THE BITER BIT
STHE SAD END OF UTAIL
LONDON; \VEI.LS G.\RDNER, DARTON & CO,
2, I'ATFINTO [lIF : l'II.iiN .,. F
The Badwin Library
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THE BITER BIT;
The Sad End of a Tail.
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY WILLIAM FOSTER.
ENGRAVED AND PRINTED BY EDMUND EVANS.
WELLS GARDNER, DARTON & CO.,
2, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS.
THE BITER BIT;
THE SAD END OF A TAIL.
" ES, my dear, it is a very long time since we had them to a party. You are
quite right, and we certainly have been to their Cornstack to tea again
and again, and ought to make them some return." So said Mr Fieldmouse, as
he took his afternoon walk arm-in-arm with his faithful spouse
"Well, my dear," said she, "I have often told you we ought to have them,
but you wouldn't listen."
"That was in the winter, my love, and I had work enough to find food for
4 T-H BITER B/T.
us all, without entertaining beyond our means, but now we have a nice ripe field
of corn, besides berries, fruits, and young nuts, and we certainly might ask them
to an evening party."
THE[ BITER BIT.5
"Shall I send out the invitations at once?" said she.
6 TI77/7; l7iAflR 11.
"Yes, do, and get that active little fellow, Harvest-mouse, to leave them; he
will be sure to do it quickly and well."
"Whom are we to ask ?"
"Well," said Mr. Fieldmouse, "our cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Mouse and party,
from the Cornstack; Master Dormouse, although he is a sleepy fellow, and not
much good at a party; our Fieldmice brothers and sisters; the Voles, and the
Shrews. We can hire the blind fiddler, Mole, and Froggy to play the banjo, and
some bees to hum the tunes as well"
"But, my dear," said Mrs. Fieldmouse, "the bees will be above coming to play
at our party."
"Oh, no, my love, they are only in a humble way, and will be glad to play
for a good supper."
"Very well, my dear, that's all settled." And off that afternoon went
the invitations, each delivered by the sharp little Harvest-mouse at its proper
The Cornstack was a scene of great excitement when the invitation arrived,
IlTHE LITER DIT. 7
and loud were the enquiries of the little mice. What shall we wear?" How
shall we get dresses in time?" What is to be done?" "We must be well dressed,
8 THE' ITER BPIT.
for they don't ask us often, and are very exclusive." Well, that night, after visiting
the woods and the garden at the Manor House close by, Mrs. Mouse returned laden
k Ar_ .
with flowers, leaves, acorns, grasses, feathers and what not in which to array her
clamouring and excited offspring; articles of dress that for colour, taste and fit would
THE BITE'R JBIT. 9
have made a West End draper envious. None of the little mice slept a wink that
day for thinking of the evening, which at last came. What a trying on of dresses
and hats and collars there was, and it was a long time before all were satisfied that
they looked well enough. At last- they were able to set off, but had not gone far
when a prowling retriever sent them all into fits. They hid, however, behind leaves,
and the dog, even if he smelt them, stalked majestically past, and they breathed
After rearranging their dresses, somewhat ruffled by their hasty scramble for
shelter, off they went again, and reached Mrs. Fieldmouse's ball-room in safety,
thanks to her forethought in getting glow-worms to stand at some of the darkest
parts of the road to prevent accidents, as well as to look pretty. The ball-room
was a nice clear space at the side of the cornfield, and was beautifully scented with
Mrs. Fieldmouse received her guests at the entrance, and directly all h1l
assembled dancing began with spirit. Mole, the blind fiddler, scraped away,
and Froggy twanged on his banjo; the bees on a stalk above humming the tunes
Io T1/ [1'1ff 1)I:
vigorously, so that everything went off brilliantly; quadrille followed quadrille, and
--, '-- t. /
TIIHE BITTER BIT.
round dances trod on each others' heels-every one danced so hard. Perhaps our
young readers have never seen mice dancing a quadrille or waltz, but who knows
what they are doing when all good children are tucked-up for the night, Between
the dances a little light refreshmefit of seeds was provided, but soon it became
evident that something more substantial would be welcome; so supper was
announced, and Mrs. Fieldmouse and Mr. Mouse led the way arm-in-arm.
They had only just reached the door of the supper-room when Mrs. Fieldmouse
gave a shrill scream and pointed to the table ; all eyes were turned to see what
was the matter, and there, seated on one of the stools (toadstools, hired for the
occasion), was Master Dormouse quietly stuffing, and with his tail on the table, too.
He looked terribly fat and sleepy, and had hopelessly disarranged everything,
and the table, which had been set out so neatly, with little heaps of the season's
dainties before each seat, was in confusion.
Yes, there he sat, a little greedy ball of fur as broad as long. While the rest
were dancing he had stolen quietly away, and had been eating for more than an
hour, selecting the best of everything from each place.
12 TH/E ITER P>I'T/
Mrs. Ficldmousc was very much put out, but being well bred she did not say too
:ar,,,- i ~ t'" "
THE BITER BIT. 13
much about it, but soon had matters set right and more food brought. She did, how-
14 TI/f J if'F f ;7.
ever, say a few sarcastic words to Dormouse about his being still hungry, but they were
lost upon him, for he was by this time quite drowsy, and merely stared at her vacantly
with his big black eyes, which were starting out of his head, for all the world like
boot buttons. But he was soon forgotten, for there was a sumptuous spread of every
delicacy of the season : young nuts, with little tender juicy kernels ; corn, oats, barley,
and acorns; and last, but not least, some sweet pea seed which Mrs. Fieldmouse had
got at great risk and trouble from the gardener's potting-shed at the Manor House.
It had been spread out to dry on a newspaper, and attracted her attention as she was
passing one night.
Every one was busy eating, and Froggy, who waited, was kept jumping about
to supply their numerous wants.
At last Mr. Mouse proposed the host and hostess's health in a neat little speech,
thanking them for the great pleasure they had given them, and they all drank the
toast in dew out of the sweetest little cup moss goblets. All? No, not all, for
Dormouse had tumbled off his seat and was lying fast asleep-a shocking spectacle
of the result of intemperance. No one heeded him, and Mr. Fieldmouse was just
71/A }]/i/1:R /IT. 15
about to return thanks for his wife and himself, when crash! down came a paw
bristling with claws, away in confusion scuttled everybody, and table and stools
were upset. It was a terrible moment, but all escaped except Dormouse, who was
so torpid he could not move. Some time later, when Mr. and Mrs. Fieldmouse
thought it safe to return home, they congratulated themselves that all was well
that ended well, and that they had all so narrowly escaped. They little knew that
they would never see Dormouse again.
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