Behold a little child, a boy. He has only a few words yet, but within the wondrous dome of his head, tousled with a wisp of wild hair, a whole world is coming into being. Sometimes he regards things with a settled seriousness, as if he were a metaphysical scholar, batting a toy swing back and forth, investigating the principles of motion. Sometimes he crouches down to the earth to make finger-marks in the soil. Sometimes he gazes into the eyes of a stranger, and breaks into a smile, the two teeth on the bottom making him look a little like a rakish old man who has just downed a swig of cider.
If we knew, in advance, that the child would “amount to noth . . .
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