wanted to know that; David wanted to know that. The man crinkled up his forehead: he rose and began to walk the floor, and David’s eyes did not leave his face.
“What are we to do?” the Doctor asked, and by and by he added, “If you see a policeman I hope you will tell him you are not lost and that you did not think of making so much trouble when you ran away. But what about Mother? Maybe she, too, has been looking everywhere for you.”
The Doctor sat down and wiped his face, and then got up and began to walk about once more. You could see that he was very much distressed, but not more distressed than David. In sad perplexity they stared at each other. After everything had grown very still in the room, the little boy suddenly exclaimed in an awed voice:—
“Let’s go home!”
“Well said!” the Doctor called out, and David flew for his hat; they started for the stairs, the little boy clinging desperately to the man’s hand.
“Wait!” the Doctor exclaimed. They had stopped abruptly before reaching the steps. “Why don’t we telephone? If we do that, it won’t keep Mother waiting so long.”
It was now that David’s eyes began to gleam. He clapped his hands; he laughed and he danced. He was going to put Mother’s heart at rest about him. She would not be troubled any more. She would know he was safe.