It is very scareful for a little boy when he feels himself grown to be such a criminal. Immense periods of time seem to be slipping away, but he doesn’t know at all whether he is getting to be really and truly a man, or whether he is getting littler and littler. There is always the fear of diminishing, because one would so like to be grown up, and when one is such a bad little boy, how can he expect ever to be grown up? David felt himself slipping and slipping. He was slipping back into three-years-old. From that he would go into two-years-old, and before very long he would be only one. He knew it was coming on. There was a tingling flush going down his back, a cold current, like ants with frozen feet. Maybe it was only perspiration, but how was a little boy to know that? He was gasping with excitement when he suddenly called out: “Here I am!”
The idea was that the Doctor should instantly seize him and save him from being dissolved into empty air. But no sooner had David called than he was overcome with shame. At first he was astonished that his voice should really be his voice. There was no change in it—not the slightest—and he now saw that he had only fooled himself. That is why he was ashamed. He was so ashamed that he began to cry.
That would not do at all. Fav-ver Doctor said it wouldn’t, and he was so distressed about it that he offered David the rare privilege of wearing his watch. At any other time the little boy would have been mightily set up over the honor, but at such a time as this no distinction of any sort was for him. He did not deserve it. He had disgraced himself too much for that, and he pushed the watch from him. He kicked his feet against the chair and rudely exclaimed:
“Don’t want your watch!”
In some ways Dr. Redfield was not different from most of us. So many years had passed since he was a little boy that he had forgotten that what appears to be only sullenness may in reality be something quite different. Perhaps if he had been more like his normal self instead of being a very tired and a very irritable doctor he would not have considered it necessary to regard David with the eye of stern discipline. But however that may be, the man pivoted suddenly upon his heel and marched out of the room, leaving the little boy alone to brood at his leisure upon the sad impropriety of being rude.
David wanted to go with the Doctor, but the man would have nothing to do with any little boy who cries without any reason for crying and is saucy besides. David could not go. David must sit still on that chair and must not get up.
“I don’t like you,” the child called out.
Then, as soon as the door was shut upon him, he became a very angry little boy. He pounced from his seat and began to walk heavily up and down the room. He stamped his feet; he shut his teeth together and he kicked the chair where he had been sitting. He had not been fairly dealt with, and now, as Mitch Horrigan would say, he was going to be just as rotten bad as ever he could.