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Title: Pussy Black-Face - Or The Story of a Kitten and Her Friends
Author: Saunders, Marshall
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Pussy Black-Face - Or The Story of a Kitten and Her Friends" ***

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[Illustration]



                            PUSSY BLACK-FACE


                       _A Book for Boys and Girls_

                           By Marshall Saunders

  Author of “Beautiful Joe,” “Beautiful Joe's Paradise,” “'Tilda Jane,”
                                   etc.

                             _Illustrated by_
                          DIANTHA HORNE MARLOWE

 “When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport
                           than she makes me?”

                                                              MONTAIGNE.

[Illustration]

                    Boston      ❧      L. C. Page &
                    Company       ❧      Mdccccxiii



[Illustration]

                        _Copyright_, 1913, _by_
                          L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
                             (INCORPORATED)

                  Entered at Stationers' Hall, London

                         _All rights reserved_


                      First Impression, May, 1913
                     Second Impression, June, 1913


                           THE COLONIAL PRESS
                 C. H. SIMONDS & CO., BOSTON, U. S. A.



       I DEDICATE THIS STORY OF A LITTLE CAT TO THAT WHOLEHEARTED
                FRIEND OF ANIMALS—MRS. HUNTINGTON-SMITH
                      Of THE ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE,
                        51 CARVER STREET, BOSTON

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



                           TABLE OF CONTENTS


 CHAPTER                                                            PAGE

      I. BY THE FIRE                                                   1

     II. A CAT'S REFUGE                                                7

    III. A SURPRISING CHANGE                                          22

     IV. I VISIT MY FAMILY                                            36

      V. THE CAT ON THE COMMON                                        53

     VI. MY FIRST FIGHT                                               75

    VII. A NEW SENSATION                                             101

   VIII. SERENA ASTONISHES US                                        124

     IX. ON THE TRAIN                                                139

      X. WE REACH THE COUNTRY                                        162

     XI. MAINE, LOVELY MAINE                                         176

    XII. MY HEADSTRONG SISTER                                        196

   XIII. PIGS, COWS AND CHICKENS                                     209

    XIV. MY SISTER GIVES A LECTURE                                   228

     XV. THE MOLE-HUNT                                               248

    XVI. THE RETURN OF THE CHILDREN                                  263

   XVII. THE MISCHIEVOUS GUINEA-HEN                                  273

  XVIII. THE OWL AND THE CHICKENS                                    287

    XIX. THE CLOSE OF THE SUMMER                                     295

     XX. IN THE CITY AGAIN                                           307

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



                        LIST ^{of} ILLUSTRATIONS


 PUSSY BLACK-FACE                                         _Frontispiece_

 “MY MOTHER BEGAN TO POLISH OFF MY HEAD”                              39

 “SHE PUT HER HEAD FIRST ON ONE SIDE THEN ON THE OTHER,               50
   TILL SHE CRACKED IT ALL TO PIECES”

 “'MONA,' I SAID CONFIDENTIALLY, 'I AM HAVING A DREADFUL              80
   TIME'”

 “SHE SLIPPED BETWEEN THE BIG DOG'S FRONT PAWS, AND SAT              150
   THERE COWERING AND TREMBLING”

 “OUT ON THE PLOUGHED LAND UNDER THE APPLE TREES, A FURRY            188
   BALL WAS ROLLING OVER AND OVER”

 “'MY FRIENDS, ... I STAND BEFORE YOU THIS EVENING QUITE             244
   UNPREPARED'”

 “THE ROOSTER KEPT SO FAR AHEAD THAT NO ONE BUT OURSELVES            281
   SUSPECTED THE MISCHIEF SHE WAS DOING”

[Illustration]



                            Pussy Black-Face



                               CHAPTER I
                              BY THE FIRE


My name is Pussy Black-Face, and I am a naughty young kitten. I wish I
were good like my mother. She is the best cat that I ever saw. I try to
be like her, and sometimes I succeed, but most times I don't.

My mother's disposition is really lovely, but then she has a weak back.
It seems to me that if I had a weak back I should be good, too, but when
there is a spring in my spine that makes me want to jump all the time,
and something curled up in my paws that makes me want to seize things,
what can I do? How can I be good?

My mother purrs wholesome advice into my ears, and tells me to try, to
try hard, and so I do, but usually it doesn't seem of any use. I might
as well be bad all the time, and not worry about it.

Every night, as we sit around the fire before we go to bed, I think
things over. You know how cats look and act when they are getting
sleepy. Some people say that cats are stupid and can't think or feel.
Don't you believe it. They are just as clever as any animals.

Well, I think the most beautiful sight in the world is our little family
on these chilly, east-windy nights as we gather in the sitting-room
about bedtime.

First there is our dear mistress, Mrs. Darley. She is a widow with two
adopted children—Billy and Margaret. After dinner they go to the study
to learn their lessons, and Mrs. Darley sits for a little while with us
before she goes to join them. We cats are allowed to run all over the
house, but we usually prefer the sitting-room, because there is the
broad window-seat for sunny mornings, and the cushions by the fire for
dull weather.

Mrs. Darley always takes my mother on her lap, because she is the chief
favorite, and because she has suffered so much. I am not ashamed to say
that my mother was an ash-barrel cat before Mrs. Darley rescued her.
That is, she was a poor cat who had to pick up her living in back yards.
She is a grayish, wistful-looking creature with a quiet manner. Her name
is Dust-and-Ashes. She knows a good deal, but she doesn't talk much.

My father, whose name is the Piebald Prince, is an Angora. He is very
handsome, very aristocratic, very dignified, but not at all proud. He
says he believes it is wrong to call any cat common or unclean. Persian
cats, and Angora cats, and New Mexico cats, and Manx cats, and all kinds
of cats should be treated in just the same way, and have an equal amount
of respect shown them.

He always makes my mother take a front seat if there is company, and he
treats her with as much consideration as if she, like himself, had come
from the celebrated farm up in Maine, where only pure bred cats are
raised, and where they cost great sums of money.

Many a cuff—a gentlemanly cuff—I have had from him for being
disrespectful to my mother. He believes in keeping us young ones in
order.

