234 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE
' Oh dear, oh dear! she must be wandering in her mind,' murmured the lad to himself. ' How can I manage to get her home? Dearest mother, do look at me close. Can't you see I am your own son Jem?'
'Well, did you ever hear such impudence?' asked Hannah, turning to a neighbour. ' Just see that frightful dwarf — would you believe that he wants me to think he is my son Jem ?'
Then all the market women came round and talked all together and scolded as hard as they could, and said what a shame it was to make game of Mrs. Hannah, who had never got over the loss of her beautiful boy, who had been stolen from her seven years ago, and they threatened to fall upon Jem and scratch him well if he did not go away at once.
Poor Jem did not know what to make of it all. He was sure he had gone to market with his mother only that morning, had helped to set out the stall, had gone to the old woman's house, where he had some soup and a little nap, and now, when he came back, they were all talking of seven years. And they called him a horrid dwarf! Why, what had happened to him? When he found that his mother would really have nothing to do with him he turned away with tears in his eyes, and went sadly down the street towards his father's stall.
' Now I'll see whether he will know me,' thought he. Til stand by the door and talk to him.'
When he got to the stall he stood in the doorway and looked in. The cobbler was so busy at work that he did not see him for some time, but, happening to look up, he caught sight of his visitor, and letting shoes, thread, and everything fall to the ground, he cried with horror: ' Good heavens! what is that?'
' Good evening, master,' said the boy, as he stepped in. ' How do you do? '
' Very ill, little sir,' replied the father, to Jem's