by Mary Norton
illustrated by Diana Stanley
A new phase has started in the lives of the Clock family. Every night the roof opens up and all sorts of wondrous items appear. Homily has even suggested to Pod that he put hinges on the floor board so that it can be opened and closed easily thus preventing dirt from falling onto them when the floorboard is nailed back in place by the boy.
The Clocks are extremely busy now with all the new furniture and household items arriving every night. Homily is thrilled with everything and has Pod moving furniture constantly so that it can be placed just right. Even when they drop their weary bodies into bed at night, Homily just has to jump up for “one more look.”
In return for all these glorious items, Arrietty reads to the boy every day. They were great days and Arrietty learned a lot about the world. She finally came to realize that the world wasn’t just for Borrowers, but she reminded the boy that it was not for just big people either.
Arrietty would come back home every afternoon from reading to see the apartment transformed. The only sadness was that there was no one to see all the new changes. Homily would give anything for a Harpsichord, an Overmantel, or even a Rain-Barrel to appear. She insists that Arrietty write to Uncle Hendreary and tell him of everything they have acquired.
Those were happy days, but when the borrowing went from the old dollhouse to the drawing-room cabinet, things were about to end. Mrs. Driver is on to the fact that items are missing from the drawing-room cabinet and, after thinking about who could be doing it, comes to the conclusion that it must be a game Great-Aunt Sophy is playing – to take the items and then look accusingly at Mrs. Driver and ask “Everything all right downstairs, Driver?” and then waiting to see if Mrs. Driver will tell her that items have gone missing. Mrs. Driver decides to formulate a plan to “catch” Great-Aunt Sophy in the act. “Two can play at that game.”
Well! Riches beyond their wildest dreams! At last it seems like Homily is getting everything she thinks she should have. She seems quite happy to accept the Boy's gifts--and Arrietty seems quite happy to 'pay' for them in return by reading to him.
But here's the thing--Mrs. Driver is on to....someone! She knows things are missing, but doesn't know who is taking them. Won't Homily be in a pickle if they are forced to return the borrowings? And Pod doesn't seem all that happy about it. Not just the work Homily is putting him to rearranging furniture until all hours of the night, but the fact that these items aren't really 'borrowed' by him must make him feel odd.
Interesting how quickly Homily got used to having the roof open every night and having all kinds of household items delivered. She is so ecstatic about acquiring all these belongings that it quite overtook her fear of the boy. And I love the way she “dresses for the occasion”. She now wears her satin dress and her hair is done in the evening so as to look good. She’s such a funny, irritating, but endearing little character. Poor Pod. He’s thinking, “enough is enough.” He just wants some peace and quiet for a change. The poor man is exhausted from hauling furniture all over the place half the night - every night.
I’m happy for Arrietty. She gets to spend every afternoon outside with the boy, reading to him and learning from him. She has accepted the fact that the world doesn’t “revolve” for Borrowers but for all. She would make a great little teacher for Borrower children.
I would like to know what Mrs. Driver thinks she is going to do if she catches Great-Aunt Sophy taking items from the drawing room. Seems like she’d lose her position if she accused Great-Aunt Sophy of taking items even though they belong to Great-Aunt Sophy and she has every right to take them.