Besides myself there is my sister Serena, and my brother Jimmy Dory.

They are both much older than I am. Serena is a very clever little cat.
She has beautiful manners, and purrs a good deal to herself about
culture. She and Jimmy are both half Angora, and half common cat. So I
am, too, for that matter, but they are much better looking than I am. My
father is black and white, and we are black and white; but his black and
white and Serena and Jimmy Dory's black and white are laid on prettily.

I am a fright. Every one says so—cats and human beings—so it must be
true. I think myself, when I look in the glass that I am very ugly, but
I don't care a bit. Why should I worry? I can't see myself, unless I
look in a mirror. Let the other cats and people worry about me, and say
that my white face looks as if some one had thrown an ink bottle and
splashed me right across it. They are the ones that suffer, for they can
see me. I don't see myself.

My body is prettier than my face. I often laugh to myself when I am
creeping softly along, and some one says, “Oh! what a lovely black
kitten.” Then I turn round and the some one always shrieks, “You little
fright!” or “You ugly little thing!”

My mother says it is naughty in me to laugh, but I tell her that girl
squeals and cat squeals don't hurt me. The only things I am afraid of
are sticks and stones.

Then she smiles sadly, and says, “When you grow up to be a cat,
Black-Face, you will be sorry that your face does not please every one.”

I must say I don't believe her. I don't believe that my mother knows
half as much as I do. She is getting old and fussy, but I wouldn't say
this to any one but myself for the world. The kitten next door laughed
at my mother the other day, and I scratched him. I'd do it again, too. I
sha'n't let any one but myself criticise my mother while I have claws in
my velvet paws.

Well, I don't believe I'll think any more about myself to-night. I am
getting sleepy, and my head is sinking down on my pink cushion.

I wish I hadn't broken that pretty glass vase to-day. Mrs. Darley felt
very sorry. What was I doing on the mantelpiece? The dear only knows. It
looked tempting up there. It is such fun to twist between things and not
break them, and it is only once in a great while that I do have a smash.

I hope Billy will find his lead-pencils. I dropped them behind the
sofa—and what did I do with that dead mouse I was playing with? Did I
leave it on Margaret's bed? I believe I did. Well, she is a fat little
girl. It won't hurt her to scream a while. Mrs. Darley will run to her.
Good night, everybody—I am—so—sleepy.



                               CHAPTER II
                             A CAT'S REFUGE


Where am I? Can I collect my thoughts and reflect a little—was there
ever such an unhappy cat? Only last night I sat and purred myself to
sleep beside my dear mother. Pressed close against her soft fur, I had
no thought of harm, and now where am I? But I must not be silly. Let me
close my eyes, and purr hard for a while, then sense will come to me.

I must not open them. When I look round this room, and see the shadowy
form of cat after cat, I think I will go crazy—and yet what a simpleton
I am. I am safe here. Danger is over; let me be thankful that I escaped
as I did.

Well, to go back to this morning. The east wind was out of the air. When
mother and I, and father, and Serena, and Jimmy Dory came yawning and
stretching out of the sitting-room and looked down-stairs, the hall door
was wide open, the sun was pouring in.

Mrs. Darley was so glad. She just loves sunshine. She went round the
house opening doors and windows, and just as soon as breakfast was over,
we all ran out on the sidewalk.

Cats get dreadfully tired of a back yard, and the back yards on Beacon
Hill are so sunless and dull. We like fun and excitement—a little mild
excitement—as much as human beings do. So my father and mother sat on
the big sunny stone door-step, while Serena, Jimmy Dory and I played on
the pavement.

We had a tiny round pebble that we were rolling with our paws. It was
such a funny little pebble. I pushed it, and danced, and caught it in my
paws and tossed it, and had a beautiful time, until my mother began to
warn me.

“Black-Face, don't go down the hill; there are bad boys there. Keep up
here.”

“I don't see any boys,” I said wilfully.

“They will soon see you if you go down there,” said my father severely.

I didn't believe him, and I thought my mother was fussy. I see now that
little cats have to learn by experience. Nothing would have convinced me
that there were bad boys at the foot of the hill, if I had not seen them
and felt the grasp of their unkind hands.

While we were playing, the little pebble suddenly began to roll down
hill. How fast it went! I watched it for a few instants, and then
something said: “Go after it, Black-Face!”

I tried hard not to. I looked back at my parents sunning themselves on
the door-step, I stared at Serena and Jimmy Dory who were cautious young
cats, and rarely disobeyed their parents.

“I'll just snatch it and run back,” I mewed hastily; then I ran.

I caught the little pebble, but alas! Something caught me. Just as I put
my paw on it, I saw out of the corner of my eye a group of boys standing
in a near alley. I turned to run, but it was too late. One of them
sprang toward me, and seized me by the back.

Then he started to race, not up the hill, but further down. I was nearly
suffocated with fright and pain, for the boy held me so tightly that I
could scarcely breathe. No one had ever clutched me like this before. I
had never been whipped. I had never been roughly handled, for Margaret
and Billy were good children.

This boy was a monster. His face was red and dirty, his eyes were
bulging from his head, and he stumbled as he ran, so that I was afraid
he would fall on me and kill me.

I may as well say here that the boy was not as bad as he seemed to me.
He had not stolen me. He was merely having some fun, or what he called
fun. He was some poor child that had had no one to teach him to be kind
to animals. He did not dream that I was suffering. He did not think that
a cat was capable of suffering.

So he hurried on and on, and some of the other boys ran yelling behind
him. I don't know exactly what streets he took. I was too terrified to
notice the way we were going, but soon I saw a river in the distance.
Was he going to throw me in it? Half choked as I was, I dug my claws in
his coat, and gave a frantic “Meow!” for, like all cats, I hate water.

“Boy,” called a policeman suddenly, “what are you doing with that cat?”

My captor was frightened and dropped me, and he and the other boys
turned and ran back. You may be sure that I made a dash for liberty. I
sprang wildly past the policeman, and not daring to follow the boys who
were going toward my home, I leaped into a narrow, dirty street where
there was a dreadful confusion of wagons, cars and throngs of people.

