'Peterkin: A Marvel of Nature':

'Peterkin will be six years old by and by…. Circumstances have allowed me, his uncle, to see a good deal of Peterkin lately, and though we are now far parted, he has left an impression behind….

'Peterkin and I first realised that we were no common persons three weeks ago. His hammer, which has a habit of flying from his hand and making straight for any brittle article in its neighbourhood (when Peterkin immediately disappears), alighted on my head one evening. Then I arose in my wrath and addressed Peterkin in these words:-'"You thundering curmudgeon, get out of this, or I'll kick you round the room.

'Peterkin bolted, and I heard him clattering up the stairs.

'I returned to my work, and by and by Peterkin walked in with a look of importance on his face such as I had not seen since he first got hold of the hammer I left him severely alone, but every time! looked up his eye was on me. He came and stood by my side, offering himself mutely for slaughter. Then he sat down on a chair by the fire, and presently I discovered that he was crying.

‘"What is the matter now?" I demanded fiercely.

‘"You said you would kick me round the room," he moaned.

‘"Well, I won't do it," I said, "if you are a good boy."

‘"But you said you would do it.

‘"You don't mean that you want it?"

‘"Ay, I want it. You said you would do’t."

‘Wondering, I arose and kicked him.

'"Is that the way?" he cried in rapture.

'"That's the way," I said, returning to my chair.

'"But," he complained, "you said you would kick me right round the room."

'I got up again, and made a point of kicking him round the room.

'"Kick harder!" he shouted, and so I kicked him into the lobby.

'However desirous of gratifying Peterkin, I could not be always kicking him... and for the sake of peace I bribed quietness from him with the promise that I would kick him hard at eight o'clock. He now spent much of his valuable time gazing at the lobby clock, and counting the ticks each of which he fondly believed meant a minute. ...

'Most people keep their distance from me, regarding me as morose and unsociable; but Peterkin thought he had found the key to me, and was convinced that I would not kick him so heartily if I did not consider him rather nice. He said that eight o'clock was longer in coming round than any other time of the day, and he frequently offered me chocolate to kick him in advance.

'He also thoroughly enjoys being tied with strings that leave their mark on him for days.

'Today Peterkin departed for his own home, in grief to a certain extent, but, on the whole, gladly. The fact is that he was burning to tell his various friends how I kicked him.

'Last night Peterkin drew from me a promise to get up early this morning and kick him just fearfully. Astonishing as it seems to myself; I would nowadays do anything in my power to oblige Peterkin, and at this moment I am confident he is black and blue. I turned him upside down six times as an extra farewell, swept the floor with his head, and doubled him up by flinging books at his waistcoat. He is, therefore, off in high spirits.

'I told Peterkin that I would be glad to get rid of him; but the house has been very solemn since he left. At eight o'clock I felt quite strange and out of sorts, and at nine I was looking sadly at his hammer. In dark corners I trip over marbles that he has forgotten, and now and again my feet discover the cushions which he has left lying about in odd places. The lobby is deserted without any Peterkin waiting for eight p.m., and the clock, which used to strike eight differently from the other hours, has ceased to have any personal interest in the time of day.'