[Nellie’s Little Book]
Once upon a time there was a woodmouse, and her name was Mrs. Tittlemouse.
She lived in a bank under a hedge.
Such a funny house! There were yards and yards of sandy passages, leading to store- rooms and nut cellars and seed cellars, all amongst the roots of the hedge.
There was a kitchen, a parlor, a pantry, and a larder.
Also, there was Mrs. Tittle- mouse’s bedroom, where she slept in a little box bed!
Mrs. Tittlemouse was a most terribly tidy particular little mouse, always sweeping and dusting the soft sandy floors.
Sometimes a beetle lost its way in the passages.
“Shuh! shuh! little dirty feet!” said Mrs. Tittlemouse, clattering her dustpan.
And one day a little old woman ran up and down in a red spotty cloak.
“Your house is on fire, Mother Ladybird! Fly away home to your children!”
Another day, a big fat spider came in to shelter from the rain.
“Beg pardon, is this not Miss Muffet’s?”
“Go away, you bold bad spider! Leaving ends of cobweb all over my nice clean house!”
She bundled the spider out at a window.
He let himself down the hedge with a long thin bit of string.
Mrs. Tittlemouse went on her way to a distant storeroom, to fetch cherrystones and thistle- down seed for dinner.
All along the passage she sniffed, and looked at the floor.
“I smell a smell of honey; is it the cowslips outside, in the hedge? I am sure I can see the marks of little dirty feet.”
Suddenly round a corner, she met Babbitty Bumble–“Zizz, Bizz, Bizzz!” said the bumble bee.
Mrs. Tittlemouse looked at her severely. She wished that she had a broom.
“Good-day, Babbitty Bumble; I should be glad to buy some bees- wax. But what are you doing down here? Why do you always come in at a window, and say, Zizz, Bizz, Bizzz?” Mrs. Tittle- mouse began to get cross.
“Zizz, Wizz, Wizzz!” replied Babbitty Bumble in a peevish squeak. She sidled down a passage, and disappeared into a storeroom which had been used for acorns.
Mrs. Tittlemouse had eaten the acorns before Christmas; the storeroom ought to have been empty.
But it was full of untidy dry moss.
Mrs. Tittlemouse began to pull out the moss. Three or four other bees put their heads out, and buzzed fiercely.
“I am not in the habit of letting lodgings; this is an intrusion!” said Mrs. Tittlemouse. “I will have them turned out –” “Buzz! Buzz! Buzzz!”–“I wonder who would help me?” “Bizz, Wizz, Wizzz!”
–“I will not have Mr. Jackson; he never wipes his feet.”
Mrs. Tittlemouse decided to leave the bees till after dinner.
When she got back to the parlor, she heard some one coughing in a fat voice; and there sat Mr. Jackson himself.
He was sitting all over a small rocking chair, twiddling his thumbs and smiling, with his feet on the fender.
He lived in a drain below the hedge, in a very dirty wet ditch.
“How do you do, Mr. Jackson? Deary me, you have got very wet!”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mrs. Tittlemouse! I’ll sit awhile and dry myself,” said Mr. Jackson.
He sat and smiled, and the water dripped off his coat tails. Mrs. Tittlemouse went round with a mop.
He sat such a while that he had to be asked if he would take some dinner?
First she offered him cherry- stones. “Thank you, thank you, Mrs. Tittlemouse! No teeth, no teeth, no teeth!” said Mr. Jackson.
He opened his mouth most unnecessarily wide; he certainly had not a tooth in his head.
Then she offered him thistle- down seed–“Tiddly, widdly, widdly! Pouff, pouff, puff.” said Mr. Jackson. He blew the thistle- down all over the room.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mrs. Tittlemouse! Now what I really–REALLY should like– would be a little dish of honey!”
“I am afraid I have not got any, Mr. Jackson!” said Mrs. Tittlemouse.
“Tiddly, widdly, widdly, Mrs. Tittlemouse!” said the smiling Mr. Jackson, “I can SMELL it; that is why I came to call.”