I threaded my way among them all—I don't know how I escaped being
killed—until finally I was forced to pause for breath.

Unfortunately some boys and girls saw me and gave chase. I don't think
they wanted to hurt me. They wished to catch me, but I was in terror
again, and ran into an alley. They followed me, so I sprang on a heap of
boxes, and then to a low porch.

The children discovered me there, and while some tried to coax me down,
others threw stones at me. I looked up desperately. There was no help
for me on the ground, for a big boy had begun to climb on the porch.

I examined the sloping side of the house roof. Then I leaped on it. Two
or three times I fell back, but at last I succeeded in making my claws
hold. They were fine sharp ones, or they never would have done so.

In two minutes I was on the very roof of the house, panting hard, my
heart almost out of my body, everything black before my eyes; but I was
safe.

There I saw that I was free from pursuit. The children had gone away. At
the same time, the roof was not very comfortable. It was cold and
slippery, for, by this time, the lovely sun had gone behind a cloud, and
soon I began to be very uneasy.

I thought of my father, and mother, and Serena and Jimmy Dory—that
distressed group at the top of the hill—for I had had one glimpse of
them as I was snatched by the boy. Oh, why had I not minded my mother,
and not run away from home? What was going to become of me? Must I spend
the night in this dreadful place?

I thought of my little blue and white saucer that Mrs. Darley's kind
cook filled with milk for me every noon. “Oh, meow! meow!” I cried
pitifully. “Will no one help a poor little cat?”

A skylight in the roof opened, and an old man's face looked out. Such a
kind face, but still I did not trust him, and moved away to the other
end of the ridge pole. “Little cat,” he said seriously, “there is help
even for such as you. I will go seek it,” and he disappeared.

I did not know what he meant, so I continued to cry piteously. I wanted
my mother and dear Mrs. Darley. I was too far up to be heard from the
street, but a few persons opened near-by windows, and looked at me
indifferently.

“Only a cat,” they said. “Let her get down the way she came up.”

“Oh, dear! dear!” I mewed, “must I stay on this roof till I perish from
hunger?” For now it was beginning to get dark and cloudy and to look
like rain. “Oh, meow! meow!”

Just as I was giving up hope, the skylight opened again.

“There she is, sir,” I heard the old man say, then a young man put his
head out, and looked at me.

He had a good face. I'm only a kitten, but I've found out that if a man
spends his life in doing good, he has a good face.

I trusted him, and yet I was afraid to go to him, if you can understand
that.

“Kitty,” he said soberly, “over there,” and he waved his hand toward the
heart of the city, “is a place where lost dogs and cats are sheltered.
Come to me, and I will take you to it. Come——” and he held out his hand.

“Oh, meow! meow!” I said, “if I go to you, perhaps you will throw me
away down there in that raging, horrible street.”

“No, Pussy,” he said seriously, shaking his head. “No, I never have
deceived an animal. Come here, and I will put you in a nice basket where
no one will see you, and I will carry you through the noisy street.
Here——” and he threw me a tiny piece of liver.

Now, I am very fond of nicely cooked liver. I think it is vulgar to eat
it raw. Fortunately, I caught the liver, and it did taste good, and made
me think more of the man. He still had some in his hand. I smelt it, so
I crept timidly toward him along the roof.

“Poor Pussy! poor Pussy!” he kept saying, and presently I was eating
from his hand, and he was stroking my ears as I ate. Then he stepped
back quietly into the room. He didn't try to catch me, but he put the
liver down where I could reach it.

I peeped in through the skylight. The young man and the old man were
talking. “Yes, sir,” the younger one was saying, “we've got a refuge for
dogs and cats, but it isn't half large enough. I look at the matter this
way. The animals are put in the world by the same Creator that put us
here. They've got their rights. Give them their share of room on mother
earth, and if you don't love them, and love to take care of them, and
you worship only your own selfish, old body, then take care of the
animals out of that same love for yourself.”

“That's so, sir, that's so,” and the old man nodded his head.

“Because,” the young man went on, “a neglected animal is a diseased
animal, and a diseased animal is a menace to the millionaire as well as
to the pauper. Germs of disease can't be fenced in. So I say, kill sick
and homeless creatures, if you can't get a good home for them.”

“Would you kill that cat?” asked the old man pointing to me.

As his hand pointed toward me, my nose pointed straight for the
skylight, but the young man re-assured me.

“No,” he said thoughtfully, looking me over, “that is a young, healthy
kitten, and part Angora. We'll get a home for her.”

By this time I had had enough liver, so I went smelling round the little
table where the old man kept a basin and pitcher of water, and like the
perfect gentleman that he was, he got up, and gave me a drink.

Then I went to sleep. I was dreadfully tired, and I knew that I could
trust those two men, so finding that the softest place was the middle of
the old man's bed, I jumped up there and had a beautiful nap while they
went on talking.

I didn't sleep very soundly, and as soon as the young man rose, I rose
too. He stretched out a hand, took me up gently, and put me in a nice,
lined basket. Then he covered me up, and said “Good-bye!” to the old
man.

I didn't like the basket, but I wasn't frightened. Soon I heard round me
the roar of the street, then the jarring of an electric car. Then, after
a good while, I felt that the young man was walking rapidly along
another street.

In a few minutes he stopped short, opened one door, then another, and
then the noise of the street fell away, and I heard other noises.

“Well, Mr. Green!” a woman's voice exclaimed, “here you are at last. Do
give me whatever you have got. Two urgent calls are waiting. One for a
mad dog in a yard on Tremont Street, which, of course, means a poor
wretch which has been chased till he is foaming at the mouth, and
another for a cat and kittens deserted in a cellar on Washington
Street—Do hurry.”

I felt some one take the basket and lift the cover.

“Oh! a kitten, and half Angora,” and a pleasant-faced young lady looked
down at me. “Well, she must go in the cat-room. Mercy!” and she slightly
raised her voice.

