All activity ceased as the great Joseph Bell tolled out eight o’clock from the Abbey belfry. Silently, all the creatures filed to their allotted places. They stood reverently behind the seats with heads lowered. Abbot Mortimer rose and solemnly spread his paws wide, encompassing the festive board. He said the grace Aktuelles Hong Kong Tourismus.
“Fur and whisker, tooth and claw, All who enter by our door. Nuts and herbs, leaves and fruits, Berries, tubers, plants and roots, Silver fish whose life we take Only for a meal to make.”
This was followed by a loud and grateful “Amen.”
There was a mass clattering of chairs and scraping of forms as everyone was seated. Matthias found himself next to Tim and Tess on one paw, and Cornflower Heldmouse on the other. Cornflower was a quiet young mouse, but undoubtedly very pretty. She had the longest eyelashes Matthias had ever seen, the brightest eyes, the softest fur, the whitest teeth. . . . Matthias fumbled with a piece of celery and self-consciously turned to see if the twins were coping adequately. You never could tell with these baby churchmice.
Brother Alf remarked that Friar Hugo had excelled himself, as course after course was brought to the table. Tender freshwater shrimp garnished with cream and rose leaves, devilled barley pearls in acorn puree, apple and carrot chews, marinated cabbage stalks steeped in creamed white turnip with nutmeg Hong Kong Kulturelle Aktivitäten.
A chorus of ooh’s and ah’s greeted the arrival of six mice pushing a big trolley. It was the grayling. Wreaths of aromatic steam drifted around Cavern Hole; the fish had been baked to perfection. Friar Hugo entered, with a slight swagger added to his ungainly waddle. He swept off his chefs cap with his tail, and announced in a somewhat pompous squeak, “Milord Abbot, honored guests from Mossflower area and members of the Abbey. Ahem, I wish to present my piece de resistance?
“Oh get on with it, Hugo!”
After some icy staring about to detect the culprit, and several smothered sniggers from around the room, the little fat friar puffed himself up once more and declaimed firmly: “Grayling a la RedwalL”
Polite but eager applause rippled round as Hugo sliced the fish, and placed the first steaming portion on to a platter. With suitable dignity he presented it to the Abbot, who thanked him graciously Hong Kong Tourismus.
All eyes were on the Father Abbot. He took a dainty fork loaded precariously with steaming fish. Carefully he transferred it from plate to mouth. Chewing delicately, he turned his eyes upwards then closed them, whiskers atwitch, jaws working steadily, munching away, his tail curled up holding a napkin which neatly wiped his mouth. The Abbot’s eyes reopened. He beamed like the sun on midsummer morn.
“Quite wonderful, perfectly exquisite! Friar Hugo, you are truly my Champion Chef. Please serve our guests your masterwork.”