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This is one of Saki's lighter and more purely humorous stories. It concerns a fussy and socially awkward man named Theodoric Voler and the difficulties he has when he is on a train and finds that there is a mouse climbing up the leg of his pants.
Voler is one of only two people in a train car. The other is a woman. Soon after the journey starts, Voler realizes the mouse is in his pants. He can't get it out without taking his pants at least partly off and he is way too shy to do that.
But the woman seems to be asleep. So Voler uses a heavy blanket to make a partition and then gets the mouse out of his pants. As he does so, the partition falls and the woman awakes. He grabs the blanket around his neck.
Voler then makes awkward attempts to explain why he is covered by the heavy blanket. He struggles to explain why he can't stand up. He is completely unsure as to how he can get his clothes back on and the station is rapidly approaching.
The story ends with the woman saying
"Would you be so kind," she asked, "as to get me a porter to put me into a cab? It's a shame to trouble you when you're feeling unwell, but being blind makes one so helpless at a railway station."
The protagonist of this story, Theodoric Voler, grew up with a mother whose goal was to shield her son from what she called "the coarser realities of life." Mice were included in this category. After his mother has died, Voler is traveling on a train after having stayed at a country vicarage. He notices that there is a mouse in his train compartment, which is also occupied by a sleeping woman.
The mouse wiggles its way into his clothing, and Voler realizes that the only way to dislodge the mouse is to remove his clothing. He is loathe to do so because of the woman in his compartment. He hangs a rug up in his compartment, behind which he removes his clothes and dislodges the mouse. However, the escaping mouse causes the rug to fall, waking the woman and revealing Voler in a semi-clothed state. He tells the woman he has a chill, and he ignores her request to open the window and to reach down to get her brandy. He tells her about the mouse, and she remarks in a way that he considers far too humorous that it's strange that a mouse brought about a chill. When they are nearing their destination, Voler throws off the rug and quickly pulls on his clothes, feeling embarrassed. As they arrive at the station, the woman asks him to get her a porter to help her to a cab, as she is blind. Voler has been so self-centered that he hasn't realized that his companion can't see and that he worried over nothing.
Describe the rising action of the story.
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