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Tom, Dot and Talking Mouse and Other Bedtime Stories   By:

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TOM, DOT AND TALKING MOUSE

And Other Bedtime Stories

by

J. G. & C. KERNAHAN

Illustrated

[Frontispiece: Tom Lecky]

New York The Platt & Munk Co. Inc. Copyright, 1916, by The Platt & Peck Co.

CONTENTS

The Miller's Mouse

The Old Rocking Horse

The Message of the Lily

Water Lily's Mission

ILLUSTRATIONS

Tom Lecky . . . . . . Frontispiece

Little girls with flowers

Tom dreaming

Mouse at mouse hole

Mouse at cobweb ladder

Little girls picking flowers

Child with basket of flowers

THE MILLER'S MOUSE

The reason why every one loved Tom Lecky so much was, I believe, that he was so good tempered, so cheerful and so unselfish.

Tom was not good looking, and, indeed, if one were disposed to be critical in such matters, one could have found fault with almost all his features except his eyes. These were brown like sealskin, and nearly always brimming over with merriment. But no one ever thought of criticising Tom's features, and there really was a common belief among the villagers that Tom was a handsome fellow. And indeed he was, for his beautiful unselfish soul gave to his face a beauty which merely regular features can never do.

Tom Lecky owned a flour mill, which was situated a little way from Ellingford, the village where he had been born. He was "well off," for the mill brought him a good deal of money. He had no relations, but hoped to have a very near one a wife. This was Anne Grey, the blacksmith's daughter, who was as pretty as she was winsome. She was fond of pretty things too, flowers especially, so it was Tom's delight to gratify her fancy.

For this reason he bought Brooks's cottage, which had a lovely garden. And week by week he purchased this or that to make his cottage pretty and home like for his bride. It would be difficult to tell how much pleasure Tom found in furnishing this cottage. He would wander in the garden paths among the rose bushes, smiling to himself as he thought of the many surprises in store for Anne. But a surprise was in store for him which was not at all pleasant. Anne Grey married some one else.

When Tom heard it, he locked up the pretty cottage, put the key in his pocket, and went to the mill to live. To Anne he spoke no word, though he saw her with her husband coming from the church. In fact, he spoke to no one, but did his work at the mill like a man in a dream. Some there were who tried to break through his stony reserve, but no one succeeded. Tom Lecky had become hard and soured. He remained alone in the mill except for the mice, and for these he set traps. He caught a great many, and plunged them, trap and all, into a bucket of water. When he found a trap with a mouse in it he would look at the little creature beating itself against its prison, turning rapidly round, forcing its pointed nose between the wire bars, while its long tail hung down through the bars on the other side. He would watch the bright little eyes almost start from their sockets in fear and agony, and yet no feeling of sorrow or pity came into his heart for the tiny captive, and after a time with a smile on his face he would drown the little creature. Could this be the Tom Lecky who had had almost the tenderness of a woman at the sight of pain?

Tom's "living room" was in the basement of the mill. In it were a table, a chair, a bed, and a cupboard. There was also a hanging bookshelf, with a row of books on it, which Tom never opened now. Through the ceiling of this room descended a ladder white with flour. If you climbed this ladder you found yourself in a room smothered with flour dust, and your ears were almost deafened by the sound of the machinery overhead which the wind impelled mill wheel kept in motion, while the descending stream of ground flour travelled unceasingly down from the grinding wheel to the bin below... Continue reading book >>




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