Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Floating above Mr Woodruffe, like a dense cloud of growing things, was the Green Mouse.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: This chapter stands out to me as one of the most unearthly and magical in the entire Deptford Mice Trilogy. For a few short pages, we see Fennywolde as it might be without the strife and strain of evil deeds and suspicion. After the horror of Hodge’s fate last chapter, the contrast is immediately, strikingly apparent. Transported with Audrey into an ethereal Midsummer’s Eve revel, we have the privilege of entering the presence of the Green Mouse, himself, and watching the night unfold in all its toe-tingling wonder.
While I was rereading, I remembered and anticipated the appearance of the Green and the Midsummer dancing, but the arrival of the Lady of the Moon surprised me. When I came to the part where she descends in a glimmering cloud, I was overwhelmed with the memory of the awe I had felt when I read this sequence for the first time as a child.
There is a lot of esotericism of various kinds in Mr Jarvis’ work, and the machinations of dark gods are ever present, but the Midsummer’s Eve scene is a rare glimpse into a more uplifting spiritual experience than we have yet witnessed in this trilogy. It even surpasses Audrey’s mousebrass ceremony. However, as then, it marks our heroine out for her tall and dangerous destiny.
My favourite little detail in this chapter is the hawthorn blossom. Back in Chapter 5, I noticed that aside and knew that Oswald’s parting gift to Audrey would turn up later, and of course, it did! Nothing in a Robin Jarvis book is ever superfluous, and no passing mention is ever just a passing mention. Keep your wits about you, dear Readers, because like Oswald’s hawthorn, there are a lot of things in this chapter which will make a second appearance further on.
Matt’s Thoughts: There’s a sort of polytheistic element to the Green Mouse, reading this. He’s a singular, but yet he’s described as being ‘like a dense cloud of growing things’ (plural). Plus when he addresses Audrey, he says ‘We are pleased with you little one.’ (Unless this is a Royal ‘We’?)
Either way, it’s a great vision. But the part that affected me the most was Isaac Nettle. He sits with a scowl on his face not seeming to see what is going on, but ‘praying sourly’. It’s tragic and pointed – the mouse who makes the most noise about being loyal to the Green is the one that turns his back on the Green Mouse when He is present.
Anyway, lest this all seem too happy (this is not Tolkien, where we spend very long chapters in Elvish places while the action stops), we get that rather grim foreshadowing of Piccadilly being chased by rats, spears and ice and snow … Winter is coming, as some folks might say.
Oh yeah, and Madame Akkikuyu is on a frog-killing expedition. It’s all happening.