I stared about me. I was in a kind of office. There was a large desk and
many pictures of animals were on the walls. Then a nice,
motherly-looking woman came in, took me up as if I had been a baby, and
carried me into a hall, and up some stairs. She talked kindly to me all
the way up, and presently she opened the door of a room, put me down
gently, paused an instant or two to see what kind of a reception I met
with, then went away.

I gazed about me. Where was I? Was it a party? I had never seen so many
cats together, not even in the biggest yard congress on Beacon Hill.

The room was large and beautifully neat and clean. Around the walls were
boxes and baskets, and in many of them cats lay asleep. Others walked
about the room, some ran up to me—mostly young ones—and asked my name
and where I came from.

I put up my back at first, but when I saw they were all kindly disposed,
I put it down again.

“What is this place?” I asked, sitting down against the door.

“Why, this is a cats' home,” said a young thing with a yellow face.
“Have you never heard of it? Sick cats, lost cats, starved cats, bad
cats, good cats, young cats and old cats are all brought here. You're
kept several days, and if you're not claimed, you're mercifully
destroyed, or else given away. I say, do you suppose you'll be claimed?”

“Be what?” I asked.

“Be claimed. Will your folks come to look for you? I wish mine would,”
and she gazed wistfully at the door.

“I believe they lost you on purpose,” said a little white kitten
spitefully.

My new friend had to box her ears for this, so I turned to another cat
who was politely offering to show me around.

She pointed out the warmest sleeping places in the room, then she took
me out through a little swinging door to the roof-garden.

Just fancy—a roof-garden for cats. I was delighted with it. There were
little trees in boxes, and big pans of water, and a wire netting over
all to keep the cats from running away.

“No boys could chase you here,” I said.

“Oh, no,” my new friend replied. “No one chases us. It is a lovely
place, but still it has a serious drawback.”

“A drawback,” I repeated, “what is it?”

“You will see—just wait.”

I have seen. I have found out that all these cats are homesick. Now
bedtime has come, it is dreadful. They all look sad, and some of them
are moaning in their sleep. They have all been used to human beings. Cat
society is not good enough for them.

Down below in the courtyard, for this is a dogs' home as well, we can
hear the big animals crying out and howling. They are dreaming of their
dear masters and mistresses. Oh! I hope Mrs. Darley knows about this
sheltering home for animals, and that she will come in the morning to
get me. Good night, dear father Piebald Prince, and Mother
Dust-and-Ashes. I am not with you, but I hope you will sleep well, and
not think about me. Good night, Serena, and Jimmy Dory. You are often
provoking, but I love you both.



                              CHAPTER III
                          A SURPRISING CHANGE


Last night I thought I was in a queer place, but upon my word, to-night
I am in a queerer; and I don't believe that in Boston there is a more
puzzled or confused little cat than I am. Here I lie, curled up in a
heap of soft, white fur and pink silk—I think it is an old opera
cloak—that is carefully arranged in a big armchair near the bed where
sleeps a pale, pretty little girl. I was the last thing that her eyes
rested on before she went to sleep, and she wished me to be the first
object before her when she awoke.

There is a dull fire burning in the grate with a wire guard before it.
One of the windows is open, and soon the fire will go out and the room
will be quite cold, but I won't mind it, wrapped as I am in this soft
cloak.

Fixing my eyes on the few red coals, I am thinking over the events of
the day. Let me begin from the first, for whenever we go out and come in
again, my mother says, “Please tell me everything you have done since
you left me,” so that she has got her kittens in the habit of relating
things, and thinking them over in a orderly way.

Last night I went to sleep in the big room in the Cats' Home. I hadn't a
very comfortable night of course, but still I slept a good deal, and
whenever I woke with a start I was glad to find myself in a place where
no one could chase me.

Early in the morning I went out in the roof-garden. It was rather hard
for the kittens to get out, for two old cats stationed themselves each
side of the swinging door and boxed the ears of every kitten that
passed. One boxed the right side, and one the left, but after it was
over we didn't mind it much.

The most of us drank our milk out there. Such nice big dishes of it, the
woman called “Mercy” brought to us.

As soon as breakfast time was over, we began to have callers—mostly
ladies and children. Some wanted to find an old cat, some to find a new
cat, some to get rid of a cat, some to give money to the cats; but they
all wanted to see us.

It was very interesting to watch the actions of the pussies. They would
look narrowly at the visitors. Then if they liked a lady or a child,
they would circle round that particular person, and beg to be taken
away.

I was sitting apart, watching the various groups about the big room,
when a little girl came right up to the corner where I was alone.

“Here is a lovely, little pussy,” she said in a sympathetic voice.
“Pussy, don't you want to be adopted?”

“Meow!” I said doubtfully, for every minute I was hoping that Mrs.
Darley would appear.

“Oh, mamma, mamma!” said the little girl, “I love this pussy with the
black splash on her face. Mayn't I have her?”

A very pretty lady came up and looked at me kindly. “Certainly, Mary, if
you are able to get her. There must be some good blood in her. See how
long her fur is. I will speak to the secretary about her,” and she went
away.

The little girl remained, and continued to stroke and caress me. I did
not respond very much. I was uneasy and troubled.

Soon her mamma came back. “Yes, Mary, you may have her, if no one claims
her, but the secretary thinks from her actions that she has been a pet
cat, so we had better give the owner a chance of finding her.”

“Oh, mamma, I want this kitty, I want this kitty,” said the little girl
longingly. “Her little sorry face just suits me. I think I could make
her happy,” and she took me in her arms and petted me, until, for
shame's sake, I had to purr a little, and rub my head against her.

Her mother stood looking at her smilingly. Then another person came
along, a taller person, and stood gazing at us over her shoulder.

I gave a loud and joyful meow, and sprang forward. That was Mrs.
Darley's lovely face.

Oh! how glad I was to see her! I went round and round her. I rubbed my
body against her. I sprang on her shoulder. I just burrowed in the fur
collar of her coat, till she laughed and put me down.

“Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Darley!” said the mother of the little girl.

“Why—Mrs. Denville!” exclaimed Mrs. Darley in surprise, “I did not see
you. I was so taken up with my kitten. I lost her yesterday.”

