Friday, September 1, 2017


By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Pirates in Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard in Oz, and The Wish Express, etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 13, 1921.

Timmy Twitchet was a little gray mouse-gentleman with curly whiskers and charming manners. He was a self-made mouse, moreover, and had, by his own efforts, risen from the woodshed to the attic!

Timmy’s early years had been spent as apprentice to a cross old cobbler-mouse whose bootshop was in a corner of the shed in a large city dwelling. Early and late the little mouse was kept blacking boots and running errands.

But Timmy kept his eyes open and before long had got a position as headwaiter in a modest mouse hotel kept by an old maid mouse in the kitchen cupboard. And so successful was he in gathering crumbs and other attractive fare from the dining-room table that he was asked to take entire charge of the Young Business Mouse’ Lunch Club, which had quarters in an exclusive corner of the sideboard.

From then on Timmy’s fortune improved. He had a wonderful facility for getting what he wanted without being molested by the giant two-legs who owned the house.

He taught in the public mouse-school in the library bookcase; then progressed rapidly through every room in the mansion, each time bettering his position and acquiring a little of the polish which later made him so delightful and so popular. In his early prime Timmy reached the top floor and here, in the children’s nursery, ran a flourishing banking business.

The dolls urged him to settle down—to build a house (there were plenty of blocks and supplies to be picked up cheap), but Timmy shook his head. When he settled down, he decided solemnly, it would be among his own people and in a quieter neighborhood.

So one day, after adding up his cash book, Timmy found he had enough to retire comfortably and, bidding good-by to the toys, he turned his steps toward the attic. It is to the attic that wealthy mice who have made their fortunes retire to live in ease and comfort far from the noise and persecutions of people, and it was in the attic that Timmy found his future home.

It was in the suburbs of the little flourishing attic city, and how the mice had overlooked it Timmy could not imagine. With his paws clasped in ecstasy Timmy stood before the handsome old homestead—then, dashing up the steps, claimed it for his own.

No wonder Timmy was so delighted. It was an abandoned doll house with a colonial front door, windows that opened, shades, furniture, carpets and a real bath tub.

The excited little mouse-gentleman hurried from floor to floor, snapped up all the shades, looked under the beds, bounced on the old-fashioned sofa to test the springs and finally, with a chuckle of pure content, settled down in a big (for a mouse) armchair to brood over his good fortune. Then, winding the clock which never ran, he hurried down to the attic hardware store and ordered a brass name-plate for his door.

“Timmy Twitchet, Esquire.”

“And mind you letter it plainly, he ordered, twirling his cane recklessly, and strode out, leaving the shopkeeper breathless with admiration. Timmy had style, there was no denying!

On the doll house steps Timmy paused again to admire his mansion. He thought with scorn of the old hole in the shed that used to harbor him, and of his struggles to rise in the world

“This—is living,” said Timmy proudly, “A little paint, a through cleaning and a few personal touches will make this the finest establishment in the attic!”

No callers came that evening, so Timmy retired early and, dreaming of sun parlors, green portieres, red lamp shades and a life-size portrait of himself over the library mantel, the little self-made mouse dropped off happily to sleep in the tiny four-post doll bed!

By Ruth Plumly Thompson 
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, January 9, 1921.


Before breaking into verse the Forgetful Poet says that the only bird who can go into four twice is a Toucan, and I guess he is right about that. The two great Americans found in a tree are Root and Wood, and the rhyme of Dr. Duck was impossible, as one young lady put it, because a shad has no shin, a frog has no tail, a dog has no wing and a jellyfish no bones. The Forgetful Poet still thinks it was a pretty good poem.

“Why is a pan of bread like the sun?” he asks this week, and then goes on to give us another impossible poem, which he declares is as sensible as poetry need be.

A Strenuous Week-End

I went a-driving on a lake,
And rowing on a mountain,
And passing through a garden
Got all dusty from a fountain.

I ate a book of fiction up,
And read a box of candy;
I heard the moving pictures through,
And saw a concert dandy.

And, after all this, being tired,
I hustled off to bed,
And dreamed I was a clown
Supporting lions on my head.

[Answers next time.]

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