"I'm not afraid of rats; I will help you to find him; and whip him too!
"Yes, it is infested with rats," said Tabitha tearfully, "I caught seven young ones out of one hole in the back kitchen, and we had them for dinner last Saturday.
"The rats get upon my nerves, Cousin Ribby," said Tabitha.
Now this is what had been happening to Tom Kitten, and it shows how very unwise it is to go up a chimney in a very old house, where a person does not know his way, and where there are enormous rats.
The two rats consulted together for a few minutes and then went away.
Presently the rats came back and set to work to make him into a dumpling.
The rats dropped the rolling-pin, and listened attentively.
But there was a strong smell of rats; and John Joiner spent the rest of the morning sniffing and whining, and wagging his tail, and going round and round with his head in the hole like a gimlet.
After that, there were no more rats for a long time at Tabitha Twitchit's.
They hang up the rats' tails in a row or the barn door, to show how many they have caught--dozens and dozens of them.
"The rats are bad enough," said Miss Merle Merryweather.
Naturally, the cats that performed with the rats were too cowed for this.