It was clever of David, though, to have her tell him the story, for then she would sometimes forget that her little boy was not having his siesta. To show her that he was trying to keep up an interest he would now and then ask a question, as, for example, when she spoke of the honors the young man had won at college.
“Could he spit through his teeth?” David would inquire, and it was always a sad thing to him that this was not one of the young man’s accomplishments. A very disappointing chap, to be sure.
“Do you know, my little boy,” Mother would say in a strange, soft voice, “do you know that your eyes are as bright as his eyes used to be, and that—”
“It’s a nice story,” David would say courageously, and like as not, while Mother was still talking about the handsome young man with the mustache, her little boy would fall fast asleep.
It is good, David, that you do not hear the story that is hid away in the thinking places; it is good that you do not know the worn look which sometimes comes into Mother’s face and crowds from it all the pretty pinkness that you love to see. You will never know that other look which was often in Mother’s face before you came to nestle in her arms and frighten it away. You have done well, brave soldier-man, for now I am right sure she does not wonder any more why the day should have come when the one she had helped so much should have forgotten the help and been thankless for all the love that she had given him.
THE WORLD’S END
Sometimes, when David was working hard on his siesta, Mother would tell him that he was to whistle as soon as the Sand Man came. But even that doesn’t always help. You have to ask so many times to make sure that the Sand Man hasn’t come, and after you have been told repeatedly that you are not yet asleep it makes you discouraged. You know, too, that you mustn’t cheat; it’s not fair to whistle until you actually see the Sand Man.
Hardly anything is so wearing on a little boy as to wait. This is especially true of siesta-time, when there are always such a number of interesting things going on outside. Through the shutter’s chink the yellow sunshine comes squirting into the room—such amazing sunshine, just as it is on circus day! Only to think of what great events must be in progress while you and Mother lie here together in the darkened room, and toss hopelessly in the dreadful throes of trying to get through with your siesta!
One of the mean things about it is that neither side of the pillow has any cool spot. You turn it over once more and once more, and yet once more again, but it is no use. It is utterly impossible to cuddle down and obey orders and go to sleep like a brave soldier-man. The more you try it the more squirmy and itchy you feel; for at such a time one is usually fretted by the repeated ticklings of some bothersome fly. He will sneak along the edge of the pillow and rub his hands together in front of him, and then he’s ready. Down he swoops upon your nose, hitting it precisely in the same place where he lit before.