Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England
Viking Penguin Inc., 40 West 23rd Street, New York, New York 10010, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 2801 John Street, Markham, Ontario,
Canada L3R 1B4
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand
First published 1905
This impression 1985
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
William Clowes Limited, Beccles and London
Once upon a time there was a Pussy-cat called Ribby, who invited a little dog called Duchess, to tea.
“Come in good time, my dear Duchess,” said Ribby’s letter, “and we will have something so very nice. I am baking it in a pie-dish—a pie-dish with a pink rim. You never tasted anything so good! And you shall eat it all! I will eat muffins, my dear Duchess!” wrote Ribby.
Duchess read the letter and wrote an answer:—“I will come with much pleasure at a quarter past four. But it is very strange. I was just going to invite you to come here, to supper, my dear Ribby, to eat something most delicious.
“I will come very punctually, my dear Ribby,” wrote Duchess; and then at the end she added—“I hope it isn’t mouse?”
[Illustration: The invitation]
And then she thought that did not look quite polite; so she scratched out “isn’t mouse” and changed it to “I hope it will be fine,” and she gave her letter to the postman.
But she thought a great deal about Ribby’s pie, and she read Ribby’s letter over and over again.
“I am dreadfully afraid it will be mouse!” said Duchess to herself—“I really couldn’t, couldn’t eat mouse pie. And I shall have to eat it, because it is a party. And my pie was going to be veal and ham. A pink and white pie-dish! and so is mine; just like Ribby’s dishes; they were both bought at Tabitha Twitchit’s.”
Duchess went into her larder and took the pie off a shelf and looked at it.
“It is all ready to put into the oven. Such lovely pie-crust; and I put in a little tin patty-pan to hold up the crust; and I made a hole in the middle with a fork to let out the steam—Oh I do wish I could eat my own pie, instead of a pie made of mouse!”
Duchess considered and considered and read Ribby’s letter again—
“A pink and white pie-dish—and you shall eat it all. ‘You’ means me—then Ribby is not going to even taste the pie herself? A pink and white pie-dish! Ribby is sure to go out to buy the muffins.... Oh what a good idea! Why shouldn’t I rush along and put my pie into Ribby’s oven when Ribby isn’t there?”
Duchess was quite delighted with her own cleverness!