Theodoric has a harrowing experience with the mouse. What is the most tormenting part of the entire experience?

Theodoric has a harrowing experience with the mouse, but the most tormenting part of the entire experience is when he believes that the lady in his train compartment is mocking his situation. He has undressed and wrapped himself in a rug for modesty, and she never looks away as she questions his supposed "chill."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Theodoric Voler, whose mother has ensured that he has always been shielded from the "coarser realities of life," is horrified to find that a mouse has hidden itself in his clothing while he is aboard a train. Worse, he shares his train compartment with a lady who initially seems to...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Theodoric Voler, whose mother has ensured that he has always been shielded from the "coarser realities of life," is horrified to find that a mouse has hidden itself in his clothing while he is aboard a train. Worse, he shares his train compartment with a lady who initially seems to be asleep. This creates quite a conundrum: Theodoric desperately wants to get the mouse out of his clothing, but he doesn't want the lady to awaken and find that he is naked.

He ultimately determines that it is "unthinkable" to allow the mouse to burrow in his clothing for the entire trip, so he begins undressing. Unfortunately, as the mouse leaps to the floor, it causes such a commotion that the sleeping lady awakens. Wrapping himself in a rug, Theodoric excuses himself, claiming that he has malaria. After the lady questions this statement, Theodoric honestly explains that a mouse had crawled inside his clothes, which is why he had suddenly found himself in need of the rug to wrap up in.

The lady replies that she is certain that getting rid of "one small mouse wouldn't bring on a chill," and Theodoric is convinced that she is mocking his situation. Worse, he believes that she enjoys his delicate predicament, especially since she never looks away from him. This torments Theodoric much more than a "myriad" of mice ever could; her mocking stare is "an agony of abasement" and leaves him wondering how he can get dressed under her prying eyes.

Only after quickly dressing and preparing to leave the train does Theodoric realize that the lady hasn't seen a thing. She is blind.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on