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Perez the mouse.

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It was easy to see that Perez was a mouse who was accustomed to polite society, and to run about on soft carpets, as he had such very good manners. * It was wonderful what a lot of things he could talk about which made him a very pleasant companion. * He had travelled through all the pipes and drains of the capital, and in the Royal Library alone he had eaten up three books in less than a week. * He talked too about his family. He had two quite grown-up daughters, Adelaide and Elvira, and a son, nearly grown up, called Adolphus, who was studying for diplomacy in the drawer where the Minister of State kept his most secret notes. He did not say much about Mrs. Mouse, and the little King somehow fancied that she was rather vulgar.

His Majesty listened to all this with his mouth open, from time to time he put out his hand to try and catch Perez by the tail. * But each time the mouse gave a sort of whisk and placed his tail out of reach, without being in the least rude. It was getting late, and the King forgot to dismiss him; so Mr. Mouse cleverly hinted that he had to go that same night to a street not far off to fetch the tooth of a very poor little boy called Giles. It was rather a difficult, dangerous journey, because near there lived a very wicked cat called Don Pedro. The King at once wanted to go too, and begged Perez to take him. The mouse stood thinking it over and twisting his whiskers; the responsibility was very great, and moreover he was obliged to go back to his own house to fetch the present for little Giles.

The King said he would like to go and see the mouse's home, which so much flattered Perez that he at once offered him a cup of tea and agreed to take him to see little Giles. Perez the Mouse lived underneath a grocer's shop, near a big pile of Gruyere cheeses which supplied the whole family with breakfast, dinner and tea. Overjoyed, King Bubi jumped out of bed and began to dress himself, when all at once Perez the Mouse sprang on his shoulder and put the tip of his tail into His Majesty's nose. * Then a wonderful thing happened, the King sneezed very hard and turned into the most darling little mouse you ever saw. He was all soft and shiny, and had wee green eyes like emeralds. * Perez the Mouse took him by the paw and disappeared with him down a tiny hole under the bed, which had been hidden by the carpet.

The way was dark and sticky, but they scampered along. Sometimes Perez the Mouse stopped at some crossway and looked about before going on, which rather frightened the King and made him feel little shivers right down to the tip of his tail, and he knew that he was afraid, but he remembered that: 'Fear is natural to the prudent, To conquer it is to be courageous,' so he would not let himself be frightened, which is being really brave. Once when he heard a tremendous noise, like dozens of motor omnibuses passing over his head, he whispered to ask Perez if that was where Don Pedro lived, but Mr. Mouse said no with his tail, and on they went. After going down a gentle slope they came to a big cellar which felt nice and warm and smelt very much of cheese; behind a pile of Gruyere cheese they found themselves face to face with the Huntley and Palmer biscuit tin which was the home of the Perez family.


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