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OMMY TODKINS was sometimes a good boy and sometimes a
bad boy; and when he was a bad boy he was a very bad
boy. On stormy days his mother used to say to him,
"Now, Tommy, don't go out on the street until it stops
"But I want to go," said Tommy.
"No, you would get wet and be sick, I'm afraid,"
replied his mother, "and besides Mr. Micrawble might
Yet when Tommy was a bad boy he would go out on the
street in spite of what his mother said, no matter if
it did rain; and one day, sure enough, Mr. Micrawble
caught him and popped him in a bag upside down and
carried him off.
As soon as Mr. Micrawble reached home he pulled Tommy
out of the bag and felt of his arms and legs. "You're
rather lean," said he. "However, you're all the meat
I've got for supper and it's high time I had you
boiling in the pot—but dear me! I've
 forgotten to
get the potatoes and turnips and other vegetables. You'd
not taste good alone."
Then he called to Mrs. Micrawble, "Sally! Here, I say.
So Mrs. Micrawble came and asked, "What do you want, my
"Oh, I've caught a little boy for supper," replied Mr.
Micrawble, "but I've forgotten the vegetables. Look
after him, will you, while I go for them?"
"All right," said Mrs. Micrawble, and off he went.
Then Tommy Todkins said to Mrs. Micrawble, "Does Mr.
Micrawble always have little boys for supper?"
"Yes, mostly," answered Mrs. Micrawble; "for if the
little boys are bad enough and get in his way he 's
sure to catch them."
"And don't you have anything else but boy-meat—no
pudding?" Tommy inquired.
"Ah! I love pudding," said Mrs. Micrawble; "but it's
very seldom, indeed, that I get it."
"Why! my mother is making a pudding this very day,"
said Tommy, "and she'd give you some of it if I asked
her. Shall I run and get some?"
"Now, that's a thoughtful boy," responded Mrs.
 Micrawble. "You can go, only don't stay long, and be
sure to get back for supper."
So Tommy ran home as fast as he could go, but he did
not think it was safe to return with the pudding for
Mrs. Micrawble. Many a long day passed and Tommy was as
good as good could be, and never went out to play on
rainy days. However,
 it was very hard to be
always good, and finally he ventured out one wet
afternoon, and, as luck would have it, Mr. Micrawble
happened along and picked Tommy Todkins up and carried
him off once more in his bag.
When Mr. Micrawble got home and shook Tommy out of the
bag and had a look at him he said, "Ah, you 're the
youngster that served me and my wife such a shabby
trick a while ago, and left us without any supper.
Well, you shan't do that again. Here, get under the
sofa, and I'll sit on it and watch till the pot boils
So poor Tommy Todkins had to crawl under the sofa, and
Mr. Micrawble sat on it and waited for the pot to boil;
and he waited and he waited and he waited, but still
the pot did not boil. Then Mrs. Micrawble went out to
chop some wood for the fire, and Mr. Micrawble fell
"Now, I must get away from here," said Tommy to himself
when he heard Mr. Micrawble snoring, and he crept out
from under the sofa and was stepping softly along
toward the door when he saw Mrs. Micrawble coming
across the yard with her arms full of wood. He was too
late to escape in that direction and he looked around
for a place to hide. The door of the brick oven at the
side of the fireplace
 was open, and by standing
on a chair he got up to it and crawled in. Then he
pulled the door closed, but the door creaked and
awakened Mr. Micrawble.
"What was that I heard?" said Mr. Micrawble, and he
looked under the sofa to see if Tommy was still there.
"Sally, my dear Sally!" he called just as his wife came
in with the wood, "that boy has gone!"
"Well, I have been in the yard all the time," said Mrs.
Micrawble, "and he couldn't have come from the house
without my seeing him. Perhaps he went upstairs."
"Yes," said Mr. Micrawble, "he must have gone upstairs.
We will go up and find him."
But as soon as Tommy Todkins heard their footsteps
going up the stairs he climbed out of the oven and
hurried home. After that he did not go onto the street
to play when it stormed, and Mr. Micrawble never caught