The Extra Day
Tim's Particular Adventure
Tim's "particular adventure" was of another kind. It was a self- repeater--of some
violence, moreover, when the smallness of the hero is considered. Whether in after-life
he become an astronomer-poet or a "silver-and-mechanical engineer"--both dreams of
his--he will ever be sharp upon rescuing something. A lost star or a burning mine will be
his objective, but with the essential condition that it be-- unattainable. Achievement
would mean lost interest. For Tim's desire was, is, and ever will be insatiable.
Profoundest mystery, insoluble difficulty, and endless searching were what his soul
demanded of life. For him all ponds were bottomless, all gipsies older than the moon.
He felt the universe within him, and was born to seek its inexplicable "explanation"--
outside. The realisation of such passion, however, is not necessarily confined to writers
of epics and lyrics. Tim was a man of action before he was a poet. "Forever questing"
was his unacknowledged motto. Besides asking questions about stars and other
inaccessible incidents of his Cosmos, he liked to "go busting about," as he called it--
again with one essential condition that the thing should never come to an end by merely
happening. Its mystery must remain its beauty.
"I want to save something from an awful, horrible death," he announced one evening,
looking up from Half-hours with English Battles for a sign of beauty in distress.
"Not so easy," his uncle warned him, equally weary of another overrated book--his own.
"But I feel like it," he replied. "Come on."
Uncle Felix still held back. "That you feel like it doesn't prove that there's anything that
wants rescuing," he objected.
The boy stared at him with patient tolerance and surprise.
"I promised," he said simply.
It was the other's turn to stare. "And when, pray?" They had been alone for the last half
hour. It seemed strange.
"Oh--just now," replied the boy carelessly. "A few minutes ago-- about."
"Indeed!" It seemed stranger still. No one had come in. Yet Tim never prevaricated.
"Yes," he said, "I gave my wordy honour." It was so gravely spoken that, while pledges
involving life and death were obviously not new to him, this one was of exceptional kind.