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My dear Noël,
Thank you for your nice letter. I should like to see you riding the big dog, here is a picture of Tom Thumb on a mouse.
We are going to Swanage next
Once again Potter writes to Noel about a trip to the zoo, an opportunity to draw exotic animals in addition to familiar creatures such as the rabbits gamboling at the head of the letter and the sparrows nesting at the end. As much as Potter loved her pets, she was also remarkably unsentimental about animals, both as a naturalist who studied them from a scientific point of view and as a farmer who tended livestock for sale and home consumption. The death of the elephant was regrettable but also occasioned a comic drawing of the valetudinarian about to receive a jumbo dose of medicine. The mother sparrow lamenting the loss of her baby is a parody of grief.
Beatrix Potter (1866–1943)
Autograph letter signed, London, to Noel Moore, April 6, 1896
Gift of Colonel David McC. McKell, 1959; MA 2009.7