CHILD'S PLAY 37 sanction, and tell themselves some sort of story, to account for, to colour, to render entertaining the simple processes of eating and drinking. What wonderful fancies I have heard evolved out of the pattern upon tea-cups !—from which there followed a code of rules and a whole world of excitement, until tea-drinking began to take rank as a game. When my cousin and I took our porridge of a morning, we had a device to enliven the course of the meal. He ate his with sugar, and explained it to be a country continually buried under snow. I took mine with milk, and explained it to be a country suffering gradual inunda- tion. You can imagine us exchanging bulletins; how here was an island still unsubmerged, here a valley not yet cohered with snow; what inventions were made; how his population lived in cabins on perches and travelled 011 stilts, and how mine was always in boats ; how the interest grew furious, as the last corner of safe ground was cut off on all sides and grew smaller every moment; and how in fine, the food was of altogether secondary import- ance, and might even have been nauseous so long as we seasoned it with these dreams. But perhaps the most exciting moments I ever had over a meal were in the case of calves-feet jelly. It was hardly possible not to believe —and you may be sure, so far from trying, I did all I could to favour the illusion—that some part of it was hollow, and that sooner or later my spoon would lay open the secret tabernacle of the golden rock. There, might some miniature Red Beard await his hour; there, might one find the treasures of the Forty Thieves, and bewildered Cassiin beating about the walls. And so I quarried on slowly, with bated breath, savouring the interest. Believe me, I had little palate left for the jelly; and though I preferred the taste when I took cream with it, I used often to go without, because the cream dimmed the transparent fractures. Even with games, this spirit is authoritative with right- minded children. It is thus that hide-and-seek has so pre-eminent a sovereignty, for it is the well-spring of romance, and the actions and the excitement to which it gives rise lend themselves to almost any sort of fable.