The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, September, 1922
Out of the Mouths
Out of the Mouths.
I was in what the inhabitants told me is the most important town in the Province of Auckland, and therefore in New Zealand. Walking through the residential parts towards the centre of the metropolis, I observed emerging from a gateway, a large and wide male figure, animated by the shoulders, hatless and wheeling a trusty dirty bicycle. He stooped to adjust a recalcitrant shoe lace—no, of course he wears boots—and I passed him by unrecognising. He soon overtook me and we knew each other. An old student of Victoria he was—or perhaps he would he better described as an institution. "Hullo," he said, "you must come back and see my son." So he had a son, had he.? I went back and he stood at the door and called—Peter (let us call him Peter as we must call him something and father and son may both wish to remain anonymous). "Peter! Peter!" (in crescendo) "Peter! Peter! Peter!"(diminuendo), and Peter did not come. "One word from father," I said, "and Peter does what he likes." Father called again, and after much calling Peter was brought and introduced and shook hands—quite an achievement for a child of two—and with the right hand—excellent guess. There he was, just like father (but we don't mind so long as he's healthy) with his head at the same angle, those translucent eyes and that stocky build. "Now Peter," said the old bird," what is more than gold?" To a child of two if you please. "What's more than gold, Peter?" Hut like all sensible children Peter wasn't to be caught with chaff so soon. So the question was repeated again, and at last with the right result, for Peter responded, "Wrrd." "There you are," said the proud parent." he said 'Wisdom.' "
Marvellous, isn't it?
"And." I said, "what's wisdom, Peter? What's wisdom? Is it what Daddy hasn't got?"
But once more I blundered. That apparently was another of Peter's stunts, for father put the question, "What is wisdom?" and repeated it more than once. Then Peter again opened his mouth and said something that sounded to me (and my ears are tutored by now to the lisping lips of infants) like ".Spit." Wrong again for father exulted that Peter had said "Sapientia." Poor kid!
His other stunt was to run a mile. Father trotted along the garden path a distance of four or five yards and encouraged Peters "Run a mile Peter; run a mile with Daddy." And Peter stood stolid and stubborn. More encouragement and Peter strolled casually along to where a small fork was and proceeded to cultivate the garden.
Then we walked into town and talked of tempore acta—when all our stunts succeeded and we appreciated everything we did.