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of a man nailed to a cross. This surprised Tom much. He fancied he had seen something like it in a shop window. Why was it there? “Poor man,” thought Tom, “and he looks so quiet and kind. Why should the lady have such a sad picture as that in her room? Perhaps it was some relation of hers who had been murdered by the savages in foreign parts, and she kept it there for a remembrance.” Tom felt sad and thrilled with awe, but he turned to look at something else.
The next thing he saw puzzled him also. It was a wash stand with pitchers and basins, and soap and brushes, and towels and a large bath full of clean water.
“What a heap of things all for washing! She must be a very dirty lady,” thought Tom, “to need so much scrubbing as all that. How clever she must be to put the dirt out of sight, for I don't see a single speck about the room, not even on the towels.” Then looking toward the bed, he saw that dirty lady and held his breath in surprise.
Under the snow-white coverlet, upon the snow-white pillow, lay the most beautiful little girl that Tom had ever seen. Here cheeks were almost as white as the pillow, and her hair was like threads of gold spread all about over the bed. She might have been as old as Tom, or perhaps a year or two older; but Tom did not think of that. He thought only of her delicate skin and golden hair, and wondered whether she was a real live person, or one of the wax dolls he had seen in the shops. He saw her breathe and then made up his mind that she was, indeed, alive, and stood staring at her, as if she had been an angel out of heaven.
“No; she cannot be dirty. She never could have been dirty,” thought Tom to himself, and then he thought: “Are all people like that when they are washed?” He then looked at his own wrist and tried to rub the soot off, and wondered if it ever would come off. “Certainly I would look much prettier if I were washed and if I grew at all like her.”
Looking around, Tom suddenly saw standing close to him, a little, ugly, black, ragged figure, with bleared eyes and grinning white teeth. He turned on it angrily. What did such a black, dirty boy want in that sweet young lady's room? Behold, it was himself, reflected in a great mirror the like of which Tom had never seen before..
For the first time in his life, Tom found out that he was really dirty. He burst into tears with shame and anger, and tried to sneak up the chimney again and hide. He, by accident, upset the fender and threw the andirons down, with a noise as of ten thousand tin kettles tied to ten thousand dogs' tails.
Up jumped the little white lady in her bed; and, seeing Tom, she screamed as shrill as any peacock. In rushed a stout old nurse from the next room, and when she saw Tom she made up her mind that he had come to rob, plunder, destroy, and burn. She dashed at him as he lay over the fender, and caught him by the jacket.
She did not hold him. Tom would have been ashamed to even face his friends if he had been stupid enough to be
caught by an old woman; so he doubled under the good lady's arm, ran across the room, and out of the window in a minute.
He did not need to drop out — though he would have done so bravely enough — nor even to let himself down a spout, for under the window spread a tree, with great leaves and sweet white flowers, almost as big as his head. It was a magnolia, but Tom knew nothing about that and cared less, as down the tree he went like a cat, and across the garden lawn, and over the iron railing, and up the park towards the woods, leaving the old nurse at the window screaming: “Murder! Murder! Fire! Fire!”
- Adapted from “Water Babies." And’i ron (rún): a metal utensil for holding up the wood burning in a fireplace. Flūe: a passageway in the chimney by which the smoke is carried off.
SUBJECTS FOR A CLASS CONVERSATION.
We will consider the lesson work from and including
Give the names of the authors.
What are the subjects ?
with March where you live?
Relate the story told by this poem.
At what time did the event related occur? 4 Name the authors whose productions you have been
studying ? 5 What is meant by "adapted” as used in connection
with “Little Tom, the Chimney-Sweep”? 6 Where is Westminster Abbey? 7. What is a chimney-sweep ? 8 Write five new words you have learned during the last
Hope, like the gleaming taper's light,
Adorns and cheers the way,