Little Mary's face was a study. She was trying hard not to be
disappointed, but, in spite of herself, she could not help it.

“Oh, mamma, mamma,” she said in an undertone, “I have lost my kitty.”

Her mother looked at her, in the way my mother looks at her kittens when
they want something and she is afraid she can't get it for them.

Then this lady—this Mrs. Denville—turned to my dear mistress. “This is
my daughter, Mary,” she said. “Your arrival has dashed her hopes to the
ground. She was hoping to become the proud possessor of this kitten.”

“Was she?” replied Mrs. Darley in her good-humored way. “Come here, my
dear, and shake hands with me. You are a kind little girl. I can see by
your eyes. Now, suppose I were to give you this kitty?”

Mary's eyes danced with joy, but horror entered into my soul.

“You see,” said Mrs. Darley, caressing my ears as she spoke, “I have so
many cats. I can easily spare one, but I am rather particular about my
pussies. I only give them to persons who will love them and treat them
sensibly. Now, I have heard of you and your love for animals, and I am
sure a cat would do well in your hands, so I will give you my young
Black-Face, if you like.”

Little Mary came slowly up to Mrs. Darley, and laid a hand on her arm.
“If you give me that kitty,” she said solemnly, “and I don't take good
care of it, I hope the Lord will punish me.”

Mrs. Darley smiled. “I don't think that there is any danger of your
ill-treating an animal. Well, now I must go. I am glad that my wandering
kitten was brought here. What a blessed thing it is, that there is this
refuge for lost animals.”

“And are you not going to take away a cat?” asked Mary gently.

“I don't think so,” replied Mrs. Darley. “I have four at home. I
suppose, though, I could take one, for five is my limit. I never keep
more than that. Mercy,” she said to the woman who had just come into the
room, “have you any hopeless cases?”

“Yes, ma'am,” said the woman, “there's that Jane,” and she pointed to a
gray cat in the corner. “She's got to be killed with the old cats, I
think. She's ugly looking, and she's lame, and she won't take any
trouble to make herself agreeable to strangers, and she gives the young
kittens a dreadful time of it. She don't enjoy life herself, and she
won't let any one else enjoy it.”

“Jane,” said Mrs. Darley, “come here.”

Jane would not come.

“Poor Jane,” said Mrs. Darley. “I wonder if I could soften that unhappy
face. Mercy, I'll try her. Just put her in a basket, and I will take her
home—now good-bye, Black-Face.”

I was in a whirl of confused emotions. My dear mistress was going to
leave me, and I was helpless. I was not strong enough to make her take
me with her. I should never again see my dear father and mother and
brother and sister. It seemed to me that my heart was breaking.

“Cheer up, Black-Face,” whispered Mrs. Darley, for I had climbed on her
shoulder, and had my head close against her face. “Cheer up. Partings
are hard to bear, both for cats and human beings, but they are sometimes
for our good. You will have a lovely home with that dear
child—Good-bye.”

She hugged me to her for a minute, then she resolutely put me down, and
though I ran and cried after her, Mary and her mother held me back. Mrs.
Darley went out of the room without me, and with that horrible Jane.

I was almost a crazy little cat, and Mary's eyes filled with tears as
she listened to my cries.

“Perhaps, mamma,” she said, “we ought not to keep her.”

“She will get over her trouble,” her mother replied; “try her for a few
days.”

They asked for another basket, and Mercy brought one, and I was put in
it and carried out-of-doors.

Mrs. Denville's carriage was waiting for them, and we got in and were
driven to their home—and let me think again how surprised I was when I
found where their home is—scarcely a stone's throw from Mrs. Darley's.
Mrs. Darley is on Mount Vernon Street, the Denvilles are on Beacon
Street.

I know the whole neighborhood, and as soon as we arrived in the
Denvilles' house, and little Mary took me up to her room and let me look
out the window I was overcome with joy. Why, I could run home any day,
and I began to be comforted.

“Now, Pussy,” said Mary taking me on her lap, and sitting down by the
window, “I want to talk to you. I am going to tell you all about myself,
and I want you to listen attentively. My name is Mary Denville, and I am
not a very strong little girl. I have a very weak back.”

“Oh meow! meow! just like my mother,” I interrupted.

Mary smiled. “I see you understand me. To continue, Pussy, my father is
what is called a banker. He was born in Maine, but he went to California
as a young man. He married there, and we lived there until a few years
ago, he and I, and dear mamma. Then we came 'East' as Californians say,
for I had spinal disease, and I had to be taken to New York to see some
clever doctors. Then I got better, and mamma took me to Europe. Papa
bought this house, and when we came home we established ourselves here.
Do you think you will like me, Pussy?”

Her little face was so sweet and so wistful that I could not help
saying, “Meow!” very gently to her.

She stroked me, and turned my head toward the window and pointed out
nice things on the Common opposite us. “You see, this is a beautiful
situation for a home,” Mary went on, half to herself, half to me. “The
snow has gone now, and one can see the grass and the dear little buds
coming on the trees. Can you find that squirrel away over there on the
tree branch, Pussy? His bright eyes are on me. All through the winter I
fed him with nice nuts, and he is grateful. Some day I will carry you
down to see him, but you must not chase him, Pussy.”

She talked to me a long time about the Common, and the people on it—it
was noon, and a great many were hurrying up to the hill to get their
lunch—until at last some one opened the door.

“Lunch is ready, Miss Mary,” I heard some one say, and looking round I
saw an old woman.

“Very well, nurse,” replied my little mistress, and getting up, she
slipped me in the chair by the window.

“I do not dare to take you down-stairs so soon, Black-Face, for you
might run away, but I will bring you up something nice.”

I sat by the window, and watched the people outside, and dozed a while,
until Mary came back with a tray for me. I jumped up then, and looked at
it. It contained cream toast, a slice of chicken, and a saucer of milk.

I had a very nice lunch, then Mary said, “Now, what shall I do with you?
My governess comes at three to give me some lessons. Would you like to
go in the school-room, or would you rather stay here?”

I did not want to be left alone, so I mewed round her feet, and she took
me up and carried me to another room.

