The Extra Day HTML version
Fact And Wonder—Clash
Uncle Felix paused over his last bit of bread and jam, Tim and Judy cocked their ears
up. Maria's eyes stood still a moment in the heavens, and the Tramp stopped eating. He
picked up the butter and replaced it carefully in his pocket.
"I know those steps," he murmured half to himself and half to the others. "They're all
over the world. They follow me wherever I go. I hear 'em even in me sleep." He sighed,
and the tone of his voice was weary and ill at ease.
"How horrid for you," said Judy very softly.
"It keeps me moving," he muttered, trying to conceal all signs of face behind hair and
beard, which he pulled over him like a veil. "It's the Perliceman."
"The Policeman!" they echoed, staring.
"But he can't find you here!"
"He'll never see you!"
"You're quite safe inside the fence with us, for this is the End of the World, you know."
"He's not afraid--never!" exclaimed Judy proudly.
"He goes everywhere and sees everything," whispered the Tramp. "He's been following
me since time began. So far he has not caught me up, but his boots are so much bigger
than my own--the biggest, strongest boots in the world--that in the hend he is bound to
"But you've done nothing," said Judy.
The wanderer smiled. "That's why," he said, holding up a warning finger. "It's because I
do nothing. 'ush!" he whispered. The steps came nearer, and he lowered his voice so
that the end of the sentence was not audible.
"'ide me," he said in a whisper. And he waved his arms imploringly, like the branches of
some wind-hunted tree.
There was a tarpaulin near the rubbish-heap, and some sacking used for keeping the
vegetables warm at night. "That'll do," he said, pointing. "Quick!--Good-bye!" In a
moment he was beneath the spread black covering, the children were sitting on its
edges, quietly eating more bread and jam, and looking as innocent as stars. Uncle Felix
poked the fire busily, a grave and anxious look upon his face.