45. CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE
"Yes, but I can't show you how, for it is done when we don't see."
Demi felt his back, as if expecting to find it like that of
the watch, and then gravely remarked, "I dess Dod does it when
A careful explanation followed, to which he listened so attentively
that his anxious grandmother said, "My dear, do you think it wise
to talk about such things to that baby? He's getting great bumps
over his eyes, and learning to ask the most unanswerable questions."
"If he is old enough to ask the question he is old enough to
receive true answers. I am not putting the thoughts into his
head, but helping him unfold those already there. These children
are wiser than we are, and I have no doubt the boy understands
every word I have said to him. Now, Demi, tell me where you keep
If the boy had replied like Alcibiades, "By the gods, Socrates,
I cannot tell," his grandfather would not have been surprised, but
when, after standing a moment on one leg, like a meditative young
stork, he answered, in a tone of calm conviction, "In my little
belly," the old gentleman could only join in Grandma's laugh, and
dismiss the class in metaphysics.
There might have been cause for maternal anxiety, if Demi had
not given convincing proofs that he was a true boy, as well as a
budding philosopher, for often, after a discussion which caused
Hannah to prophesy, with ominous nods, "That child ain't long for
this world," he would turn about and set her fears at rest by
some of the pranks with which dear, dirty, naughty little rascals
distract and delight their parent's souls.
Meg made many moral rules, and tried to keep them, but what
mother was ever proof against the winning wiles, the ingenious
evasions, or the tranquil audacity of the miniature men and women
who so early show themselves accomplished Artful Dodgers?
"No more raisins, Demi. They'll make you sick," says Mamma
to the young person who offers his services in the kitchen with
unfailing regularity on plum-pudding day.