The Borrowers

by Mary Norton
illustrated by Diana Stanley

The Borrowers

Week of December 28, 2009


Chapter 20:


“So that is the end,” said Kate.  “Yes,” said Mrs. May, “it could be.  Or the beginning.”  The boy never saw the Borrowers again, but Mrs. May knows they escaped through the grating.  She believes that they went across the fields and along the gas-pipe.  She feels certain that they took a little something from the house with them on their trip across the fields.  She is also certain that they might be destitute, but that Homily would be in her element, putting on her apron and bustling and fussing about over the men, and she would cook and clean and make them wipe their feet on a piece of moss when they came in.  When Kate asked “Were they all boys”, Mrs. May said “Yes, Harpsichords and Clocks.  And they’d spoil Arrietty dreadfully.”


They had a wonderful life.  The badger sets are almost like villages, full of passages and chambers and storehouses.  There was all manner of food for them to survive on: hazel nuts, beechnuts and chestnuts; corn to gather and store and grind into flour; honey; elderflower tea and lime tea.  The boys could fish for minnows.  They had bird eggs, and greens for salads. 


Of course, there was danger also with weasels, crows, and stoats and all, but Mrs. May explained there was danger everywhere, no more for them than for humans. 


Mrs. May believes that Pod, Homily and Arrietty did not actually live in the badger set but instead lived by the gas-pipe.  They would have dug a tunnel off the badger set, and create a big chamber, and off the chamber would be little rooms.  They used pinholes, with stoppers, in the gas-pipe so that they could light the gas, and that is where they would cook.  They also had an air hole.  Mrs. May explained that she knew they had one as she smelled “hot-pot” one day where she was there.  She never saw the Borrowers, but when she stayed at Aunt Sophy’s home just before Aunt Sophy went into the nursing home, she took all the furniture out of the doll’s house, put it all into a pillowcase, and went up to the fields.  She purchased tea and coffee beans, salt, pepper and cloves and a great packet of lump sugar.  She took little pieces of silk and fish bones for needles, a tiny thimble and a whole collection of scraps and cracker things.  She sat and waited for hours enjoying the beautiful scenery, but no Borrowers appeared so she finally left.  When she came back the next day, the pillowcase and everything in it was gone.  She searched and searched for any clue but there was nothing.  That was the day she smelled “hot-pot.”  Three weeks later, the day before she left Aunt Sophy’s home, she returned to the fields and found a book called “Memoranda,” the book with blank pages, Arrietty’s book.  Kate sat silent and said “Then that proves it, underground chamber and all.”  “Not quite,” said Mrs. May.  You see, “Arrietty used to make her ‘e’s’ like little half-moons with a stroke in the middle.”  Mrs. May laughed and said, “My brother did too.”




Oh no, who wrote “Memoranda” on the book?  Was it Arrietty or was it the boy???  I would like to think it was Arrietty’s book.


There seems to be some proof that someone was living by the gas-pipe but was it Pod, Homily and Arrietty?  I would like to think that they are all comfortably ensconced in their new home next to the gas-pipe and that they have neighbors now.  This is Mrs. May’s version of what she thinks happened based upon little things she saw or imagined so could it be true? 


It sounds like Homily could be very happy in her new home and with other Borrowers to care for.  I can just imagine dinner time.  It must have been very busy and noisy and Homily running around getting all the food on the table.  Yes, right in her element.


Still nothing on Aunt Lupy or Eggletina.  Uncle Hendreary was not mentioned either.  I wonder if he lives nearby. 




I would like to think the memoranda was written by Arrietty  but I just have a feeling it was the boy. ;(  After all the boy Mrs. May's brother, made his E's just like Arrietty so we may never know ;( I also think Homily, Arrietty and Pod are living around the gas pipe and love the way they could turn on and off the gas when needed... They must be living comfortable.  I, for so long, thought the BOY was taking them back to his home.  And I like the way  Mrs. May took a pillowcase of goods to them, how sweet. 



I have a feeling it might have been the boy also. But if it was him, he must
have done it at an earlier time because he never saw Arrietty again. Maybe when
she read to him in the field, he did it. I'm just not sure. Arrietty kept a
diary. Would she have a "Memoranda" book also? Was it hers and the boy wrote
on it?

I also think they must have been very comfortable in their new home. Not at all
like Homily thought it would be. They were quite creative in making a home and
making it comfortable so I am sure it must have been very nice. And Homily had
other people to fuss over and that must have made her very happy. Pod could
finally get some sleep at night because the roof wasn't lifting up and furniture
being set down for him to move around at Homily's insistence. And Arrietty must
have had the run of the place and able to go outside. What fun for her.

Pretty much a happy ending, except I wish there had been something more about
Eggletina and Aunt Lupy. And I wish the boy could have seen Pod, Homily and
Arrietty again, or Mrs. May could have seen them just once. How wonderful it
would have been if Pod, Homily and Arrietty could have met the sister of the
boy!! Arrietty would have been over the moon. Mrs. May obviously was a very
thoughtful and kind person to try to find the Borrowers and then to take the
furniture, supplies, and food for them. I so wish she could have seen them.