Reflecting upon all this, David became a very quiet little boy. There seemed to be nothing interesting for him to do. He had no appetite for supper, and in his face was the look of one who dreams of such mighty things as trouvers, and a hair-cut, and a brand-new knife. And when, at last, it came time to kiss Mother good-night, he turned appealing eyes upon her, and asked with trembling lips:
“Why don’t I never have no fav-ver?”
RUE AND ROSEMARY
They are not easy to take, siestas aren’t. They are the word for going to sleep in the daytime when you would rather not. Sometimes you have to take medicine with them, and nearly always you feel that you must have a drink of milk. It is so easy to discover that you are thirsty, and besides, it usually gives you a chance to stay awake a little while longer. Frequently you find that you don’t care as much for the milk as you thought you did, but in one way there is always a satisfaction in it. If you have a looking-glass, you can see the white mustache the drink has left on your lip. Another satisfaction is that if Mother forgets to bring your milk in the mug you like best, you can send her right back for it.
If David wants to be particularly polite he sometimes asks Mother to tell him her story about the young man with the mustache. She has one that is tremendous dull because there are so many thinking places in it. “And then—and then—” Mother will say, and after that the story doesn’t get on worth anything. The worst about it is that it always takes such a long while for her to reach the part which tells of the time when the young man started to raise a mustache.
“How did he start?” David never fails to ask.
“By not shaving his lip.”
It is now that David feels of his white lip with the tip of his red tongue and then stoutly declares:
“I have not shaved my lip.”
“It was brown, like your hair,” says Mother, “and when it was about half-grown it began to curl up at the ends. The boys made fun of it, but it was very beautiful and ever so soft and fine.”
“Truly, was it?” asks David, and then something blooms pink in Mother’s cheeks. That is the one interesting thing about her story, and up to that point he can always stand her narrative very well; for he is always watching for the pretty pinkness. But when that is gone, his interest goes too. It seems very ordinary to him that this young man should have studied mechanics and become a great engineer and invented things, and made discoveries.
Now, if he had ever been shipwrecked, or if he had ever been eaten up by bears, or if he had fought Indians, or done some other notable thing with a scare in it, why, that would be worth talking about. But why tell so much about a young man who had done none of these things? Why speak of the way she had encouraged him and helped him and studied with him? You can see for yourself that it was a very stupid tale.