The Extra Day HTML version

Time Hesitates
Meanwhile the coveted fortnight drew towards a close. It had begun on a Friday, and
that left two full, clear weeks ahead. It had seemed an inexhaustible period--when it
started. There was the feeling that it would draw out slowly, like an ordinary lesson-
week; instead of which it shot downhill to Saturday with hardly a single stop. On looking
back, the children almost felt unfairness; somebody had pushed it; they had been
And, of course, they had been cheated. Time had played his usual trick upon them. The
beginning was so prodigal of reckless promises that they had really believed a week
would last for ever. Childhood expects, quite rightly, to have its cake and eat it, for there
is no true reason why anything should ever end at all. The devices are various: a titbit is
set aside to enjoy later, thus deceiving Time and checking its ridiculous hurry. But in the
long run Time invariably wins. After Thursday the week had shot into Saturday without a
single pause. It whistled past. And the titbit, Saturday, had come.
Yet without the usual titbit flavour; for Saturday, as a rule, wore splashes of gold and
yellow upon its latter end, being a half-holiday associated with open air and sunshine,
but now, Monday already in sight, with lessons and early bed and other prohibitions by
the dozen, hearts sank a little, a shadow crept upon the sun. They had a grievance;
some one had cheated them of a final joy. The collapse was unexpected, therefore
wrong. And the arch-deceiver who had humbugged them, they knew quite well, was
Time. He was in their thoughts. He mocked them all day long. Clocks grinned; Saturday,
June 3, flaunted itself insolently in their faces.
"The day after to-morrow," remarked some one, noticing a calendar staring on the wall;
and from the moment that phrase could be used it meant the day was within
measurable distance.
"Aunt Emily leaves Tunbridge Wells" was mentioned too, sounding less unpleasant than
"Aunt Emily comes back." But the climax was reached when somebody stated bluntly
without fear of contradiction:
"To-morrow's Sunday."
For Sunday had no particular colour. Monday was black, and Saturday was gold, but
Sunday never had been painted anything. Though a buffer- day between a vanished
week and a week of labour coming, it was of uncertain character. Queer, grave people
came back to lunch. There were collects and a vague uneasiness about the heathen
being unfed and naked. There was a collection, too--pennies emerged from stained