As an instance, in "On Land and Sea With Caesar" by R. F. Wells it is written:
"Go to sleep again. You'll feel better by and by and then I'll tell you all about it." " No, tell me now," insisted Titus. " I feel tired, awfully tired and weak, but I can listen to such news as that." " What was the last you remember about the battle? " inquired Julius.
After reading some dictionaries, I observed that "by and by" means:
After a while; soon. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.)
presently or eventually (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged.)
But, I'm not able to precisely understand whether, in contexts like above, "by and by" is used to indicate (1) an event that will happen soon, a great encouragement full of optimism, or (2) an event that will happen in a distant future, eventually.
As far as I understand, in the case (2) one can still read an encouragement, but with an involved meaning of resignation.
So, in what sense is "by and by" commonly or properly used, (1) or (2)? Please, explain in reference to contexts like the afore-quoted?