The Little White Bird; or adventures in...

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Sometimes thelittle boy who calls me father brings me an invitation from his mother:"I shall be so pleased if you will come and see me," and I alwaysreply in some such words as these: "Dear madam, I decline." And ifDavid asks why I decline, I explain that it is because I have no desire tomeet the woman.
"Come this time, father," heurged lately, "for it is her birthday, and she is twenty-six,"which is so great an age to David, that I think he fears she cannot last muchlonger.
"Twenty-six, is she, David?"I replied. "Tell her I said she looks more."
I had my delicious dream that night. Idreamt that I too was twenty-six, which was a long time ago, and that I tooktrain to a place called my home, whose whereabouts I see not in my wakinghours, and when I alighted at the station a dear lost love was waiting forme, and we went away together. She met me in no ecstasy of emotion, nor was Isurprised to find her there; it was as if we had been married for years andparted for a day. I like to think that I gave her some of the things tocarry.
Were I to tell my delightful dream toDavid's mother, to whom I have never in my life addressed one word, she woulddroop her head and raise it bravely, to imply that I make her very sad butvery proud, and she would be wishful to lend me her absurd little pockethandkerchief. And then, had I the heart, I might make a disclosure that wouldstartle her, for it is not the face of David's mother that I see in mydreams.

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