There was a fire in it, and a table with books on it and some
straight-backed chairs. I lay down on the fur rug by the grate, and soon
went fast asleep, while Mary and a tall young lady talked about things
that I did not in the least understand.

So our afternoon passed, then came dinner. I was dreadfully tired and
sleepy by this time, and fell to nodding over my plate of turkey bones.

Soon after dinner, Mary's old nurse put her to bed. First, though, the
little girl chose the most comfortable chair in the room for me, drew it
close to her bed and wrapped me in this cloak. Here I lie, curled up
comfortably, half asleep and half awake, and, as I say, very puzzled and
confused. Am I going to be happy here, away from my parents? What shall
I do to amuse myself all day? There is not another cat in sight. I
thought I heard dogs in the basement. I smelt them, anyway. I hate dogs.
Well, I must go to sleep. It won't do any good to lie awake bothering
about the future. Oh, how comfortable I am! My poor old mother—I wish
she could have had a nice cloak like this to sleep on, when she was a
poor homeless cat, crouching in the shelter of a fence to keep herself
from the cold rain. Why can't all cats have nice homes? Aren't there
enough homes to go round? I saw a cat on the Common this afternoon—very
thin, and dirty, and skulking from tree to tree looking for scraps. Why
am I wrapped in a fur cloak, and why is she out in the cold? Am I a
better cat than she is? Probably not. I am called a naughty kitten. My
brain is quite tired from thinking about things. I will go to sleep.



                               CHAPTER IV
                           I VISIT MY FAMILY


To-day I had quite an experience.

I have been in the Denvilles' family just three days, and the more I see
of my young mistress the more I like her.

Actually, I have not done one bad thing since I came. My little mistress
keeps me with her all the time. Her company is a great satisfaction to
me, and a great safeguard. If some bad animals were allowed to be more
in the society of the human beings they love, they also would improve.

Well, I have been closely watched to see that I did not run away. I have
been even taken in the carriage to drive. Little Mary got an old muff of
her mother—a huge, soft thing, and when we go out, she puts me in it.
Oh! what fun I have sitting on the seat beside Mary, and staring at all
the queer things in the streets. So many of them I have never seen
before, and Mary explains them to me as politely as if I were a human
being. Her nurse went with us one day, and her mamma went the other
days.

On account of little Mary's delicate health she is always kept
out-of-doors in the morning, while the sun is nice and warm, and she
does lessons in the afternoon.

This morning when we started to drive she said, “Black-Face, suppose we
go and call on your relatives?”

Now, I thought this was a perfectly sweet thing for her to say, so I
mewed my approval, and Mary spoke to her nurse, and the nurse told the
coachman to drive us to Mrs. Darley's.

Oh! how my heart beat when I saw that big green hall door. Just as soon
as Gerty, the house-maid, opened it, I sprang out of the carriage and
was into the house like a flash. Up the steps, and into the sitting-room
I went. There they were, all on the window-seat—all the dear cats
basking in the warm spring sunlight. I jumped in the midst of them.
Didn't I give them a fright!

My dear mother uttered a little cry, my father drew himself up severely,
and Serena forgot her fine manners for once, and gave me a smart cuff.

“Isn't that like Black-Face?” mewed Jimmy Dory; “but I'll make her say,
'I beg pardon,'” and he took me round the neck by his two paws till I
squealed.

“Well, my dear kitten,” said my father, when we had all got ourselves
straightened out, “how are you, and how are you getting on?”

This was a very proud moment for me. Of course I had been dreadfully
homesick away from them all, but still it was worth going through
everything to come back and be treated with so much consideration. They
were all actually sitting around, waiting for me to speak. Now that had
never happened to me before in my short life, and I licked my lips, and
tried to speak slowly so as to make the pleasure last.

“To begin with,” I drawled, “I have nearly died of loneliness away from
you all.”

[Illustration: “MY MOTHER BEGAN TO POLISH OFF MY HEAD.”]

“Oh, quit that,” said Jimmy Dory. “Tell us about your adventures. We saw
the boy grab you, now go on. Mrs. Darley didn't tell half enough when
she came from the cats' home.”

I began from the beginning. I told them about the bad boys and the good
old man, and the good young one, and the cats' home, and dear little
Mary Denville. Then I said anxiously, “Have you missed me?”

No one said a word, but my mother began to polish off my head, just as
she had done every day since I was a tiny kitten. Indeed, the first
thing I remember was my mother licking the top of my head. Just now, she
polished off one ear, she polished off the other, she made me lower my
head so she could get at the back of my neck, and as she licked, I was
comforted. My dear mother had missed me, if the others hadn't.

My father was clearing his throat. “Well, you see,” he said with a
proud, approving glance at me, “cats are attached to their offspring,
but they are well pleased to see them settled in life—comfortably
settled, I mean. Now I should say that, your first catastrophe over, you
had fallen on your feet. The Denvilles' establishment is a very fine
one.”

“Are you happy there?” purred my mother in my ear.

“Now I am,” I mewed softly. “At first I was dreadfully miserable——” Then
I raised my voice. “I am not complaining,” I said, addressing my father.
“That would be ungrateful. Why, I am first in the affections of my
little mistress. I believe she likes me better than she does her
parents.”

“Hem! hem!” growled my father doubtfully, while Serena and Jimmy Dory
burst out laughing.

“Well, anyway,” I said in some confusion, “she just surrounds me with
comfort from morning till night. She never leaves me. I go everywhere
with her, and there is not another cat about the place.”

“Then there must be dogs,” cried Jimmy Dory promptly, “and we all love
dogs—oh! yes!”

“Yes, there are dogs,” I returned snappishly, “but they were kept away
from me at first so they wouldn't frighten me.”

“How many of the detestable creatures have you?” inquired Serena
grandly, and she threw up her head, and looked at me as if she had
glasses on. It is her usual trick. She thinks it is smart to pretend
that she has a pair of spectacles over the bridge of her nose. She knows
it makes me feel small and kittenish, and as if I don't know anything.

“There are two,” I said, “and I have got used to them already. They are
the two best dogs that were ever made.”

“You speak in superlatives, my dear child,” purred Serena elegantly.
“What breed are the creatures?”

