TOMMY was sitting on the bench near the end of the lane. By his side was a basin tied up in a cotton handkerchief; in th...
TOMMY was sitting on the bench near the end of the lane. By his side was a basin tied up in a cotton handkerchief; in the buttonhole of his coat there was a sprig of sweet-william. The girls from the big house came and stood still in front of him, staring at him rudely, but he did not speak.
“Tommy, are -you tired? “ they asked.
“Yes, “ Tommy answered, crossly, “ I‘m very tired, and father‘s working in the fields, and I have got to take him his dinner before I go to the fair. “
“Why don‘t the servants take it? “
“Servants! “ said Tommy scornfully ; “ we‘ve no servants. We are not rich people! “
“Wouldn‘t you like to be rich ? “ the eldest sister asked, while the two little ones walked slowly round Tommy, looking at the feather in his hat ; he had put it there so that he might look smart when he went on to the village.
“No, it‘s too expensive, “ said Tommy, shaking his head; “rich people have to buy such a lot of things, and to wear fine clothes, and they can‘t have dinner in the fields. “
“My father has his dinner in a room, “ said the girl.
“That‘s because he‘s rich, “ answered Tommy, “ and people would talk if he didn‘t; rich people can‘t do as they like, as poor can. “
“And my father lives in a big house, “ the girl went on, for she was vulgar, and liked to boast.
“Yes, and it takes up a lot of room; my father‘s got the whole world to live in if he likes; that‘s better than a house. “
“But my father doesn‘t work, “ said the girl, scornfully.
“Mine does, “ said Tommy, proudly. “Rich people can‘t work, “ he went on, “so they are obliged to get the poor folk to do it. Why, we have made everything in the world. Oh! it‘s a fine thing to be poor. “
“But suppose all the rich folk died, what would the poor folk do? “
“But suppose all the poor folk died, “ cried Tommy, “ what would the rich folk do? They can sit in carriages, but can‘t build them, and eat dinners, but can‘t cook them. “ And he got up and went his way. “Poor folk ought to be very kind to rich folk, for it‘s hard to be the like of them, “ he said to himself as he went along.