I opened an e-mail this morning from Care2, an animal welfare site. I 've gotten e-mails from this site in the past, but always deleted them without a thought. This time the subject piqued my interest. "Mouse rescued in English woman's teacup". Who would not link to such a whimsical tease?
What I found was a charmingly understated anecdote about that timeworn dichotomy of man and...well, beastie. A British woman, Marguerite White, tells how she discovered a diminutive mouse in her kitchen. Miss White noticed that her kitten was transfixed by something. When she saw what it was, she resourcefully scooped up the mouse in an empty teacup. She nurtured the rodent waif for three weeks before she felt it was big and strong enough to fend for itself. Thereupon she set it free in her garden.
Miss White's mouse is unlike any mouse I have ever encountered indoors or out. When I was growing up, my brother and I slept on one side of the remodeled front of the basement. The other side had a table and chairs, and a piano. The piano became the haunt of a family of mice. They were not welcome squatters. For a week we heard one trap snap after another. That was the end of the chittering and the cheeps.
Years later, my wife and I were having our kitchen made over. This gave brother mouse a window---actually a space where the baseboard had been---of opportunity. The following morning we spent over an hour chasing this elusive intruder until we shut him up in the upstairs closet. We didn't open that closet for months.
As one can see, my love for animals does have boundaries. Just the same, I think what Miss White did was admirable and meritorious. If I could, I would nominate her for a SPCA award. Yet I imagine that being a Brit, she probably has read Shakespeare. So she must know very well that discretion---especially when it comes to mice--- is the better part of valor.