Chapter XXIII. Peter Introduces Mrs. Peter
   It's what you do for others,
     Not what they do for you,
   That makes you feel so happy
     All through and through and through.
                            Peter Rabbit.

Peter Rabbit made a wry face as he listened to Sammy Jay shrieking at the top of his voice as he flew through the Green Forest and over the Green Meadows," Peter Rabbit's married!" "Peter Rabbit's married!" He saw the Merry Little Breezes who, you know, are the children of Old Mother West Wind, start for the dear Old Briar-patch as soon as they heard Sammy Jay, and he knew that they would be only the first of a lot of visitors. He hurried to where Mrs. Peter was hiding under a sweet- briar bush.

"Do you hear what that mischief-maker, Sammy Jay, is screaming?" asked Peter.

Mrs. Peter nodded. "Don't--don't you think it sounds kind of--well, kind of nice, Peter?" she asked in a bashful sort of way.

Peter chuckled. "It sounds more than kind of nice to me," said he. "Do you know, I used to think that Sammy Jay never did and never could say anything nice, but I've just changed my mind. Though he isn't saying it to be nice, it really is the nicest thing I've ever heard him say. We haven't been able to keep our secret, so I think the very best thing we can do is to invite everybody to call. Then we can get it over with and have a little time to ourselves. Here come the Merry Little Breezes, and I know that they will be glad to take the invitations for us."

Mrs. Peter agreed, for she thought that anything Peter did or suggested was just about right. So the Merry Little Breezes were soon skipping and dancing over the Green Meadows and through the Green Forest with this message:

"Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rabbit will be at home in the Old Briar-patch to their friends to-morrow after-noon at shadow-time."

"Why did you make it at shadow-time?" asked Mrs. Peter.

"Because that will give all our friends a chance to come," replied Peter. "Those who sleep through the day will have waked up, and those who sleep through the night will not have gone to bed. Besides, it will be safer for some of the smallest of them if the Black Shadows are about for them to hide in on their way here."

"How thoughtful you are," said little Mrs. Peter with a little sigh of happiness.

Of course, every one who could walk, creep, or fly headed for the Old Briar-patch the next day at shadow-time, for almost every one knows and loves Peter Rabbit, and of course every one was very anxious to meet Mrs. Peter. From the Smiling Pool came Billy Mink, Little Joe Otter, Jerry Muskrat, Spotty the Turtle, and old Grandfather Frog. From the Green Forest came Bobby Coon, Unc' Billy Possum and Mrs. Possum, Prickly Porky the Porcupine, Whitefoot the Woodmouse, Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, Blacky the Crow, Sammy Jay, Ol' Mistah Buzzard, Mistah Mockingbird, and Sticky-toes the Treetoad. From the Green Meadows came Danny Meadow Mouse, Old Mr. Toad, Digger the Badger, Jimmy Skunk, and Striped Chipmunk, who lives near the old stone- wall between the edge of the Green Meadows and the Green Forest. Johnny and Polly Chuck came down from the Old Orchard and Drummer the Woodpecker came from the same place.

Of course Old Man Coyote paid his respects, and when he came everybody but Prickly Porky and Digger the Badger and Jimmy Skunk made way for him with great respect. Granny and Reddy Fox and Hooty the Owl didn't call, but they sat where they could look on and make fun. You see, Peter had fooled all three so many times that they felt none too friendly.

Very proud looked Peter as he stood under a bramble-bush with Mrs. Peter by his side and introduced her to his many friends, and very sweet and modest and retiring looked little Mrs. Peter as she sat beside him. Everybody said that she was "too sweet for anything", and when Reddy Fox overheard that remark he grinned and said:

"Not for me! She can't be too sweet for me, and I hope I'll have a chance to find out just how sweet she is."

What do you suppose he meant?