I don’t know as even this would have overcome Mrs. Quack’s fears if it hadn’t been for the taste of that good corn in her mouth, and her empty stomach. She couldn’t, she just couldn’t resist these, and presently she was back among the rushes, hunting out the corn and wheat as fast as ever she could. When at last she could eat no more, she felt so comfortable that somehow the Smiling Pool didn’t seem such a dangerous place after all, and she quite forgot Farmer Brown’s boy. She found a snug hiding-place among the rushes too far out from the bank for Reddy Fox to surprise her, and then with a sleepy “Good night” to Jerry and Peter, she tucked her head under her wing and soon was fast asleep.
Peter Rabbit tiptoed away, and then he hurried lipperty-lipperty-lip to the dear Old Briar-patch to tell Mrs. Peter all about Mrs. Quack.
PETER RABBIT MAKES AN EARLY CALL
Peter Rabbit was so full of interest in Mrs. Quack and her troubles that he was back at the Smiling Pool before Mr. Sun had kicked off his rosy blankets and begun his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. You see, he felt that he had heard only a part of Mrs. Quack’s story, and he was dreadfully afraid that she would get away before he could hear the rest. With the first bit of daylight, Mrs. Quack swam out from her hiding-place among the brown rushes. It looked to Peter as if she sat up on the end of her tail as she stretched her neck and wings just as far as she could, and he wanted to laugh right out. Then she quickly ducked her head under water two or three times so that the water rolled down over her back, and again Peter wanted to laugh. But he didn’t. He kept perfectly still. Mrs. Quack shook herself and then began to carefully dress her feathers. That is, she carefully put back in place every feather that had been rumpled up. She took a great deal of time for this, for Mrs. Quack is very neat and tidy and takes the greatest pride in looking as fine as she can.
Of course it was very impolite of Peter to watch her make her toilet, but he didn’t think of that. He didn’t mean to be impolite. And then it was so interesting. “Huh!” said he to himself, “I don’t see what any one wants to waste so much time on their clothes for.”
You know Peter doesn’t waste any time on his clothes. In fact, he doesn’t seem to care a bit how he looks. He hasn’t learned yet that it always pays to be as neat and clean as possible and that you must think well of yourself if you want others to think well of you.
When at last Mrs. Quack had taken a final shower bath and appeared satisfied that she was looking her best, Peter opened his mouth to ask her the questions he was so full of, but closed it again as he remembered people are usually better natured when their stomachs are full, and Mrs. Quack had not yet breakfasted. So he waited as patiently as he could, which wasn’t patiently at all. At last Mrs. Quack finished her breakfast, and then she had to make her toilet all over again. Finally Peter hopped to the edge of the bank where she would see him.