He looked at her in amazement. Then the truth burst upon him. He was the father of seven, and was awkwardly seated upon three of them.
* * * * *
She had been a good wife to him, this first. He had three especial favourites, the first, the third, and the sixth, but it was unquestionably the first that he had been the most proud of. She was a veritable queen among mice, and he had fought five suitors to win her. The madness of it! He had gone from basement to ceiling, challenging all and sundry who ventured to dispute his claim. But she was worth it. All he knew of house-life he had learnt from her. It was she who showed him the way to rob a trap. First she would sit upon the spring-door and satisfy herself that it was not lightly set, then with flattened body she would steal beneath it, and push, instead of pull, the bait.
[Illustration: FIRST SHE WOULD SIT UPON THE SPRING-DOOR.]
Under her guidance he learnt every nook and corner of the rambling house, the swiftest ways