The Rambles of a Rat

Juvenile Fiction/
#Animals #Juvenile Fiction
rating 0 (votes: 0)

Book's description:

Excerpt CHAPTER I.THE FAMILY OF RATS. My very earliest recollection is of running about in a shed adjoining a large warehouse, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Poplar, and close to the River Thames, which thereabouts is certainly no silver stream. A merry life we led of it in that shed, my seven brothers and I! It was a sort of palace of rubbish, a mansion of odds and ends, where rats might frolic and gambol, and play at hide-and-seek, to their hearts’ content. We had nibbled a nice little way into the warehouse above mentioned; and there, every night, we feasted at our ease, growing as sleek and plump as any rats in the United Kingdom. We were of an ancient race of British rats, my seven brothers and I. It is said that our ancestors came over with the Conqueror, William; and we are not a little proud of our Norman descent. Our smaller forms, sleek black coats, long tails, and fine large ears, make us altogether distinct from the Norwegian brown rat, on which we look with—I was going to say with contempt, but I rather think that it is quite another feeling, and one to which neither rats nor men generally like to plead guilty. I know that we do not usually choose to keep company with them; but whether it be because their forms are coarser, their manners less refined, and their pedigree not so long, or whether it be because they sometimes have a fancy to nibble off the ears of their neighbours, or, when their appetite is uncommonly sharp, make a meal of their Norman cousins, we need not particularly inquire. I said that I and my seven brothers were black rats; but I ought to make one exception. The youngest of the family was piebald—a curious peculiarity, which I never noticed in any other of our race. Yes, he was piebald; and not only had he this misfortune, but he was the clumsiest and most ill-shaped rat that ever nibbled a candle-end! Now, this was no fault of his, and certainly was no reason why he should have been despised by his more fortunate brothers. Man, of course, as a superior creature, would only look with kindness and pity upon a companion so unhappy as to have personal defects. He would never ridicule a condition which might have been his own, nor find a subject for merriment in that which to another was a cause of annoyance; but we were only inconsiderate young rats, and there was no end to our jokes on our piebald comrade. “Oddity,” “Guinea-pig,” “Old Spotty,” and “Frightful”—such were the names which we gave him. The first was that by which he was best known, and the only one to which he chose to answer. But he was a good-humoured fellow, poor Oddity, and bore our rudeness with patience and temper. He pursued the plan which I would recommend to all rats in his position: he joined the mirth which his own appearance raised; and when we made merry at the awkward manner in which he waddled after his more light-footed companions, he never took it amiss, nor retired into a corner of the shed to sulk, amidst rope-ends and bits of rusty iron....
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