SIXTH INTERLUDE

THE BROKEN TOY

When the dearest, friendliest toy was broken, and the desperate child ran to you weeping, your whole will was to console. Let the world wait, the telephone ring unanswered, the train be missed. Nothing, sublunary or celestial, must come between you and the soothing of this grief. With kisses, hugs, exhortations for courage, and slyly intruding jokes, oh soften the tragedy, and rouse at last a wan, reluctant, ludicrous, watery smile!

Or perhaps you would say, 'Let's see if Daddy can mend poor Jumbo'. Then I, feebly rebellious, but mastered by the urgency in tearful eyes, and the sight of your tenderness, would set about clumsy surgery, so that Jumbo might return to the loving arms, patched, maimed or squinting, but more or less himself.

This passion of tenderness, which blazed in the child for the toy, in you for the child, sprang (so my heart confidently affirmed) from the heart of the cosmos.

But the perennial slaughter of the innocents? And Hitler's gospel? And the stern law of entropy?

The comforted child beamed on mended Jumbo, and you on the child.

Chapter 7

Chapter 6

Death Into Life Contents