WHISTLING WALTER
( and What Became of Him )
by
Lesley Gordon

Walter

I knew a boy named WALTER WIGG, about your size— or not so big, who took a quite untold delight in whistling from morn till night. He whistled high, he whistled long, he'd whistle any kind of song; he whistled loud, but worse than that, young WALTER always whistled flat.

He'd whistle at his morning tub, a bar or two between each rub: drowning in song, his parents say, the water as it ran away.

Through summers hot and winters cool twice daily on his way to school, he made the most appalling noise, the envy of the butcher boys.

People had frequently remarked, " How jolly ! " on hearing how the infant WALLY through lack of nourishment grown terse, sat up and whistled for his nurse; but admiration for young WALTER by slow degrees began to falter when day by day and hour by hour this tender babe, the Wiggs's flower, though pink as paint and like to pop, was not prevailed upon to stop. (Investigation since reveals he scarcely even paused for meals.)
With so much puff and so much blow his mouth became a little " O," his chest grew round, his cheeks grew red until at last the neighbours said, " Is this a boy or a balloon ? " and Mrs. Wigg was seen to swoon.
The doctor said, " It is but folly to seek my aid in saving WALLY. No child could stand—it seems a shame— the strain upon its tender frame.
" I must prepare you for the worst—Your infant son is bound to burst! "

Poor Mr. Wigg with endless pluck bought lemons by the gross to suck, and he and Mrs. " W.," keeping young WALTER well in view, would flaunt the fruit before the child, drowning his native wood notes wild. But WALTER merely hurried past with unimpaired and scornful blast, while errand boys would watch the while, saying, " Can nothing cramp his style? "

Alas, my story nears its close—one breath too many through the nose, or possibly a trifle south ; one breath too many through the mouth (the details matter little now)— one breath too many, anyhow. A rending sound— a fearful snort—a smothered shriek—a loud report... stretched on the rug with ghastly grin lay WALTER WIGGS'S empty skin.
And as she swept her son away, said Mrs. Wigg, though far from gay, "We'll have to use those lemons up, I'd better make some claret cup."


The end