Opposite to him--as far away as he could sit--was an enormous rat.
"What do you mean by tumbling into my bed all covered with smuts?" said the rat, chattering his teeth.
Even the hardiest of them heartily disliked the turn and the man, although Duckworth, and Duckworth's Trained Cats and Rats, were an invariable popular success.
All the cat has been beaten out of their blood, and they've become rats. You can't tell me.
"Yes," said the rat. "I've come to tell you that we are leaving this one.
"We always know," answered the rat. "The tips of our tails get that tingly feeling--like when your foot's asleep.
"Keep your eye on the rats
. You better have the lead in your lap, handy."
Poor rats! They seem only to exist so that cats and dogs may gain credit for killing them and chemists make a fortune by inventing specialties in poison for their destruction.
No tale of horror is complete without the rats. In stories of ghosts and murderers they scamper through the echoing rooms, and the gnawing of their teeth is heard behind the wainscot, and their gleaming eyes peer through the holes in the worm-eaten tapestry, and they scream in shrill, unearthly notes in the dead of night, while the moaning wind sweeps, sobbing, round the ruined turret towers, and passes wailing like a woman through the chambers bare and tenantless.
The creatures had crept downwards with the subsidence of the rick till they were all together at the bottom, and being now uncovered from their last refuge they ran across the open ground in all directions, a loud shriek from the by-this-time half-tipsy Marian informing her companions that one of the rats
had invaded her person--a terror which the rest of the women had guarded against by various schemes of skirt-tucking and self-elevation.
"Neither my master nor any other person gave me any arsenic to destroy rats
at any time.
I am the rat-catcher!...Let me pass, with my rats