by Mary Norton
illustrated by Diana Stanley
Week of August 2, 2009
Since being seen, Pod has confined his “borrowing” to the kitchen area to replenish their fuel and food. A little more difficult, as he has to go at night, up the mouse hole, to arrive at his destination under the stove in the kitchen. Pretty risky depending on how hot the stove is. He is more nervous on his expeditions now. He will be moving about the entire house as Mrs. Driver, the housekeeper, is out. Pod is fearful about the “boy”, since he doesn’t know if he is still in the house. Against Pod’s arguments, Homily calls for Arrietty and asks if she would like to go with her father and borrow some brush fiber from the doormat in the hall.
Arrietty was beside herself with excitement. Pod explains that they will take three bags for borrowing as a bad borrower loses many a chance for lack of an extra bag. She watched him open the special gates and told her never to close a gate on the way “out” to borrow, just in case they need to get back through quickly.
They proceed out the passageways until they are under the clock. Arrietty felt tears in her eyes and a swelling of pride as she looked up and down and around underneath the clock and at the movement of the gleaming pendulum. So this, at last, was The Clock! “Their clock . . . after which her family was named. For two hundred years it had stood here, deep-voiced and patient, guarding their threshold and measuring their time.”
Pod instructed Arrietty to “Keep your eyes on me.” She saw the gleaming golden stone of the floor of the hall stretching away into the distance; the edges of rugs, like richly colored islands in a molten sea; and, in a glory of sunlight, like a dreamed-of gateway to fairyland- the open front door. Beyond she saw grass and against the clear, bright sky, a waiving frond of green. Pod told her to “Wait and watch.” Then he was gone in a flash. Arrietty waited and watched him dart here and there and finally he waved for her to come to him. She felt the warmth of the stones underfoot, the sunlight on her face and hands, the awful space above and around her. She gazed about and saw great chair legs rising up with shadowed undersides of their seats spread like canopies. All this time, she heard the clock speak – measuring out the seconds, spreading its layers of calm. Then she glimpsed the graveled path, full of colored stones, the size of walnuts. She saw a grassy bank rising steeply to a tangled hedge and beyond the fruit trees bright with blossom.
Pod passed her a bag and they went to work pulling fiber from the door rug. Pod worked quickly making small bundles. He explained that you put things immediately into the bag in case you have to run quick as “you don’t want to leave nothing behind.”
Since the fibers in the rug were very stiff and sharp and Arrietty’s hands soft, Pod told her to sit peek out of doors, especially since this was her first time upstairs.
Arrietty’s first time out “borrowing.” I can only imagine her excitement. She’s like a sponge taking in all the instruction that Pod gives her about borrowing. I think she is going to do well.
The description of Pod after he left her at the clock was interesting. His disappearing and reappearing, all very professional, careful, quiet. She did well to do exactly as Pod said and just sit there and watch for him.
I loved the part about her pride in the Clock. Arrietty feels a real sense of attachment and pride in that clock that has stood there for 200 years guarding the entrance to their apartment under the floor.
She is going to have lots to write about in her diary, for sure, and
probably won’t sleep for days because she is just too excited with everything
she has seen and learned. Her own little world has just opened up into a big
new world. Pod and Homily are never going to be able to keep Arrietty from the
outside world again.
Well, Pod did pretty good, considering he didn't really want to take her along. And Arrietty did pretty good, considering she wanted to do way more than get bristles for the brush!
I loved how she was extra good for three weeks, just so she wouldn't
blow her chances!
Yes, Arrietty was pretty patient and apparently didn’t hound her parents to go out borrowing. That must have been difficult for her. And the fact that she did everything Pod told her to do when they went upstairs. With so many new things to see and explore, she did well to stay put and watch Pod until he gave her permission to move.
I just had a thought, a little out there, but . . . since the Clocks
are the only family left in the house, what will happen to Arrietty when her
parents are gone? She will be alone. What about a husband?? They need some new
neighbors, quick!!! I hate to think of her all alone in the house, living under
the floorboards, with no one to share her life with. I know this isn't in the
chapter, but my mind was wandering.
I know--I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps when she is older, the
parents will just HAVE to emigrate and find more of their own kind.