It is an ancient tradition that all boys are obsessed with the idea of being grown. This is because they occasionally give voice to their impatience with the restraints of youth, while those great stretches of time when they are more than content to be boys find expression in action and not in words. Sometimes Basil wanted to be just a little bit older, but no more. The question of long pants had not seemed vital to him—he wanted them, but as a costume they had no such romantic significance as, for example, a football suit or an officer’s uniform, or even the silk hat and opera cape in which gentlemen burglars were wont to prowl the streets of New York by night.
But when he awoke next morning they were the most important necessity in his life. Without them he was cut off from his con