Lester tells Antoinette that Despereaux definitely can’t be his son—this must all be Antoinette’s fault, since she’s French. Antoinette rolls her eyes and says it’s not a big deal; how much trouble can a tiny mouse get into, anyway? But pulling a whisker out and waving it at her, Lester says mice must act like mice, and so he has to call a special meeting of the Mouse Council. Despereaux will be punished. Lester digs out a thimble with leather stretched over the open end. Antoinette covers her ears as Lester holds the drum above his head, faces each cardinal direction in turn, and then begins to beat a rhythm with his paws and his tail. The rhythm lets the councilmembers know that they’ll have to make a serious decision that will affect all mice.
When Lester accuses Antoinette of causing Despereaux to not fit in because she’s French, he implies that Antoinette perhaps doesn’t fit in well in mouse society either. Her particular brand of not fitting in, though, seems far more acceptable to other mice than Despereaux’s does. As Lester picks up the drum to summon the Mouse Council, the ceremony and the ominous nature suggests that bad things are coming—and that Lester cares far more about mouse culture as a whole than he does about protecting or supporting his son.