by Mary Norton
illustrated by Diana Stanley
Now that the Borrowers have been discovered, the boy suggests that they move to the dollhouse upstairs for the night since no one ever looks at it. Homily wants to move into the dollhouse permanently, but Pod insists that would not work for the dollhouse is located high up on a shelf near the ceiling and there is no way for him to get up and down to borrow and get food and water. There is talk about emigrating to a badger set. Arrietty is rather excited by that thought, but Homily, of course, is not. She has thoughts of all manner of unpleasant things: having to eat caterpillars, trying to light a fire of sticks, how will she cook in the rain. However, when the boy offers to take needed supplies for their convenience, she agrees to go.
The boy will carry the Borrowers upstairs in a clothespin bag to spend the night in the dollhouse, but Homily, after being tossed around inside the bag, demands to be let out. After a talking to, she agrees to try again. All of a sudden Pod says sharply, “Listen.” Then, in a flash they were gone. The boy called their names but then froze as he heard the scullery door creak open. He has been discovered by Mrs. Driver. She, of course, believes him to be a thief and in league with the crafty, nasty creatures under the floorboards. He is going to jail. He tries to explain to her about Borrowers and who they are and what they do, but she will have none of that. As she is dragging him back to his room he offers to move the Borrowers away, but Mrs. Driver threatens that she is saving that job for the rat-catcher and Crampfurl’s old cat. She pushes the boy into the schoolroom and locks the door. The boy, cold, crept into bed and cried himself to sleep.
How kind and caring the boy is to take such care of Pod, Homily and Arrietty. He really is a sweet boy, and I’m glad he at least has some “friends’ in that mausoleum. He would probably take them anywhere they wanted to go if it were possible. I wish I knew what his name was.
Homily is in a tailspin. What will befall them in their new home?
I’m surprised Mrs. Driver went back to the kitchen after discovering “hundreds of mice” under the floor. I’m sure she didn’t suspect the boy at that point, although she’s pretty crafty. She probably thought she would catch someone in the act. Maybe the old lady . . .