“One is a tiny spaniel,” I replied crossly, “and one is a St. Bernard.”

“The two breeds I most dislike,” murmured Serena. “How tiresome, I shall
not be able to go to see you.”

“Don't mind her,” purred my mother in my ear. “She and Jimmy have been
contrary and nervous since you left. They miss you very much, and so
does your dear father.”

“By the way,” I said, “what became of the cat Mrs. Darley brought home
to take my place? 'Jane' she called her.”

“Oh! that vulgar creature,” exclaimed Serena elevating her nose. “We
soon chased her down-stairs. She undertook to fight, but I settled her.”

“She is happier in the kitchen,” murmured my mother. “She is a peculiar
cat.”

“What do you get to eat at your house?” inquired Jimmy Dory suddenly,
and smacking his lips as he spoke.

“Oh, delicious things,” I replied; “cream, and nice little bits of fish,
and cheese, and meat just as tender as possible, and French bread and—I
forget the other things.”

“If that is all you have not quite as much of a variety as you had
here,” remarked Serena loftily.

The tears came in my eyes. If I had not been such a bad little kitten
perhaps Serena would have thought more of me.

“Go kiss her,” whispered my mother in her sweet, rough voice.

That voice always overcomes me. It is hoarse, because she has always a
sore throat, caught from being out-of-doors so much in the cold.

I stepped firmly across Jimmy Dory to the place where Serena lay lashing
her tail in the sunshine. Then I bent over her, and licked one of her
pretty paws.

That pleased her. Serena would like to be a queen of cats. She didn't
say a word. She didn't speak of forgiving me for going away, or coming
to see me, but she lay and looked at the spot I had licked. That meant
that she did really forgive me. Serena knew I loved her, but she always
said I made her nervous.

“Come, have a wrestle,” exclaimed Jimmy Dory, and he bit my tail to make
me spring after him. We were having a glorious rough and tumble game,
when Mrs. Darley and Mary came into the room. My first impulse was to
run to Mary, and I did.

She was in an ecstasy. “Why, she likes me, the dear little creature!”
she said catching me up. “She wants to go home with me. I was afraid
that she would want to stay with her parents.”

I looked back at them. I wanted to stay, and yet I didn't. I had got out
into the world, and it was interesting.

My mother and father and Jimmy Dory gazed curiously at little Mary, but
they did not get up to speak to her. They cared nothing for her. Mrs.
Darley was their mistress, and their eyes rested lovingly on her—but
Serena went up and smelt the rich fur on her coat.

“Cats are very comfortable creatures,” said my little mistress, fondling
me. “They don't worry us, and they creep up to us when we are in
trouble.”

My dear little mistress—how could I run away from her—and to-day, as she
was about to leave Mrs. Darley's, I nestled very closely in her arms.

“Good-bye, pussies,” she said politely to the window-seat—“Good-bye,
Mrs. Darley—and now, Black-Face, we must get out in the sunshine, or
nurse will be impatient.”

I mewed apologetically to my family. My mother's eyes rested on me,
followed me down-stairs, were fixed on me through the window as I was
taken into the carriage. They are very speaking eyes. She didn't want me
to leave her. She was telling me to take care of myself, to be cautious
with the dogs, to come soon again to see her. Oh, I read a great deal in
those eyes!

Mother cats must suffer a good deal.

After we left Mrs. Darley's this morning, Mary and I had a lovely drive.
Then we came home for lunch, and had lessons in the afternoon.

Mary was considerably worried about the cat on the Common. This
afternoon there was a sharp wind, and when Mary saw her come out toward
dusk, and go skulking from tree to tree as her habit is, she got one of
the maids to go out with some food in a basket.

The poor cat ran like the wind, and Mary's face fell. No one can catch
her. There would be no use in sending the good agent after her who
caught me, for we would not know where to tell him to go.

I made up my mind what I would do when I saw how my little mistress was
grieved. I would get that cat for her. So this evening after dinner,
when Mary went into the library to have a little chat with her papa, I
slipped out in the hall. If I could get out through that big hall door I
would be able to run out on the Common. I hid behind a curtain and
waited. Soon a ring came at the door bell.

The young man-servant, Anthony, came sauntering through the hall. He
opened the door, took a note from a boy, and while he was looking at the
address, and the boy was looking at him, I crept by them both.

Neither saw me, and I sprang down the steps, across the pavement, into
the street, over the other sidewalk, and down more steps to the Common.
Oh, how dark and cold it was in spite of the bright lights sparkling
everywhere! How different from the Denvilles' warm house. Was I
frightened? No, I was not. Something rose in me—something that was all
joy. I loved the darkness, because it was like a big, safe covering over
me. Boys could not see me now, nor dogs, and I could see them. I was not
a bit afraid, but I was cold, and I would like to finish my work, and
get into the house again.

“Meow! meow!” I said tentatively, and I walked toward the pond. The
strange pussy was not there. “Meow!” I said again, and I went toward a
big elm that was a favorite hiding-place of hers.

She did not answer me, and I had to conceal myself for a minute, until
two young men passed.

For a long time I went from tree to tree, but there was not a sound.
Then I gave up calling and, crouching on all fours behind a seat, I
began to talk cat talk to myself. “I wish I could find that poor
creature. I would like to do something for her. If she knew what a good
home I could lead her to, she would come to me. Oh! meow! meow! I am so
sorry for her.”

I paused for an instant to listen to a distant fire-alarm, then I got up
and began to stretch myself. I might as well go home. Just then, I
thought I heard a faint sound.

“Meow!” I said encouragingly.

“Meow!” said a very small voice, a very small, thin voice.

“Meow!” I said more loudly. “Don't be afraid. I am only a kitten. Meow!
meow!”

She would not come to me, and I began to investigate. There she was
under the shadow of the bank, a crouching, gray creature, too terrified
to move, and yet all ready to spring away.

“I'm only a kitten,” I said again—“a this spring's kitten. Don't be so
frightened. Have boys chased you?”

“The hull world chases me,” she said in a faint voice.

“Well, I won't chase you. Can't you come nearer?”

