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The Mice in Council



The Mice called a general council, and, having met, after the doors were locked, entered into a free consultation about ways and means how to render their fortunes and estates[118] more secure from the danger of the Cat. Many things were offered, and much was debated, "pro and con," upon the matter. At last, a young Mouse, in a fine, florid speech, concluded with an expedient, and that the only one, which was to put them for the future entirely out of the power of the enemy; and this was that the Cat should wear a bell about her neck, which, upon the least motion, would give the alarm, and be a signal for them to retire into their holes. This speech was received with great applause, and it was even proposed by some that the Mouse who made it should have the thanks of the assembly; upon which an old, grave Mouse, who had sat silent all the while, stood up, and, in another speech, owned that the contrivance was admirable, and the author of it, without doubt, an ingenious Mouse, but, he said, he thought it would not be so proper to vote him thanks till he should farther inform them how this bell was to be fastened about the Cat's neck, and what Mouse would undertake to do it.


Many things appear excellent in theory which are impossible in practice. It often requires a great deal of courage to carry out projects which a fine, florid speech may persuade the hearers are most plausible.

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