When the tailor becomes sick and cannot finish the waistcoat for the Mayor, the mice finish it for him.
In the time of swords and periwigs and full-skirted coats with flowered lappets–when gentlemen wore ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of paduasoy and taffeta–there lived a tailor in Gloucester.
He sat in the window of a little shop in Westgate Street, cross-legged on a table, from morning till dark.
All day long while the light lasted he sewed and snippeted, piecing out his satin and pompadour, and lutestring; stuffs had strange names, and were very expensive in the days of the Tailor of Gloucester.
But although he sewed fine silk for his neighbours, he himself was very, very poor–a little old man in spectacles, with a pinched face, old crooked fingers, and a suit of thread-bare clothes.
He cut his coats without waste, according to his embroidered cloth; they were very small ends and snippets that lay about upon the table–“Too narrow breadths for nought–except waistcoats for mice,” said the tailor.
One bitter cold day near Christmastime the tailor began to make a coat–a coat of cherry-coloured corded silk embroidered with pansies and roses, and a cream coloured satin waistcoat–trimmed with gauze and green worsted chenille–for the Mayor of Gloucester.