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Perez the mouse.

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Here they lived as happily as the rat of fable did in the Dutch cheese. Perez the Mouse introduced the King as a foreign tourist who was on a visit to the capital, and the family welcomed him very cordially. The two Miss Mouses were at work with their Governess, Miss Stilton, who was a very learned English mouse, and Mrs. Mouse was embroidering a beautiful smoking cap for her husband, sitting by a bright fire made of raisin stalks. This happy family party delighted King Bubi. * Adelaide and Elvira made tea and poured out some into lovely wee cups made out of the skins of white beans. * Then they had a little music. Adelaide sang Desdemona's song, 'O Willow Willow,' in a way which much pleased the King, and Elvira recited about a little mouse who was ill of fever, and a naughty kitten who wanted to pounce on it. After this Adolphus came in from the Jockey Club where, to the sorrow of his father and mother, he wasted all his time playing cards with the mice from the foreign embassies.



King Bubi would willingly have stayed longer, but Perez, who had slipped away, came back with his satchel on his back and said it was time to start. * So the King said goodbye very politely, and Mrs. Mouse gave him a kiss on each cheek in her homely way. * Adelaide put out a paw in a lackadaisical fashion, and Elvira shook hands like a pump handle, while Miss Stilton made him a beautiful cheese of a curtsey, and then stared at him through her eyeglass until he was out of sight. * Adolphus, too, was very gushing, and conducted him as far as the lid of the tin, and offered to introduce him at the Polo Club, for which the King thanked him very much, thinking all the time that, though he might be a very smart young mouse, he was rather a bore. Then Bubi and Perez the Mouse again began their scamper with such a quantity of precautions that the King was astonished.



In front of them went a regiment of ferocious mice, soldiers whose bayonets made of fine needles gleamed in the darkness. Behind them came a second regiment, also armed to the teeth. Perez the Mouse then confessed that he would not have undertaken this expedition without these soldiers to protect the person of the young monarch. All of a sudden King Bubi saw the guard in front had disappeared down a little hole, through which came a faint light. This was the moment of danger. Perez the Mouse, slowly waggling his tail from side to side, put his head very cautiously through the hole and looked around; he then went back two steps, and finally, suddenly seizing the King's paw, dashed through the hole like an arrow, crossed a big kitchen, and disappeared through another hole on the opposite side near the range. As one sees telegraph posts out of the train so Bubi saw that kitchen.



By the hearth, in the glow of the fire, lay an enormous cat, the dreadful Don Pedro, its great whiskers heaving up and down as it breathed. The guards silently formed up, from hole to hole, ready to fire, to protect the King's route from the sleeping cat. It was all very grand and imposing. An ugly old woman sat in a chair, also asleep, with her knitting on her knee. Once through the hole the danger was over, and they had only to get upstairs, as this was where little Giles lived. Everything was open in his poor room, which was all cracks and draughts. King Bubi scrambled on to the arm of a seatless chair, the only one in the room, and from there could see a picture of poverty such as he had never dreamt of.

       



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