Mrs. Peter Rabbit by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XI. Peter Rabbit Has a Sudden Change of Mind
Whatever you decide to do Make up your mind to see it through. Peter Rabbit.
Peter Rabbit stared at the two soft, gentle eyes peeping at him from behind the big fern just back of the sunning-bank in the far corner of the Old Pasture. He had so fully expected to see the angry face of the big, gray, old Rabbit who had made life so miserable for him that for a minute he couldn't believe that he really saw what he did see. And so he just stared and stared. It was very rude. Of course it was. It was very rude indeed. It is always rude to stare at any one. So it was no wonder that after a minute the two soft, gentle eyes disappeared behind one of the great green leaves of the fern. Peter gave a great sigh. Then he remembered how rude he had been to stare so.
"I--I beg your pardon," said Peter in his politest manner, which is very polite indeed, for Peter can be very polite when he wants to be. "I beg your pardon. I didn't mean to frighten you. Please forgive me."
With the greatest eagerness Peter waited for a reply. You know it was because he had been so lonesome that he had left his home in the dear Old Briar-patch on the Green Meadows. And since he had been in the Old Pasture he had been almost as lonesome, for he had had no one to talk to. So now he waited eagerly for a reply. You see, he felt sure that the owner of such soft, gentle eyes must have a soft, gentle voice and a soft, gentle heart, and there was nothing in the world that Peter needed just then so much as sympathy. But though he waited and waited, there wasn't a sound from the big fern.
"Perhaps you don't know who I am. I'm Peter Rabbit, and I've come up here from the Green Meadows, and I'd like very much to be your friend," continued Peter after a while. Still there was no sound. Peter peeped from the corner of one eye at the place where he had seen the two soft, gentle eyes, but there was nothing to be seen but the gently waving leaf of the big fern. Peter didn't know just what to do. He wanted to hop over to the big fern and peep behind it, but he didn't dare to. He was afraid that whoever was hiding there would run away.
"I'm very lonesome; won't you speak to me?" said Peter, in his gentlest voice, and he sighed a deep, doleful sort of sigh. Still there was no reply. Peter had just about made up his mind that he would go over to the big fern when he saw those two soft, gentle eyes peeping from under a different leaf. It seemed to Peter that never in all his life had he seen such beautiful eyes. They looked so shy and bashful that Peter held his breath for fear that he would frighten them away.
After a time the eyes disappeared. Then Peter saw a little movement among the ferns, and he knew that whoever was there was stealing away. He wanted to follow, but something down inside him warned him that It was best to sit still. So Peter sat just where he was and kept perfectly still for the longest time.
But the eyes didn't appear again, and at last he felt sure that whoever they belonged to had really gone away. Then he sighed another great sigh, for suddenly he felt more lonesome than ever. He hopped over to the big fern and looked behind it. There in the soft earth was a footprint, the footprint of a Rabbit, and it was smaller than his own. It seemed to Peter that it was the most wonderful little footprint he ever had seen.
"I believe," said Peter right out loud, "that I'll change my mind. I won't go back to the dear Old Briar-patch just yet, after all."