"R OY HAYDON, how you do wear out your shoes! Just look at that one!" Roy looked obediently at the shoes he had just kicked off, preparatory to going to bed, and laughed outright. Mamma laughed, too, in spite of her vexation; there was such an air of good fellowship and hearty openness about the shoe—rather too much openness, in fact. Right across the toe was a hole that looked for all the world like a wide, open mouth, laughing heartily back at you as if it would like to tell jolly tales of tramps over stubby fields, climbs over stone walls, and up cherry trees, frantic rushes after balls, ending in kicks and stumbles that opened that same mouth wider still, and no end of fun and frolic. What wonder that Roy laughed as he looked at it; but there was a sober side, too, for it was not the easiest matter in the world for mamma to find money to buy the endless number of new shoes required to keep Roy's feet properly covered.
"What are old shoes good for, mamma?" asked Roy, when he was nicely tucked up in bed.
"Good to throw away," laughed mamma, as she stooped to kiss the rosy lips.
But they must be good for something," insisted Roy. "Can't anything be made out of old leather?"
"Yes," said mamma, "a good many things. Glue is made from leather, and from horns and hoofs, as well. The gelatine you are so fond of, is made entirely from leather, but I don't think your old shoes would do for that, Roy; so you needn't look so disgusted. The leather used in gelatine manufactories is carefully selected from fresh hides, and if you could see all the purifying processes the gelatine passes through before it is ready for sale, you would be quite satisfied with it. Scraps of old leather are ground up and formed into a paste by adding certain fluids. The paste is then pressed into moulds in the shape of buttons, cups, door knobs, combs, and a number of other useful things, and when it is dry it becomes hard and tough. Besides all this, very beautiful embossed and bronzed wall-paper is made from scraps of old leather. So you see, Roy, your old shoes may not have outlived their usefulness yet."
Roy went to sleep and dreamed of wonderful things that were done with his shoes; but neither he nor his mamma dreamed what really happened to them. They were thrown out into a field behind the house and forgotten; but one day, late in the summer, Roy came upon one of them, and clapped his hands in glee. There was a whole colony of field mice, making themselves very much at home, using the hole in the toe as a front door, and scampering up and down with stores of wheat, which they were laying up for winter use. "Mamma," said Roy that night, "you spoke of my shoes being turned into wall-paper, but you never thought that one of them would make a whole house!"