Read THE LITTLE BOOTMAKER of Sugar and Spice, free online book, by James Johnson, on

Young Franky’s boots were sent to be mended. The girl came back and said they would not be done for a week; the cobbler was so busy.

Annie, of the same family, who knew nothing of this, sent hers, and said they must be done by the next day.

The cobbler said if they brought him two pairs again to do at once, he’d knock their heads together with his lasts, and then give them a good “welting.” He was the only cobbler in the village, or he would not have been so independent.

Franky had often watched the boot-maker at his work; so he coaxed his father to let him have some money to buy tools and leather, in order that he and his sisters might play at making boots and shoes.

He set to work, and they had such fun!

Annie came and asked young master cobbler what time it was; and Franky pretended to hit her on the head with a last, and said it had “just struck one.” Then he measured her, and cut out his vamps, sides, linings, welts, soles, and heels. Next he made a soft-like sock of leather. This he turned inside out, and did his best to sew on a welt.

The boot was turned out right again, and then he sewed on a thin sole, and over this nailed another. The heel he formed by fastening little bits of leather one upon the other.

After all this, he took a piece of common glass, and scraped the sides and bottoms of the soles, and heel-balled the sides of the soles and heels, and the boots were made. He did not try any other ornamental work. Of course the young lad could not do this without the help of a cobbler, to shew him what and how to do each portion of his boot-making; but the man was frightened at having so apt a pupil, and begged pardon for his former neglect; for though they were not all they might have been; they were boots.

“I see,” said he, “if some people neglect their work, there are sure to be others about who will soon leave them no business to do.”

After this, he would sit for quite half a day at his work without going round to the “Cobbler’s Arms.” Some people said it was the wax that got on his seat that made him do it; but I do not think it was.