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- The Adventures of Poor Mrs. Quack - 1/10 -
The Bedtime Story-Books
THE ADVENTURES OF POOR MRS. QUACK
THORNTON W. BURGESS
Author of "Old Mother West Wind," "The Bedtime Story-Books," etc.
I. Peter Rabbit Becomes Acquainted with Mrs. Quack II. Mrs. Quack is Distrustful III. Mrs. Quack Tells About Her Home IV. Mrs. Quack Continues Her Story V. Peter Learns More of Mrs. Quack's Troubles VI. Farmer Brown's Boy Visits the Smiling Pool VII. Mrs. Quack Returns VIII. Mrs. Quack Has a Good Meal and a Rest IX. Peter Rabbit Makes an Early Call X. How Mr. and Mrs. Quack Started North XI. The Terrible, Terrible Guns XII. What Did Happen to Mr. Quack XIII. Peter Tells About Mrs. Quack XIV. Sammy Jay's Plan to Help Mrs. Quack XV. The Hunt for Mr. Quack XVI. Sammy Jay Sees Something Green XVII. Mr. Quack Is Found at Last XVIII.Sammy Jay Sends Mrs. Quack to the Swamp XIX. Jerry Muskrat's Great Idea XX. Happy Days for Mr. and Mrs. Quack
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"Marshes must be something like swamps," ventured Peter Rabbit Frontispiece
Several times she circled around, high over the Smiling Pool
"Some folks call him Alligator and some just 'Gator"
"Just tuck that fact away in that empty head of yours and never say can't"
"Yes," said he in a low voice, "I am Mr. Quack"
Those were happy days indeed for Mr. and Mrs. Quack in the pond of Paddy the Beaver
PETER RABBIT BECOMES ACQUAINTED WITH MRS. QUACK
Make a new acquaintance every time you can; You'll find it interesting and a very helpful plan.
It means more knowledge. You cannot meet any one without learning something from him if you keep your ears open and your eyes open. Every one is at least a little different from every one else, and the more people you know, the more you may learn. Peter Rabbit knows this, and that is one reason he always is so eager to find out about other people. He had left Jimmy Skunk and Bobby Coon in the Green Forest and had headed for the Smiling Pool to see if Grandfather Frog was awake yet. He had no idea of meeting a stranger there, and so you can imagine just how surprised he was when he got in sight of the Smiling Pool to see some one whom he never had seen before swimming about there. He knew right away who it was. He knew that it was Mrs. Quack the Duck, because he had often heard about her. And then, too, it was very clear from her looks that she was a cousin of the ducks he had seen in Farmer Brown's dooryard. The difference was that while they were big and white and stupid-looking, Mrs. Quack was smaller, brown, very trim, and looked anything but stupid.
Peter was so surprised to see her in the Smiling Pool that he almost forgot to be polite. I am afraid he stared in a very impolite way as he hurried to the edge of the bank. "I suppose," said Peter, "that you are Mrs. Quack, but I never expected to see you unless I should go over to the Big River, and that is a place I never have visited and hardly expect to because it is too far from the dear Old Briar-patch. You are Mrs. Quack, aren't you?"
"Yes," replied Mrs. Quack, "and you must be Peter Rabbit. I've heard of you very often." All the time Mrs. Quack was swimming back and forth and in little circles in the most uneasy way.
"I hope you've heard nothing but good of me," replied Peter.
Mrs. Quack stopped her uneasy swimming for a minute and almost smiled as she looked at Peter, "The worst I have heard is that you are very curious about other people's affairs," said she.
Peter looked a wee, wee bit foolish, and then he laughed right out. "I guess that is true enough," said he. "I like to learn all I can, and how can I learn without being curious? I'm curious right now. I'm wondering what brings you to the Smiling Pool when you never have been here before. It is the last place in the world I ever expected to find you."
"That's why I'm here," replied Mrs. Quack. "I hope others feel the same way. I came here because I just HAD to find some place where people wouldn't expect to find me and so wouldn't come looking for me. Little Joe Otter saw me yesterday on the Big River and told me of this place, and so, because I just had to go somewhere, I came here."
Peter's eyes opened very wide with surprise. "Why," he exclaimed, "I should think you would be perfectly safe on the Big River! I don't see how any harm can possibly come to you out there."
The words were no sooner out of Peter's mouth than a faint bang sounded from way off towards the Big River. Mrs. Quack gave a great start and half lifted her wings as if to fly. But she thought better of it, and then Peter saw that she was trembling all over.
"Did you hear that?" she asked in a faint voice.
Peter nodded. "That was a gun, a terrible gun, but it was a long way from here," said he.
"It was over on the Big River," said Mrs. Quack. "That's why it isn't safe for me over there. That's why I just had to find some other place. Oh, dear, the very sound of a gun sets me to shaking and makes my heart feel as if it would stop beating. Are you sure I am perfectly safe here?"
"Perfectly," spoke up Jerry Muskrat, who had been listening from the top of the Big Rock, where he was lunching on a clam, "unless you are not smart enough to keep out of the clutches of Reddy Fox or Old Man Coyote or Hooty the Owl or Redtail the Hawk."
"I'm not afraid of THEM," declared Mrs. Quack. "It's those two-legged creatures with terrible guns I'm afraid of," and she began to swim about more uneasily than ever.
MRS. QUACK IS DISTRUSTFUL
Jerry Muskrat thinks there is no place in the world like the Smiling Pool. So, for the matter of that, does Grandfather Frog and also Spotty the Turtle. You see, they have spent their lives there and know little about the rest of the Great World. When Mrs. Quack explained that all she feared was that a two-legged creature with a terrible gun might find her there, Jerry Muskrat hastened to tell her that she had nothing to worry about on that account.
"No one hunts here now that Farmer Brown's boy has put away his terrible gun," explained Jerry. "There was a time when he used to hunt here and set traps, which are worse than terrible guns, but that was long ago, before he knew any better."
"Who is Farmer Brown's boy?" demanded Mrs. Quack, looking more anxious than ever. "Is he one of those two-legged creatures?"
"Yes," said Peter Rabbit, who had been listening with all his ears, "but he is the best friend we Quaddies have got. He is such a good friend that he ought to be a Quaddy himself. Why, this last winter he fed some of us when food was scarce, and he saved Mrs. Grouse when she was caught in a snare, which you know is a kind of trap. He won't let any harm come to you here, Mrs. Quack."
"I wouldn't trust him, not for one single little minute," declared Mrs. Quack. "I wouldn't trust one of those two-legged creatures, not ONE. You say he fed some of you last winter, but that doesn't mean anything good. Do you know what I've known these two-legged creatures to do?"
"What?" demanded Peter and Jerry together.
"I've known them to scatter food where we Ducks would be sure to find it and to take the greatest care that nothing should frighten us while we were eating. And then, after we had got in the habit of feeding in that particular place and had grown to feel perfectly safe there, they have hidden close by until a lot of us were feeding together and then fired their terrible guns and killed a lot of my friends and dreadfully hurt a lot more. I wouldn't trust one of them, not ONE!" "Oh, how dreadful!" cried Peter, looking quite as shocked as he felt. Then he added eagerly, "But our Farmer Brown's boy wouldn't do anything like that. You haven't the least thing to fear from him."
"Perhaps not," said Mrs. Quack, shaking her head doubtfully, "but I wouldn't trust him. I wouldn't trust him as far off as I could
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