hairs with high backs that creaked as if they had the gout.
And at last the little boy came into the room where the old man sat.
"I thank you for the toy soldier, my little friend," said the old man, "and I thank you because you came over to see me."
The pendulum of the great clock went to and fro, and the hands turned, and everything in the room became still older, but the little boy went up to the old man and took his hand.
"They said at home," said the little boy, "that you were very lonely."
Then the old man took a book with pictures in it down from a shelf, and he went into the other room to the pantry. It was really delightful in the old house!
But the toy soldier, who sat on a cabinet, suddenly spoke.
"I can't bear it any longer," he said. "The days are so dull and the evenings are still duller. Here it is not at all like your home, where your father and mother talk so pleasantly, and you and the other children make such a delightful noise."