By Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), Jessie Willcox (1863-1935) (illustrator)
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Extra info for The Water-Babies. Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
The gnats (who did not care the least for their poor brothers’ death) danced a foot over his head quite happily, and a large black fly settled within an inch of his nose, and began washing his own face and combing his hair with his paws: but the dragon-fly never stirred, and kept on chatting to Tom about the times when he lived under the water. Suddenly, Tom heard the strangest noise up the stream; cooing, and grunting, and whining, and squeaking, as if you had put into a bag two stock-doves, nine mice, three guinea-pigs, and a blind puppy, and left them there to settle themselves and make music.
And what was the oddest of all, the whisks at the end of his tail had grown five times as long as they were before. ” said he, “now I will see the gay world. ” No more he had. He had grown as dry and hard and empty as a quill, as such silly shallow-hearted fellows deserve to grow. ” And he danced up and down for three days and three nights, till he grew so tired, that he tumbled into the water, and floated down. ” And if he did not care, why nobody else cared either. But one day Tom had a new adventure.
And so he would have done, as well as any sweep in the county. ” and as was his way, what he said he meant. Now among the lot was a little groom-boy, a very little groom indeed; and he was the same who had ridden up the court, and told Tom to come to the Hall; and he said — “Twenty pounds or none, I will go down over Lewthwaite Crag, if it’s only for the poor boy’s sake. ” So down over Lewthwaite Crag he went: a very smart groom he was at the top, and a very shabby one at the bottom; for he tore his gaiters, and he tore his breeches, and he tore his jacket, and he burst his braces, and he burst his boots, and he lost his hat, and what was worst of all, he lost his shirt pin, which he prized very much, for it was gold, and he had won it in a raffle at Malton, and there was a figure at the top of it, of t’ould mare, noble old Beeswing herself, as natural as life; so it was a really severe loss: but he never saw anything of Tom.