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The Brown Mouse   By: (1861-1925)

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Author of Aladdin & Company, The Broken Lance On Board the Good Ship Earth, Etc.


Copyright 1915 The Bobbs Merrill Company

Printed in the United States of America



CHAPTER I A Maiden's "Humph" 1 II Reversed Unanimity 24 III What Is a Brown Mouse 38 IV The First Day of School 48 V The Promotion of Jennie 55 VI Jim Talks the Weather Cold 65 VII The New Wine 75 VIII And the Old Bottles 89 IX Jennie Arranges a Christmas Party 99 X How Jim Was Lined Up 111 XI The Mouse Escapes 122 XII Facing Trial 132 XIII Fame or Notoriety 147 XIV The Colonel Takes the Field 164 XV A Minor Casts Half a Vote 188 XVI The Glorious Fourth 203 XVII A Trouble Shooter 218 XVIII Jim Goes to Ames 235 XIX Jim's World Widens 242 XX Think of It 248 XXI A School District Held Up 258 XXII An Embassy From Dixie 277 XXIII And So They Lived 295




A Farm hand nodded in answer to a question asked him by Napoleon on the morning of Waterloo. The nod was false, or the emperor misunderstood and Waterloo was lost. On the nod of a farm hand rested the fate of Europe.

This story may not be so important as the battle of Waterloo and it may be. I think that Napoleon was sure to lose to Wellington sooner or later, and therefore the words "fate of Europe" in the last paragraph should be understood as modified by "for a while." But this story may change the world permanently. We will not discuss that, if you please. What I am endeavoring to make plain is that this history would never have been written if a farmer's daughter had not said "Humph!" to her father's hired man.

Of course she never said it as it is printed. People never say "Humph!" in that way. She just closed her lips tight in the manner of people who have a great deal to say and prefer not to say it, and I dislike to record this of a young lady who has been "off to school," but truthfulness compels she grunted through her little nose the ordinary "Humph!" of conversational commerce, which was accepted at its face value by the farm hand as an evidence of displeasure, disapproval, and even of contempt. Things then began to happen as they never would have done if the maiden hadn't "Humphed!" and this is a history of those happenings.

As I have said, it may be more important than Waterloo. Uncle Tom's Cabin was, and I hope I am just beginning, you know to make this a much greater book than Uncle Tom's Cabin . And it all rests on a "Humph!" Holmes says,

"Soft is the breath of a maiden's 'Yes,' Not the light gossamer stirs with less."

but what bard shall rightly sing the importance of a maiden's "Humph!" when I shall have finished telling what came of what Jennie Woodruff said to Jim Irwin, her father's hired man?

Jim brought from his day's work all the fragrances of next year's meadows. He had been feeding the crops. All things have opposite poles, and the scents of the farm are no exception to the rule. Just now, Jim Irwin possessed in his clothes and person the olfactory pole opposite to the new mown hay, the fragrant butter and the scented breath of the lowing kine perspiration and top dressing.

He was not quite so keenly conscious of this as was Jennie Woodruff. Had he been so, the glimmer of her white piqué dress on the bench under the basswood would not have drawn him back from the gate... Continue reading book >>

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