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I gave the elephant a lot of buns out of a bag but I did not give any to the ostriches because people are not allowed to feed them, since a naughty boy gave them old gloves & made them ill. I saw a black bear rolling on its back. I did not know that the old wolf was so good tempered.
I remain yrs aff
This is the first of several get-well letters Potter wrote to Noel Moore while he was sick in bed during the spring of 1895. Her stories about a visit to the zoo were designed to raise the spirits of a child who might hope for similar adventures when his health improved. Instead of the usual cheery admonitions, she devised an amusing fantasy where the patient is attended by a solicitous mole physician and a sprightly mouse nurse bearing a tea-cup on a tray. She liked the image of the light-footed lady mouse and adapted it in Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes (1917), where the title character is shown scampering off with a platter full of pies.
Beatrix Potter (1866–1943)
Autograph letter signed, London, to Noel Moore, March 8, 1895
Gift of Colonel David McC. McKell, 1959; MA 2009.3