Monday, February 1, 2021


By Ruth Plumly Thompson  
Author of The Purple Prince of Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink", "King, King! Double King!", etc.
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, October 21, 1917.

Timmy Twitchet, as I told you a while back, had moved into the old dollhouse that had been sent up to the attic. It was an ideal home for a mouse, so roomy and with so many comforts and conveniences. There were several spare beds and Timmy often had his friends to stay all night. He took great pride in his establishment, I can tell you!

Several of his cousins, who were handy with the needle, had made him curtains from an old white dimity dress that someone had left on a chair in the attic, and there was plenty for bedspreads, too, so you can imagine how cozy it was. Captain Twirler, an old gentleman mouse who had often called upon the dolls when the house stood in the playroom, assured Timmy that even in its heyday (whenever that was) the house had never been so well kept. And I dare say this is true, for dolls are seldom good housekeepers. More than one bachelor mouse tried to rent a room from Timmy, but as Timmy said he didn’t care for boarders, they had to apply elsewhere.

And now that Timmy was set up so well he was invited everywhere by the mouse mamas, who were quite anxious for their daughters to marry a gentleman mouse with such a comfortable home. This was all very well, but Timmy could not seem to find among the young lady mice any with whom he would care to trust his heart and his housekeeping. “They don’t know how to cook or mend and spend all their time running to cheese parties,” he confided to his friend, Bobby Grey, and they both shook their heads over the frivolities of the day.

One night as he and Bobby sat discussing the matter over a glass of cider, they were surprised to hear a rumbling outside. “What can that be?” cried Timmy springing up in alarm, “Sounds like—” Bobby got no further, for right on the heels of the thunder came a terrible slam, the house shook all over, the lamp fell on the floor and smashed to bits, it grew dark, well, as dark as an attic can be at night. For five minutes Timmy and his friend did not move. Then, as nothing more seemed to be happening, Timmy crawled cautiously out from beneath the piano, where he had rolled, and felt in his pocket for a match.

“Are you hurt?” quavered Bobby tremulously from under the sofa. “Seem to have twisted my tail and there’s a lump coming on my head!” replied Timmy, as he found the match. “How about you?” holding the flickering light above Bobby.

“A little shaken, thank you!” Bobby scrambled to his feet and both stared about uneasily, but still nothing else happened. “Suppose we look out and see what it was,” suggested Timmy bravely. Fetching a candle from the kitchen the two went to the front door, but it wouldn’t open. They pushed and shoved till they were red in the face, but could not budge it. “That’s funny,” said Timmy. “It never stuck before!”

They ran up stairs as fast as they could patter and threw up the windows. Timmy thrust his head impulsively out the window. Another lump began to come, for he had bumped his head on something and before he could say anything Bobby had bumped his head. It was very painful, as well as provoking.

They went up to the third story and felt out the little window; a big black mountain seemed to be jammed tightly against the house. “This is terrible,” said Timmy Twitchet, sitting down on a doll’s trunk in the corner. Bobby set the candle down on the floor. “Have you a chimney?” he asked at last. There was a chimney, and with a small lantern they climbed cautiously up and looked out the top. Fortunately Timmy had brought the doll opera glasses that he found in his bureau drawer and with this help they made out a GREAT TRUNK. It had been pushed right up against the dollhouse. “This ruins everything,” wailed Timmy. “Let’s go to bed,” proposed Bobby sensibly, and as there seemed nothing else to do they turned in, after tying up their bruises with witch hazel.

For several days Timmy was in deepest despair, and no wonder, with his view cut off in this sudden fashion. It was humiliating, too, to have to enter one’s house by the chimney. None of his friends, excepting Bobby, would come to see him, and he was not invited to any more parties, “for who would want one’s daughter to live in THAT dungeon,” whispered the mouse mothers to one another. But joy, one morning when Timmy wakened up everything was light again. He rushed to the window, and much to his delight found that the trunk had been pushed aside. He called Bobby right up on the telephone and that very day he received invitations to twenty parties. “Don’t go,” advised Bobby, and Timmy did not go to any of them. All I hope is that he finds a nice, quiet, demure little mouse to share his house, and if he does, I shall certainly tell you about it.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, September 30, 1917. 
The Autumnal Fete in Supposyville

Now in Supposyville, my loves,
Before the frosty days come flying,
They have a grand autumnal fete;
And hitherward each goes a-hying
Beneath the autumn skies to dance
And sing, and frolic on the green,
And hold high carnival and pledge
Allegiance to the King and Queen.

And there are booths for this and that,
And goodies, too, in every guise;
Fair fortune telling, and the like,
To please, amuse and oft surprise.
Upon these preparations grand
The giant from his garden wall
Looked in high glee. He lived next door,
As you, my love, no doubt recall.

Now everything’s in readiness,
Supposies come from far and near;
The band strikes up its blithest air—
Behold! the King and Queen are here.
Now twirl the dancers round and round,
Now cries the candy man his wares,
And in this gay, delightful way
Each drops his worries and his cares.

When desolation! Oh, dismay!
Down suddenly, without a warning,
The rain comes pattering, cruelly spattering
The merry dancers. Oh, what mourning!
“Back to the palace!” calls the King.
The boothmen try to save their wares;
And gathering up its skirts and hats,
For flight the company prepares.

But stop, you’ll never once suppose
What happened next—upon my word
It is too comical, I say,
Too comical and too absurd;
For stepping o’er the garden wall,
That giant, the obliging fellow,
Stood in the center like a pole
And kindly held his big umbrella.

And while outside the rain came pouring,
Beneath this sort of circus tent
All dryly, and delightful, highly,
The frolicsome proceedings went.

Copyright © 2021 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.