Read Letters From a Cat: Published by Her Mistress for the Benefit of All Cats and the Amusement of Little Children Online

Authors: Ledyard Addie,Helen Hunt 1830-1885 Jackson

Tags: #Cats, #Pets, #Euthanasia of animals

Letters From a Cat: Published by Her Mistress for the Benefit of All Cats and the Amusement of Little Children (3 page)

BOOK: Letters From a Cat: Published by Her Mistress for the Benefit of All Cats and the Amusement of Little Children
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ran out into the garden, and climbed up the old apple-tree at the foot of the steps, and crawled - out on a branch, from which I could look directly into the parlor windows. Oh ! my dear Helen, you can fancy how I felt, to see all the chairs and tables and bookshelves in a pile in the middle of the floor, the books all packed in big baskets, and Mary taking out window after window as fast as she could. I forgot to tell you that your mother went away last night. I think she has gone to Hadley to make a visit, and it looks to me very much as if Mary meant to run away with every thing which

I climbed up the old apple-tree, and crawled out on a branch from which I could look directly into the parlor windows." — PAGE 38.

could be moved, before she comes back. After awhile that ugly Irish woman, who lives in Mr. Slater's house, came into the back gate: you know the one I mean,--the one that threw cold water on me last spring, When I saw her coming I felt sure that she and Mary meant to kill me, while you were all away; so I jumped down out of the tree, and split my best claw in my hurry, and ran off into Baker's Grove, and stayed there all the rest of the day, in dreadful misery from cold and hunger. There was some snow in the hollows, and I wet my feet, which always makes me feel wretchedly;

and I could not find any thing to eat except a thin dried-up old mole. They are never good in the spring. Really, nobody does know what hard lives we cats lead, even the luckiest of us! After dark, I went home; but Mary had fastened up every door, even the little one into the back shed. So I had to jump into the cellar window, which is a thing I never like to do since I got that bad sprain in my shoulder from coming down on the edge of a milk-pan. I crept up to the head of the kitchen stairs, as still as a mouse, if I 'm any judge, and listened there for a long time, to try and make

I crept up to the head of the kitchen stairs, as still as a mouse, if I 'm any judge, and listened." — PAGE 40.

out, from Mary's talk with the Irish woman, what they were planning to do. But I never could understand Irish, and although I listened till I had cramps in all my legs, from being so long in one position, I was no wiser. Even the things Mary said I could not understand, and I usually understand her very easily. I passed a very uncomfortable night* in the carrot bin. As soon as I heard Mary coming down the cellar stairs, this morning, I hid in the arch, and while she was skimming the milk, I slipped upstairs, and ran into the sitting-room. Every thing there is in the same confusion; the

carpet is gone; and the windows too, and I think some of the chairs have been carried away. All the china is in great baskets on the pantry floor; and your father and mother's clothes are all taken out of the nur sery closet, and laid on chairs. It is very dreadful to have to stand by and see all this, and not be able to do any thing. I don't think I ever fully realized before the disadvan tage of being only a cat I have just been across the street, and talked it all over with the Judge's cat, but she is very old and stupid, and so taken up with her six kittens (who are the ugliest I ever saw),

that she does not take the least in terest in her neighbors' affairs. Mrs. Hitchcock walked by the house this morning, and I ran out to her, and took her dress in my teeth and pulled it, and did all I could to make her come in, but she said, " No, no, pussy, I 'm not coming in to-day; your mistress is not at home/' I declare I could have cried. I sat down in the middle of the path, and never stirred for half an hour.

I heard your friend, Hannah Dorrance, say yesterday, that she was going to write to you to-day, so I shall run up the hill now and

carry my letter to her. I think she will be astonished when she sees me, for I am very sure that no other cat in town knows how to write. Do come home as soon as possible. Your affectionate PUSSY.

P. S. Two men have just driven up to the front gate in a great cart, and they are putting all the carpets into it. Oh dear, oh dear, if I only knew what to do! And I just heard Mary say to them, " Be as quick as you can, for I want to get through with this busi ness before the folks come back/


I am too stiff and sore from a terrible fall I have had, to write more than one line; but I must let you know that my fright was very silly, and I am very much mortified about it. The house and the things are all safe; your mother has come home; and I will write, and tell you all, just as soon as I can use my pen without great pain.

