47 – Witch Fever


Dear Lucy,

 I’m the sort of mouse who likes, when reading, to impart snippets of knowledge to anyone who may be within earshot.  I think I may well stop being that sort of mouse.

On Monday I spent the morning perusing a couple of book deliveries that Millie had taken receipt of whilst I was away.  ‘Bitten by Witch Fever’, an account of wallpaper and arsenic in the Victorian home had a rather funny excerpt, which I’d read aloud to Millie whilst she was filing her monthly invoices.  A German scientist by the name of Leopald Gmelin had reported in a Berlin newspaper that a strange ‘mouse-like’ odour could often be detected in damp conditions where wallpaper containing arsenic, was present.  I thought very little of this brief impart of humorous information and even less of Millie’s sudden announcement around lunchtime that she was taking the afternoon off.  Having already arranged to go round Millie’s for tea, her parting mumbled words “I’m popping off early to intercept the waffles” held no worries in my mind other than whether she’d remembered to stock up on maple syrup.


When I arrived at Millie’s around 4.30 that same afternoon, to my horror, not only were there no waffles in sight, but, the cottage was in complete chaos.  It didn’t take me long to conclude that Millie hadn’t left early to intercept any waffles, but rather, had spent her entire afternoon inspecting the wallpaper after coming to the rapid conclusion that her cottage smelt of mouse and hence must be full of poisonous arsenic.


Now, at this point I could have offered up the suggestion to Millie that her house was bound to smell of mouse due to the fact that she was, in actual fact, a mouse smelling mouse.  However, fearing Millie might think that I was implying she stank and looking around at the already half stripped walls, I decided to keep quiet and perform the most logical course of action required in a panic situation of this gravity; that of checking to see if the casserole was ready whilst considering new designs for Millie’s walls.


I am including with this letter the series of designs that Millie chose as her favourites.  After a week of full on DIY we’ve pretty much completed most rooms and am, as I write, just adding the finishing touches to the trompe l’oeil in the study.  I think we shall celebrate the completed restoration with a well-deserved plate of waffles; it’s been a tough week!

Lots of love,

M. M.


Moris’s recent activity has been inspired by a number of sources which he’d like to tell you about.  Obviously, the wallpaper debacle is explained in the letter, however, his layout for the letter was inspired by the Edward Bawden Scrapbooks, a fascinating read published by Lund Humphries.  Moris’s trompe l’oeil design for Millie’s study was inspired by some snaps shots of Stephen Courthauld’s bedroom, recently sent to him by his friend Dave, who lives in Eltham Palace London.

Do you have a favourite designer?  Morris would love to hear from you, so drop him a line under his Instagram, Facebook or Twitter shares.  Morris will get back to you mouse style.

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