“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.”
[Illustration: Marks of little feet]
[Illustration: Babbitty Bumble]
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 beeswax. But what are you doing down here? Why do you always come in at a window, and say Zizz, Bizz, Bizzz?” Mrs. Tittlemouse 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.
[Illustration: Full of moss]
[Illustration: Bees nest]
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 parlour, 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.
[Illustration: Mr. Jackson]
[Illustration: Sitting and dripping]
“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
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.
[Illustration: Feeding Mr. Jackson]
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.