390 THE OLD HOUSE
And then he told his wife about the old house, and the old man, and of the Tin Soldier he had sent across to the old man whom he had thought so lonely; and the tears came into the young wife's eyes for the old house and the old man.
' It is possible, after all, that it may be the same Tin Soldier,' said she. ' I will take care of him, and remember what you have told me ; but you must show me the old man's grave.'
' I don't know where it is,' replied he, ' and no one knows. All his friends were dead ; none tended his grave, and I was but a little boy.'
' Ah, how terribly lonely he must have been !' said she.
e Yes, horribly lonely,' said the Tin Soldier ; * but it is glorious not to be forgotten.'
1 Glorious ! ' repeated a voice close to them.
But nobody except the Tin Soldier perceived that it came from a rag of the pig's-leather hangings, which was now devoid of all gilding. It looked like wet earth, but yet it had an opinion, which it expressed thus :
' Gilding fades fast, Pig-skin will last!'
But the Tin Soldier did not believe that.
THE DROP OF WATER
Or course you know what is meant by a magnifying glass—one of those round spectacle-glasses that make everything look a hundred times bigger than it is ? When any one takes one of these and holds it to his eye, and looks at a drop of water from the pond yonder, he sees above a thousand wonderful creatures that are otherwise never discerned in the water. But they are there, and it is no delusion. It almost looks like a great plate-full of prawns jumping about in a crowd. And how fierce they are ! They tear off each other's legs and arms and bodies, before and behind ; and yet they are merry and joyful in their way.
Now, there was once an old man whom all the people called Cribble-Crabble, for that was his name. He always