The Extra Day HTML version

Maria Stirs
"Uncle," he began with a rush lest his courage should forsake him, "where does
everything come from? Everything in the world, I mean?"-- then waited for an answer
that did not come.
Uncle Felix neither moved nor spoke, and the question, like a bomb that fails to
explode, produced no result after considerable effort and expense. The boy looked
down again at the alarum clock he had been trying to mend, and turned the handle. It
was too tightly wound to go. A stopped clock has the sulkiest face in the world. He
stared at it; the handle clicked beneath the pressure of his hand. "It must come from
somewhere," he added with decision, half to himself.
"From the East, of course," advanced Judy, and tried to draw her Uncle by putting some
buttercups against his cheek and mentioning loudly that he liked butter.
Then, since neither sound nor movement issued from the man in the wicker-chair, the
children continued the discussion among themselves, but at the man, knowing that
sooner or later he must become involved in it. Judy's answer, moreover, so far as it
went, was excellent. The sun rose in the East, and the wind most frequently mentioned
came also from that quarter. Easter, when everything rose again, was connected with
the same point of the compass. The East was enormously far away with a kind of
fairyland remoteness. The dragon-rugs in Daddy's study and the twisted weapons in the
hall were "Easty" too. According to Tim, it was a "golden, yellow, crimson-sort-of,
mysterious, blazing hole of a place" of which no adequate picture had ever been shown
to them. China and Japan were too much photographed, but the East was vague and
marvellous, the beginning of all things, "Camel-distant," as they phrased it, with Great
Asia upon its magical frontiers. For Asia, being equally unphotographed, still shimmered
with uncommon qualities.
But, chiefly, it was a vast hole where travellers disappeared and left no trace; and to
leave no trace was simply horrible.
"The easier you go the less chance there is," maintained Judy. She said this straight
into the paper that screened her uncle's face-- without the smallest result of any kind
whatsoever. Then Tim recalled something that Colonel Stumper had said once, and let
fly with it, aiming his voice beneath the paper's edge.
"East is east," he announced with considerable violence, but might as well have
declared that it was south for all the response obtained. It was very odd, he thought; his
Uncle's mind must be awfully full of something. For he remembered Come-Back