Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘I’ll tell you what that shameful, soap-livered piece of scum did with those mice – he made friends with them!’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I really, really, really, bleedin’, bloomerin’, blitherin’ love Scabmona. I love how she and Fleabee are total opposites, and I love how Robin seems to have such fun writing our heroine’s horrible little sister. If this book were a 90s Saturday morning cartoon for all the little rotters of the sewers, Scabmona would be the star, having increasingly nasty adventures each week and facing down such nefarious always-do-wells as the traitorous ‘Orace Baldmony.
It makes me chortle how the idea of ‘Orace befriending the mice is positively tear-inducing to her – it’s not the killings or the peelings that make this little goblin cry, but that a fine, upstanding rat would go singing and dancing with prissy, goody-goody little mice. Then there’s the part where hardened ratwife Klakkweena describes being summoned before Jupiter for the first time in a traumatised whisper, only for Scabmona to exclaim ‘Can’t wait!’. Same girl, same.
Matt’s Thoughts: I had completely forgotten the story of ‘Orace in this chapter. That actually explains quite a few things that I hadn’t fully appreciated before:
- Way back in Chapter 1 of The Dark Portal, Albert Brown was telling Piccadilly about how bad the rats were around Deptford, and Piccadilly was quite skeptical of this. But now if we know there was a story passed down to the mice (if not in living memory of people like Master Oldnose) of a massacre caused by a bad friendship with a rat, that would explain their fear.
- It also explains the origin of the enchantment on the Grill (with no e, regardless of what the book says!) and why that particular house had a cursed Grill, not all the houses in Deptford alike.
- It also means that that particular community of mice were always in the back of Jupiter’s mind from a long time back.
And speaking of Jupiter, guess we’ll see him in the next chapter!