Mrs. Peter Rabbit by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XVI. Peter Rabbit's Looking-Glass
If people by their looks are judged, As judged they're sure to be, Why each should always look his best, I'm sure you will agree. Peter Rabbit.
For the first time in his life Peter Rabbit had begun to think about his clothes. Always he had been such a happy-go-lucky fellow that it never had entered his head to care how he looked. He laughed at Sammy Jay for thinking so much of that beautiful blue-and-white coat he wears, and he poked fun at Reddy Fox for bragging so much about his handsome suit. As for himself, Peter didn't care how he looked. If his coat was whole, or in rags and tags, it was all the same to Peter. But now Peter, sitting on the edge of his sunning-bank in the far corner of the Old Pasture, suddenly realized that he wanted to be good-looking. Yes, Sir, he wanted to be good-looking. He wished that he were bigger. He wished that he were the biggest and strongest Rabbit in the world. He wished that he had a handsome coat. And it was all because of the soft, gentle eyes of little Miss Fuzzytail that he had seen peeping out at him so often. He felt sure that it was little Miss Fuzzytail herself who had left the pile of sweet clover close by his sunning-bank the other day while he was asleep.
The fact is, Peter Rabbit was falling in love. Yes, Sir, Peter Rabbit was falling in love. All he had seen of little Miss Fuzzytail were her soft, gentle eyes, for she was very shy and had kept out of sight. But ever since he had first seen them, he had thought and dreamed of nothing else, until it seemed as if there were nothing in the world he wanted so much as to meet her. Perhaps he would have wanted this still more if he had known that it was she who had fooled her father, Old Jed Thumper, the big, gray, old Rabbit, so that Peter might have the long nap on the sunning-bank he so needed.
"I've just got to meet her. I've just got to!" said Peter to himself, and right then he began to wish that he were big and fine-looking.
"My, I must be a sight!" he thought, "I wonder how I do look, anyway. I must hunt up a looking-glass and find out."
Now when Peter Rabbit thinks of doing a thing, he wastes very little time. It was that way now. He started at once for the bit of swamp where he had first seen the tracks of Old Jed Thumper. He still limped from the wounds made by Hooty the Owl. But in spite of this he could travel pretty fast, and it didn't take him long to reach the swamp.
There, just as he expected, he found a looking-glass. What was it like? Why, it was just a tiny pool of water. Yes, Sir, it was a quiet pool of water that reflected the ferns growing around it and the branches of the trees hanging over it, and Peter Rabbit himself sitting on the edge of it. That was Peter's looking-glass.
For a long time he stared into it. At last he gave a great sigh. "My, but I am a sight!" he exclaimed.
He was. His coat was ragged and torn from the claws of Hooty the Owl and the teeth of Old Jed Thumper. The white patch on the seat of his trousers was stained and dirty from sitting down in the mud. There were burrs tangled in his waistcoat. He was thin and altogether a miserable looking Rabbit.
"It must be that Miss Fuzzytail just pities me. She certainly can't admire me," muttered Peter, as he pulled out the burrs.
For the next hour Peter was very busy. He washed and he brushed and he combed. When, at last, he had done all that he could, he took another look in his looking-glass, and what he saw was a very different looking Rabbit.
"Though I am homely, lank and lean, I can at least be neat and clean,"
said he, as he started back for the sunning-bank.