Pilgrim’s Inn and The Perfect-Eaved House

Posted by: Louise Bequette

Tue Sep 2nd 2008 10:30 am (PDT)

There is a reference in Pilgrim’s Inn to Wind in the Willows and -apparently in ” Wind In The Willows” – a reference to the Perfect-Eaved House in the same book. A friend and I have looked many times in WIW trying to find the remark. It sounds like it would be Toad Hall but we have never found it. Is it in an English edition and not in American editions – or what?

A curious reader – Louise – in mid-Missouri

Hi Louise,

The swallows in the Chapter Wayfarers All page 161 ,say to Rat ” The call of lush meadow-grass, wet orchards, warm insect-haunted ponds, of browsing cattle, of hay making, and all the farm buildings clustering round the House of the perfect Eaves?” My copy of WIW is a 1961 re-print. I don’t think the American copy is different.

If you mean Sally mentioning it in Pilgrims Inn, she says it the first time she met Lucilla at Damerosehay. p160


I am now wondering the original source of the phrase: House of the Perfect-Eaves. Guess I will have to do some online searching. Wonder if there is an Annotated Wind in the Willows.

I don’t think I had paid much attention to that chapter in recent years. The central chapter in the book when they find the little otter is quietly wonderful one – and know I have read some studies on it. I have a vested interest in children’s literature since I was a librarian before retirement. I never read WIW until my mid-30s and could not get my children interested in it.


I found at copy abebooks.com, and it isn’t the only edition, there is at least one other. Happy Hunting


KENNETH GRAHAME. My Dearest Mouse: The ‘Wind in the Willows’ Letters.


  1. There is an Annotated Edition of Wind in the Willows, one of several Annotated classic children’s books published by W.W. Norton. I do not have my copy at hand, but doubt that it sheds any light on the House of the Perfect Eaves. (But it should be remembered that “perfect eaves” is the judgment of swallows who build their mud nests under eaves, and swallows have their own criteria for judging perfection.)
    Unfortunately, in my opinion, despite the annotator’s best efforts, the book is limited (as are several other Norton annotated books) by the fact that the annotator is American and repeatedly fails to understand English/British matters that are unfamiliar in America. This results in misinterpretation, and in omission — occasions when annotation would help, but the annotator fails to realise that something of (potential) significance ought to be explained.
    Amongst other things, also, the annotator tries to clarify the emnity between the “good” animals and the weasels and stoats and ferrets of the Wild Wood — the enemy. Zoologically, weasels, stoats, and ferrets belong in the same “family” as otters and badgers.
    For example, on the subject of Norton annotations and American miscomprehension, the Annotated Peter Pan is totally misguided in commenting on the apparent rudeness of Tinkerbell telling Peter Pan he is an ass.
    In American English, of course, “ass” usually means “backside” or “bottom”.
    But in English usage, “ass” — as in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream — means “donkey”, and metaphorically, a fool.
    Tinkerbell is NOT telling Peter he is a backside or bottom. She is telling him she thinks he is being foolish.

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