The Borrowers

by Mary Norton
illustrated by Diana Stanley

The Borrowers

Week of December 21, 2009


Chapter 19:


And so, it is the end of the story.  Kate is upset because this can’t be the end.  “Something more must have happened.”  Mrs. May explained that a lot more happened.  Kate doesn’t understand and asked Mrs. May why she said it was the end.  Because, she explained, “he never saw them again.”  She went on to say that “stories never really end.  They can go on and on and on.  It’s just that sometimes, at a certain point, one stops telling them.”  Kate said, “Not at this point,” and that Mrs. May didn’t mean it when she said her brother never saw them again.  But that is just what happened.  There was a boat headed for India at the end of the week and a family who could take her brother.  For the three days before he left, he was kept locked up in the schoolroom/nursery.  Mrs. Driver told Aunt Sophy that he had a cold but she really was keeping him out of the way until she got rid of the Borrowers. 


Every day when Mrs. Driver would bring his meals, she would bring furniture and items from the Borrowers’ home and make the boy put everything back in the dollhouse.  She would torment him with stories of what was going on.  It seems the town rat-catcher didn’t come, although they got a local fellow for the job.  The policeman came but he turned out to be someone Mrs. Driver used to chase for stealing russet apples near the gate.  He gave Mrs. Driver strange looks as she was telling the story and so that investigation didn’t really go anywhere.  A cat was used, but the cat only had two things on its mind – to get out of the house or into the larder.


Finally, it was time for the boy to leave.  Mrs. Driver took him in to say goodbye to Aunt Sophy.  He had a strange look on his face and Aunt Sophy mocked him and asked “Seasick already?”  He explained that it was just the smell that bothered him.  Mrs. Driver said it was the rat-catcher down in the kitchen.  Aunt Sophy laughed when she heard they were smoking the Borrowers out and said that if Mrs. Driver doesn’t like them, she should keep the Madeira corked.  Mrs. Driver is miffed that Aunt Sophy still doesn’t believe her about the Borrowers and will show her when they finally catch them and she lays them out on a newspaper in front of her.


Mrs. Driver decides to torment the boy one more time before they leave and takes him to the kitchen to see the Borrowers caught.  He refuses to go.  He notices that Pod’s clock entrance hole has been discovered and sealed up.  The rat-catcher will seal up all the exits and smoke them out.  Mrs. Driver dragged him into the kitchen.  Crampfurl was holding back the rat-catcher’s terriers which were yelping and barking.  The policeman was there, “out of interest” and said “Seeing’s believing!”  A boy from the village was there with a ferret.  The rat-catcher is in the process of smoking the Borrowers out.  While everyone was busy, the boy backed up and got hold of the rat-catcher’s pick-ax.  He ran to the clock in the hall and aimed at blow at the covered hole.  However, he could not break through.  He tried several times but to no avail.  He saw the cab coming toward the house but when he heard the rat-catcher say “ventilation”, he knew what he had to do.  He raced around the side of the house and struck a blow at the grating in the Borrowers’ apartment and a couple more blows broke it apart.  This would give them some breathing air.  He had no time to waste and tossed the pick-ax up into the long grass by the cherry tree and ran toward the cab.




This is a rather sad chapter.  No happy ending here.  The Borrowers have been discovered and their home is destroyed.  The boy has to leave without seeing the Borrowers again and knowing they are safe. 


Mrs. Driver enjoys taunting the boy when she delivers his meals.  She brings dollhouse furniture from the Borrowers’ apartment and makes him put the furniture back in the dollhouse.  Even Aunt Sophy is mean and mocks him about being seasick as he is getting ready to leave her home and return to India.  They treated him terribly the whole time he was at the house recuperating from his illness.  I feel bad for him.  He really needed someone to give him a big hug and let him know they cared.  But, of course, they don't care about him. It is a good thing he is getting out of that house, but very sad that he will not see the Borrowers again. 


It would have been interesting if somehow Pod, Homily and Arrietty had snuck into the boy’s traveling bags and wound up in India with the boy.  That would have made a neat book, but I guess not meant to be.  It could have been quite funny, too, what with Homily’s ideas about lifestyle, although I am sure she would somehow adapt and make do.  Hmmmmm, I wonder if there are Borrowers in India??



I so agree.  I was hoping the three got into the boy’s bag and went to India also, but then again this ending leaves A LOT to the imagination.



I know.  I guess it's like Mrs. May says, the story goes on and on but we are not involved in it any more.  Sort of like those movies that end with a question and one doesn't know exactly what will happen next and has to work out their own ending.



I enjoyed this book so much that I read all the others too. All were as good as this one.



I read all five books too.  I liked this one the best.