“I’m NOT little any more, Mother,” he had cried indignantly, on his eighth birthday. “I’m AWFUL big.”
Mother had sighed and laughed and sighed again; and she never called him Little Jem again—in his hearing at least.
He was and always had been a sturdy, reliable little chap. He never broke a promise. He was not a great talker. His teachers did not think him brilliant, but he was a good, all-round student. He never took things on faith; he always liked to investigate the truth of a statement for himself. Once Susan had told him that if he touched his tongue to a frosty latch all the skin would tear off it. Jem had promptly done it, “just to see if it was so.” He found it was “so,” at the cost of a very sore tongue for several days. But Jem did not grudge suffering in the interests of science.