After supper Mr. Piperson consulted an almanac, and felt Pigling's ribs; it was too late in the season for curing bacon, and he grudged his meal. Besides, the hens had seen this pig.
He looked at the small remains of a flitch, and then looked undecidedly at Pigling. "You may sleep on the rug," said Mr. Peter Thomas Piperson.
Pigling Bland slept like a top. In the morning Mr. Piperson made more porridge; the weather was warmer. He looked to see how much meal was left in the chest, and seemed dissatisfied--"You'll likely be moving on again?" said he to Pigling Bland.
Before Pigling could reply, a neighbour, who was giving Mr. Piperson and the hens a lift, whistled from the gate. Mr. Piperson hurried out with the hamper, enjoining Pigling to shut the door behind him and not meddle with nought; or "I'll come back and skin ye!" said Mr. Piperson.
It crossed Pigling's mind that if HE had asked for a lift, too, he might still have been in time for market.
But he distrusted Peter Thomas.
After finishing breakfast at his leisure, Pigling had a look round the cottage; everything was locked up. He found some potato peelings in a bucket in the back kitchen. Pigling ate the peel, and washed up the porridge plates in the bucket. He sang while he worked--
"Tom with his pipe made such a noise, He called up all the girls and boys-- "And they all ran to hear him play "'Over the hills and far away!'"
Suddenly a little smothered voice chimed in--
"Over the hills and a great way off, The wind shall blow my top knot off!"
Pigling Bland put down a plate which he was wiping, and listened.
After a long pause, Pigling went on tip-toe and peeped round the door into the front kitchen. There was nobody there.
After another pause, Pigling approached the door of the locked cupboard, and snuffed at the key- hole. It was quite quiet.