The Borrowers

by Mary Norton
illustrated by Diana Stanley

The Borrowers
Week of August 30, 2009

Chapter 11:

Arrietty has been out on her first “borrowing” excursion and Homily is right there at the last gate to greet Pod and Arrietty on their return. “Well--!” “Well!” “Well, was it nice? Were you a good girl? Was the cherry tree out? Did the clock strike?” Homily had tea ready and a fire burning in the cog well. How familiar everything seemed and yet somehow strange. After tea was poured Homily said “Tell us what you saw.” Pod explained that she didn’t see so much, not the over mantel in the drawing room. He didn’t get Homily’s blotting paper as he had a bad feeling up the back of his head and in his fingers. That’s why he brought Arrietty home. Arrietty said she did not get a feeling, but Homily explained that perhaps because she was young she did not have them yet. After tea, Arrietty went off to get her journal to compose a letter to Uncle Hendreary, and then she wrote in her diary: “Went borrowing. Wrote to H. Talked to B.” Afterwards Arrietty sat for a long time, staring into the fire and “thinking and thinking and thinking.”


I’m not sure who is more excited, Arrietty at being outside or Homily at Pod and Arrietty’s arrival back home and wanting to hear everything about the borrowing expedition.

Arrietty mentioned that Homily’s hair had been tidied and she smelled of coal-tar soap. The name sounds terrible but the soap probably isn’t. I looked it up on Wikipedia and a description is below.

Arrietty didn’t mention one word about the boy. Homily probably would have passed out at the news, and I’m sure both Pod and Homily would have forbidden Arrietty to leave the apartment again. I imagine Arrietty realized this so that is why she kept quiet. Perhaps also, she wanted to keep this new adventure to herself so that she could just sit and think and sift through all the information she had learned on her first borrowing trip.

I imagine that Arrietty is not happy at keeping the secret of the Boy, but hey--she would never be allowed to venture out again if she told. And Pod would surely insist that they emigrate.

Created by William Valentine Wright in 1860, Wright's Traditional Soap, or Wright's Coal Tar Soap, is a popular brand of antiseptic soap that is designed to thoughly cleanse the skin. It is an orange colour.