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 (4 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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; Can you imagine how ashamed I felt? I ran under the table and did not come out again until after Mrs. Hitchcock had gone." — PAGE 54.

" I knew that there was no time to be lost if I meant to catch that robin, so I ran with all my might and tried to jump through." — PAGE 55.

comes the saddest part of my story. Soon after this, as I was looking out of the window, I saw the fat test, most tempting robin on the ground under the cherry-tree: the windows did not look as if they had any glass in them, and I took it for granted that it had all been taken out and put away upstairs, with the andirons and the carpets, for next winter. I knew that there was no time to be lost if I meant to catch that robin, so I ran with all my might and tried to jump through. Oh, my dear Helen, I do not believe you ever had such a bump: I fell back nearly into the

middle of the room; and it seemed to me that I turned completely over at least six times. The blood streamed out of my nose, and I cut my right ear very badly against one of the castors of the table. I could not see nor hear any thing for some minutes. When I came to myself, I found your dear mother holding me, and wiping my face with her own nice handkerchief wet in cold water. My right fore-paw w r as badly bruised, and that troubles me very much about washing my face, and about writing. But the worst of all is the condition of my nose. Every body laughs who sees me, and I do

not blame them; it is twice as large as it used to be, and I begin to be seriously afraid it will never return to its old shape. This will be a dreadful affliction: for who does not know that the nose is the chief beauty of a cat's face ? I have got very tired of hearing the story of my fall told to all the people who come in. They laugh as if they would kill themselves at it, espe cially when I do not manage to get under the table before they look to see how my nose is.

Except for this I should have written to you before, and would write more now, but my paw aches

badly, and one of my eyes is nearly closed from the swelling of my nose: so I must say good-by.

Your affectionate PUSSY.

P. S. I told you about Caesar, did I not, in my last letter ? Of course I do not venture out of the house in my present plight, so I have not seen him except from the window.

V.

MY DEAR HELEN:

I am sure you must have won dered why I have not written to you for the last two weeks, but when you hear what I have been through, you will only wonder that I am alive to write to you at all. I was very glad to hear your mother say, yesterday, that she had not writ ten to you about what had happened to me, because it would make you

so unhappy. But now that it is all over, and I am in a fair way to be soon as well as ever, I think you will like to hear the whole story.

In my last letter I told you about the new black cat, Caesar, who had come to live in the Nelson house, and how anxious I was to know him. As soon as my nose was fit to be seen, Judge Dickin son's cat, who is a good, hospitable old soul, in spite of her stupidity, invited me to tea, and asked him too. All the other cats were asked to come later in the evening, and we had a grand frolic, hunting rats in the Judge's great barn. Caesar

" When there suddenly came down on us a whole pailful of water. PAGE 61.


is certainly the handsomest and most gentlemanly cat I ever saw. He paid me great attention : in fact, so much, that one of those miserable half-starved cats from Mill Valley grew so jealous that she flew at me and bit my ear till it bled, which broke up the party. But Caesar went home with me, so I did not care; then we sat and talked a long time under the nursery window. I was so much occupied in what he was saying, that I did not hear Mary open the window overhead, and was therefore terribly frightened when there suddenly came down on us a whole pailful of water. I was

so startled that I lost all presence of mind; and without bidding him good-night, I jumped directly into the cellar window by which we were sitting. Oh, my dear Helen, I can never give you any idea of what fol lowed. Instead of coming down as I expected to on the cabbages, which were just under that window the last time I was in the cellar, I found myself sinking, sinking, into some horrible soft, slimy, sticky substance, which in an instant more would have closed over my head, and suffo cated me ; but, fortunately, as I sank, I felt something hard at one side, and making a great effort, I caught

on it with my claws. It proved to be the side of a barrel, and I suc ceeded in getting one paw over the edge of it There I hung, growing weaker and weaker every minute, with this frightful stuff running into my eyes and ears, and choking me with its bad smell. I mewed as loud as I could, which was not very loud, for whenever I opened my mouth the stuff trickled into it off my whiskers; but I called to Caesar, who stood in great distress at the window, and ex plained to him, as well as I could, what had happened to me, and begged him to call as loudly as pos-

sible; for if somebody did not come very soon, and take me out, I should certainly die. He insisted, at first, on jumping down to help me him self ; but I told him that would be the most foolish thing he could do; if he did, we should certainly both be drowned. So he began to mew at the top of his voice, and between his mewing and mine, there was noise enough for a few minutes; then windows began to open, and I heard your grandfather swearing and throwing out a stick of wood at Caesar; fortunately he was so near the house that it did not hit him. At last your grandfather

came downstairs, and opened the back door; and Caesar was so fright ened that he ran away, for which I have never thought so well of him since, though we are still very good friends. When I heard him run ning off, and calling - back to me, from a distance, that he was so sorry he could not help me, my courage began to fail, and in a moment more, I should have let go of the edge of the barrel, and sunk to the bottom; but luckily your grandfather noticed that there was something very strange about my mewing, and opened the door at the head of the cellar stairs, saying, "I do believe the cat

is in some trouble down here/' Then I made a great effort and mewed still more piteously. How I wished I could call out and say, "Yes, indeed, I am; drowning to death, in I 'm sure I don't know what, but something a great deal worse than water!" However, he understood me as it was, and came down with a lamp. As soon as he saw me, he set the lamp down on the cellar bottom, and laughed so that he could hardly move. I thought this was the most cruel thing I ever heard of. If I had not been, as it were, at death's door, I should have laughed at him, too,

for even with my eyes full of that dreadful stuff, I could see that he looked very funny in his red night cap, and without his teeth. He called out to Mary, and your mother, who stood at the head of the .stairs, " Come down, come down; here's the cat 'in the soft-soap barrel!" and then he laughed again, and they both came down the stairs laughing, even your dear kind mother, who I never could have believed would laugh at any one in such trouble. They did not seem to know what to do at first; nobody wanted to touch me; and- I began to be afraid I should drown while they

stood looking, at me, for I knew much better than they could how weak I was from holding on to the edge of the barrel so long. At last your grandfather swore that oath of his,- -you know the one I mean, the one he always swears when he is very sorry for anybody, — and lifted me out by the nape of my neck, holding me as far off from him as he could, for the soft soap ran off my legs and tail in streams. He carried me up into the kitchen, and put me down in the middle of the floor, and then they all stood round me, and laughed again, so loud that they waked up the cook,

" He lifted me out by the nape of my neck, holding me as far off from him as he could." — PAGE 68.

who came running out of her bed room with her tin candlestick and a chair in her hand, thinking that rob bers were breaking in. At last your dear mother said, " Poor pussy, it is too bad to laugh at you, when you are in such pain" (I had been think ing so for some time). " Mary, bring the small washtub. The only thing we can do is to wash her/'

When I heard this, I almost wished they had left me to drown in the soft soap ; for if there is any thing of which I have a mortal dread, it is water. However, I was too weak to resist; and they plunged me in all over, into the tub full of ice-

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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