Some new people have come to live in the Nelson house; very nice people, I think, for they keep their milk in yellow crockery pans. They have brought with them a splendid black cat whose name is Caesar, and everybody is talking about him. He has the handsom est whiskers I ever saw. I do hope I shall be well enough to see him before long, but I wouldn't have him see me now for any thing.

Your affectionate PUSSY.


There is one thing that cats don't like any better than men and women do, and that is to make fools of themselves. But a precious fool I made of myself when I wrote you that long letter about Mary's mov ing out all the furniture, and taking the house down. It is very mortify ing to have to tell you how it all turned out, but I know you love Hie

enough to be sorry that I should have had such a terrible fright for nothing.

It went on from bad to worse for three more days after I wrote you. Your mother did not come home; and the awful Irishwoman was here all the time. I did not dare to go near the house, and I do assure you I nearly starved: I used to lie under the rose-bushes, and watch as well as I could what was going on: now and then I caught a rat in the barn, but that sort of hearty food never has agreed with me since I came to live with you, and became accustomed to a lighter

diet By the third day I felt too weak and sick to stir: so I lay still all day on the straw in Charlie's stall; and I really thought, between the hunger and the anxiety, that I should die. About noon I heard Mary say in the shed, " I do believe that everlasting cat has taken herself off: it's a good riddance anyhow, but I should like to know what has become of the plaguy thing!"

I trembled all over, for if she had come into the barn I know one kick from her heavy foot would have killed me, and I was quite too weak to run away. Towards night I heard your dear mother's voice

calling, " Poor pussy, why, poor pussy, where are you ?"

I .assure you, my dear Helen, people are very much mistaken who say, as I have often overheard them, that cats have no feeling. If they could only know how I felt at that moment, they would change their minds. I was almost too glad to make a sound. It seemed to me that my feet Were fastened to the floor, and that I never could get to her. She took me up in her arms, and carried me through the kitchen into the / sitting-room. Mary was frying cakes in the kitchen, and as your mother passed by the stove

she said in her sweet voice, " You see I've found poor pussy, Mary/' " Humph," said Mary, " I never thought but that she'd be found fast enough when she wanted to be!' I knew that this was a lie, because I had heard what she said in the shed. I do wish I knew what makes her hate me so: I only wish she -knew how I hate her. I really think I shall gnaw her stockings and shoes some night. It would not be any more than fair; and she would never suspect me, there are so many mice in her room, for I never touch one that I think belongs in her closet.

The sitting-room was all in most beautiful order, - - a smooth white something, like the side of a basket, over the whole floor, a beau tiful paper curtain, pink and white, over the fire-place, and white muslin curtains at the windows. I stood perfectly still in the middle of the room for some time. I was too sur prised to stir. Oh, how I wished that I could speak, and tell your dear mother all that had happened, and how the room had looked three days before. Presently she said, "Poor pussy, I know you are al most starved, aren't you ?' and I said " Yes/' as plainly as I could

mew it. Then she brought me a big soup-plate full of thick cream, and some of the most delicious cold hash I ever tasted; and after I had eaten it all, she took me in her lap, and said, " Poor pussy, we miss little Helen, don't we?" and she held me in her lap till bed-time. Then she let me sleep on the foot of her bed: it was one of the hap piest nights of my life. In the middle of the night I was up for a while, and caught the smallest mouse I ever saw out of the nest. Such little ones are very tender.

In the morning I had my breakfast with her in the dining-

room, which looks just as nice as the sitting-room. After breakfast Mrs. Hitchcock came in, and your mother said : " Only think, how for tunate I am; Mary did all the house-cleaning while I was away. Every room is in perfect order; all the w r oollen clothes are put away for the summer. Poor pussy, here, was frightened out of the house, and I suppose we should all have been if we had been at home/'

Can you imagine how ashamed I felt? I ran under the table and did not come out again until after Mrs. Hitchcock had gone. But now

BOOK: Letters From a Cat: Published by Her Mistress for the Benefit of All Cats and the Amusement of Little Children
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