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Silent Snow, Secret Snow
by [?]

“Oh, no I think not-“

“But are you sure, my boy?”

His father’s voice came softly and coldly then- the familiar voice of silken warning….

“You needn’t answer at once, David- remember we’re trying to help you-think it over and be quite sure, won’t you?”

He felt himself smiling again, at the notion of being quite sure. What a joke! As if he weren’t so sure that reassurance was no longer necessary, and all this cross-examination a ridiculous farce, a grotesque parody! What could they know about it? Why, even now, even now, with the proof so abundant, so formidable, so imminent, so appallingly present here in this very room, could they believe it?-could even his mother believe it? No-it was only too plain that if anything were said about it, the merest hint given, they would be incredulous-they would laugh-they would say “Absurd!-think things about him which weren’t true…

“Why no, I’m not worried-why should I be?”

He looked then at the doctor’s low-lidded eyes, looked from one of them to the other, from one bead of light to the other, and gave a little laugh.

The doctor seemed to be disconcerted by this. He drew back in his chair, resting a fat white hand on either knee. The smile faded slowly from his face.

“Well David!” he said, and paused gravely, “I’m afraid you don’t take this quite seriously enough. I think you perhaps don’t quite realize-don’t quite realize-” He took a deep breath, and turned, as if helpless, at a loss for words, to the others. But Mother and Father were both silent-no help was forthcoming.

“You must surely know, be aware, that you have not been quite yourself, of late? Don’t you know that?…”

It was amusing to watch the doctor’s renewed attempt at a smile, a queer disorganized look, as of confidential embarrassment.

“I feel all right sir,” he said, and again gave a little laugh.

“And we’re trying to help you,” The doctor’s tone sharpened.

"Yes, sir, I know. But why? I’m all right. I’m just thinking, that’s all."

His mother made a quick movement forward, resting a hand on the back of the doctor’s chair.

"Thinking?" she said. "But my dear, about what?"

This was a direct challenge-and would have to be directly met. But before he met it, he looked again into the corner by the door, as if for reassurance. He smiled again at what he saw, at what he heard. The little spiral was still there, still softly whirling like the ghost of a white kitten chasing the ghost of a white tail, and making as it did so the faintest of whispers. It was all right! If only he could remain firm, everything was going to be all right.

“Oh, about anything, about nothing,-you know the way you do!”

“You mean-day-dreaming?”

“Oh, no-thinking!”

"But thinking about what?"


He laughed a third time-but this time, happening to glance upward towards his mother’s face, he was appalled at the effect his laughter seemed to have upon her. Her mouth had opened in an expression of horror… This was too bad! Unfortunate! He had known it would cause pain, of course-but he hadn’t expected it to be quite so bad as this. Perhaps-perhaps if he gave them a tiny gleaming hint-?

“About the snow,” he said.

“What on earth!” This was his father’s voice. The brown slippers came a step nearer on the hearth-rug.

“But my dear, what do you mean!” This was his mother’s voice.

The doctor merely stared.

“Just snow, that’s all. I like to think about it.”

“Tell us about it, my boy.”

“But that’s all it is. There’s nothing to tell. You know what snow is.”

This he said almost angrily, for he felt they were trying to corner him. He turned sideways so as no longer to face the doctor, and better to see the inch of blackness between the window-sill and the lowered curtains,- the cold inch of beckoning and delicious night. At once he felt better, more assured.

“Mother-can I go to bed, now, please? I’ve got a headache.”

"But I thought you said–"

“It’s just come. It’s all these questions-! Can I Mother?”

“You can go as soon as the doctor has finished.”

“Don’t you think this thing ought to be gone into thoroughly, and now?” This was his Father’s voice. The brown slippers again came a step nearer, the voice was the well known “punishment” voice, resonant and cruel.