The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse by Beatrix Potter


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Page 1

Timmy Willie, who had lived all his life in a garden, was almost
frightened to death. Presently the cook opened the hamper and began to
unpack the vegetables. Out sprang the terrified Timmy Willie.

Up jumped the cook on a chair, exclaiming "A mouse! a mouse! Call the
cat! Fetch me the poker, Sarah!" Timmy Willie did not wait for Sarah
with the poker; he rushed along the skirting board till he came to a
little hole, and in he popped.

He dropped half a foot, and crashed into the middle of a mouse dinner
party, breaking three glasses.--"Who in the world is this?" inquired
Johnny Town-mouse. But after the first exclamation of surprise he
instantly recovered his manners.

With the utmost politeness he introduced Timmy Willie to nine other
mice, all with long tails and white neckties. Timmy Willie's own tail
was insignificant. Johnny Town-mouse and his friends noticed it; but
they were too well bred to make personal remarks; only one of them asked
Timmy Willie if he had ever been in a trap?

The dinner was of eight courses; not much of anything, but truly
elegant. All the dishes were unknown to Timmy Willie, who would have
been a little afraid of tasting them; only he was very hungry, and very
anxious to behave with company manners. The continual noise upstairs
made him so nervous, that he dropped a plate. "Never mind, they don't
belong to us," said Johnny.

"Why don't those youngsters come back with the dessert?" It should be
explained that two young mice, who were waiting on the others, went
skirmishing upstairs to the kitchen between courses. Several times they
had come tumbling in, squeaking and laughing; Timmy Willie learnt with
horror that they were being chased by the cat. His appetite failed, he
felt faint. "Try some jelly?" said Johnny Town-mouse.

"No? Would you rather go to bed? I will show you a most comfortable
sofa pillow."

The sofa pillow had a hole in it. Johnny Town-mouse quite honestly
recommended it as the best bed, kept exclusively for visitors. But the
sofa smelt of cat. Timmy Willie preferred to spend a miserable night
under the fender.

It was just the same next day. An excellent breakfast was provided--for
mice accustomed to eat bacon; but Timmy Willie had been reared on roots
and salad. Johnny Town-mouse and his friends racketted about under the
floors, and came boldly out all over the house in the evening. One
particularly loud crash had been caused by Sarah tumbling downstairs
with the tea-tray; there were crumbs and sugar and smears of jam to be
collected, in spite of the cat.

Timmy Willie longed to be at home in his peaceful nest in a sunny bank.
The food disagreed with him; the noise prevented him from sleeping. In a
few days he grew so thin that Johnny Town-mouse noticed it, and
questioned him. He listened to Timmy Willie's story and inquired about
the garden. "It sounds rather a dull place? What do you do when it
rains?"

"When it rains, I sit in my little sandy burrow and shell corn and
seeds from my Autumn store. I peep out at the throstles and blackbirds
on the lawn, and my friend Cock Robin. And when the sun comes out again,
you should see my garden and the flowers--roses and pinks and
pansies--no noise except the birds and bees, and the lambs in the
meadows."

"There goes that cat again!" exclaimed Johnny Town-mouse. When they had
taken refuge in the coal-cellar he resumed the conversation; "I confess
I am a little disappointed; we have endeavoured to entertain you,
Timothy William."

"Oh yes, yes, you have been most kind; but I do feel so ill," said Timmy
Willie.

"It may be that your teeth and digestion are unaccustomed to our food;
perhaps it might be wiser for you to return in the hamper."

"Oh? Oh!" cried Timmy Willie.

"Why of course for the matter of that we could have sent you back last
week," said Johnny rather huffily--"did you not know that the hamper
goes back empty on Saturdays?"

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Wed 26th Jan 2022, 21:20