"I've lost my dear son Thomas; I'm afraid the rats have got him." She wiped her eyes with an apron.
"The rats get upon my nerves, Cousin Ribby," said Tabitha.
"The rats are bad enough," said Miss Merle Merryweather.
Naturally, the cats that performed with the rats were too cowed for this.
Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard times was, and how poor they had to live, and how the rats was as free as if they owned the place, and so forth and so on, and then I got easy again.
"Keep your eye on the rats. You better have the lead in your lap, handy."
The creatures had crept downwards with the subsidence of the rick till they were all together at the bottom, and being now uncovered from their last refuge they ran across the open ground in all directions, a loud shriek from the by-this-time half-tipsy Marian informing her companions that one of the rats
had invaded her person--a terror which the rest of the women had guarded against by various schemes of skirt-tucking and self-elevation.
As for the rats
, I left the killing of them to the cook and the other servants, just as I should have left any other part of the domestic business to the cook and the other servants.
No tale of horror is complete without the rats
. In stories of ghosts and murderers they scamper through the echoing rooms, and the gnawing of their teeth is heard behind the wainscot, and their gleaming eyes peer through the holes in the worm-eaten tapestry, and they scream in shrill, unearthly notes in the dead of night, while the moaning wind sweeps, sobbing, round the ruined turret towers, and passes wailing like a woman through the chambers bare and tenantless.
are most mischievous by their gnawing everything; and I have heard unfortunate tulip-growers complain most bitterly of Noah for having put a couple of rats in the ark."
Before, so as not to scare the rats
in front of him, he had turned his dark lantern on himself, lighting up his own head; now, to hasten their flight, he lit the dark space in front of him.
"People," said the rat
, "always speak of it with a sneer--as though it were something dis- graceful.
Snatching his arm away he reached for his short-sword, while the rat
, growling, sought to seize his arm again.
Presently one of them, a little, mean-faced, black-bearded fellow with a countenance which reminded Tarzan of Pamba, the rat
, laid his hand upon the shoulder of a giant who stood next him, and with whom all the others had been arguing and quarreling.
'Have you a passport?' asked the rat
. 'Out with your passport!'