The Extra Day
"A Day Will Come"
They went into the house as though wafted--thus does a shining heart deduct bodily
weight from life's obstructions; they had their tea; after tea they played games as usual,
quite ordinary games; and in due course they went to bed. That is, they followed a
customary routine, feeling it was safer. To do anything unusual just then might attract
attention to their infinite Discovery and so disturb its delicate equilibrium. Its balance
was precarious. Once an Authority got wind of anything, the Extra Day might change its
course and sail into another port. Aunt Emily, even from a distance...! In any case, they
behaved with this intuitive sagacity which obviated every risk--by taking none.
Yet everything was different. Behind the routine lay the potent emphasis of some
strange new factor, as though a lofty hope, a brave ideal, had the power of transmuting
common duties into gold and crystal. This new factor pushed softly behind each little
customary act, urging what was commonplace over the edge into the marvellous. The
habitual became wonderful. It felt like Christmas Eve, like the last night of the Old Year,
like the day before the family moved for the holidays to the sea--only more so. Even To-
morrow-will-be-Sunday had entirely disappeared. A thrill of mysterious anticipation
gilded everything with wonder and beauty that were impossible, yet true. Some Day, the
Thing that Nobody could Understand--Somebody--was coming at last.
Uncle Felix was in an extraordinary state; his acts were normal enough, but his speech
betrayed him shamefully; they had to warn him more than once about it. He seemed
unable to talk ordinary prose, saying that "Everything ought to rhyme, At such a time,"
and, instead of walking like other people, his feet tried to keep in time with his language.
"But you don't understand," he replied to Tim's grave warnings; "you don't understand
what a gigantic discovery it is. Why, the whole world will thank us! The whole world will
get its breath back! The one thing it's always dreaded more than anything else--being
too late--will come to an end! We ought to dance and sing--"
"Oh, please hush!" warned Judy. "Aunt Emily, you know--" Even at Tunbridge Wells
Aunt Emily might hear and send a telegram with No in it.
"Has it lost its breath?" Tim asked, however. But, though it was in the middle of tea,
Uncle Felix could not restrain himself, and burst into one of his ridiculous singing fits,
instead of answering in a whisper as he should have done. "Burst" described it
accurately. And his feet kept time beneath the table. It was the proper place for Time,
The clocks are stopped, the calendars are wrong, Time holds gigantic finger-hands
Before his guilty face. Listen a moment! I can hear the song That no one understands--