“Nop.”

“Are you hungry?” I asked, keeping my distance.

“Not very. I had a sparrow yesterday. It was dumpish, and fell out of a
tree.”

“My little mistress has been watching you from her window,” I said. “She
sent some food out to you to-day, but you ran away.”

“I was scared,” said the cat shiveringly. “I thought the woman wanted to
put me in that basket.”

“Suppose she had. She would have carried you to a good home.”

“A man put me in a basket onct, and took me home. Then he tried to
murder me, but I hopped out the window,” she said in a dreadful voice.

“Well, no one in our house would try to kill you. I would like to do
something for you. Will you follow me home?”

“Oh, no! no!” she said gaspingly. “I ain't got no acquaintance with
you.”

I was silent for a few seconds, planning what to do for her. I could not
see her very plainly, for she kept herself well in the background, but I
could see enough to make me half sick with pity. She was skin and bone,
and her eyes were the most terrified things I had ever seen.

“Will you wait here a few minutes?” I said at last. “I know where I can
get you a nice chicken bone. I'll run and find it, and come to you as
quickly as I can.”

“I never had no chicken bones,” she said faintly.

“Don't move then, and I'll get you one,” I returned, and I sped away.

Thinking it over, I wonder now I had patience—I, who am supposed to be
so impatient—to go back to the house, to wait till the door was opened,
and then to sneak in, find the bone that I had secreted in a corner of
Mary's room, seize it in my mouth, skulk down-stairs, wait for another
ring at the bell, and dash out again.

Well, I did it, and I laid the bone down near the cat. Then I went off a
little way, and one of the most beautiful sounds I have heard so far in
my short life was her hungry teeth crunching that bone. There was a good
deal of meat on it, and of course she ate that first, but the bone went
too. She put her head first on one side then on the other, till she
cracked it all to pieces.

[Illustration:

  “SHE PUT HER HEAD FIRST ON ONE SIDE THEN ON THE OTHER, TILL SHE
    CRACKED IT ALL TO PIECES.”
]

“Did that taste nice?” I asked, when she had finished.

She gratefully licked her lips. “It's the first square meal I ever had.”

“Do you call that square?” I asked in dismay. “Why, it's only a first
course. But I can't bring you any more to-night. Will you wait here
to-morrow night for me?”

“I don' know,” she said timidly.

“Please come,” I said. “I'll bring you a nice piece of meat, maybe
beefsteak.”

Her mouth watered, and I saw I had conquered her.

“Will you come alone?” she asked.

“Yes, stark alone. Now, good night. My young mistress will be anxious,
if she misses me.”

She didn't say good night. She hadn't any manners, but what could one
expect from such a poor creature—and she didn't talk nicely. She is a
common, low-down thing, but is that any reason why she should be left to
starve? She is just as good as I am in one way, and thinking over the
matter, as I sit dozing here in my big chair, I am glad that I went to
see her. I will be sure to go again to-morrow.

Little Mary is coming up-stairs. I just got home in time. Poor Common
cat. I wonder how you will sleep?



                               CHAPTER V
                         THE CAT ON THE COMMON


For some nights I have been so tired that the instant I jumped up on my
opera cloak I went right to sleep. No time for thought, no time for a
little cat to review the events of her day, and wonder whether she had
done right or wrong, and whether she had made a simpleton of herself, or
whether she had been very wise.

However, there is no need for me to indulge in wonderment. I am a
foolish, light-hearted, selfish, mischievous kitten. I have always heard
that from my birth, from dear Serena, and I know it without her telling
me. My mother has always praised me, but I see through her. She is so
good that she wants to make me good too, and when I hear my mother
praising any one, cat, dog, or human being, it always makes me
suspicious of that creature. The less it deserves praise, the more she
gives it. However, I must not dwell on my badness. I do not imagine it
has a good effect upon me. I will think over the one really kind thing
that I believe I have done in the course of my short life. Perhaps I did
not do it in the best way—however, I did it, and to my great joy I sit
here dozing and dreaming, and occasionally opening my eyes to look at
that Common cat, who, at the present moment, is under Mary's bed, sound
asleep.

Yes, I got her here, but it was hard work. How care pulls one down. I
declare, I have been just worn out with anxiety and secrecy. I hate to
do things slyly. Now for days I have had to manœuvre. First to hide some
of my food, then to get it out to the cat.

The night after my first interview with her, all went well. I secured a
lovely piece of Porterhouse steak. I carried it down-stairs, I hid with
it behind the curtain. There were a good many rings at the bell that
night, and I had no trouble in getting out, and no trouble in getting
in. The Common cat was in her place behind the bench with her eyes
shining like hungry stars.

She tore at the food, and I watched her with my own mouth watering in
sympathy. When she had finished, she licked her lips and washed her
face, and muttered enjoyably, “That's the stuff!”

It gave me a warm feeling round my heart to see her so satisfied, and
bidding her to be in the same place the next night I ran home.

The next night I had a dreadful time, a horrible time. It was raining
cats and dogs, as the saying is, only I never saw them. There were very
few rings at the bell, but at last one came after I had been crouching
for half an hour under the thick curtain before the door of the
reception-room.

As I slipped out the front door carrying a tea biscuit in my mouth,
which was the only thing I had been able to hide that day, I could hear
my dear young mistress calling me to come to bed. That was enough to
make me nervous, and then I kept dropping the biscuit, and it got soggy
in the rain, and by the time I got to the poor cat, I was, to tell the
truth, just a little bit out of temper.

“There, you see,” I said, almost throwing the biscuit at her, “I haven't
anything nice for you. Whereas if you would come in the house, and throw
yourself on the mercy of my young mistress, I assure you that she would
find a good home for you.”

“Oh, I dassen't,” said the poor cat in a terrified way.

I silently watched her eat the biscuit, then I shook the rain drops off
myself, and started for the house.

Alas! the door was shut, and kept shut. I crouched close up to it, and
mewed as loudly as I could, for, to my grief, I could hear Mary and the
servants inside calling, “Pussy! Pussy!”

They did this at intervals for an hour or two.

Then I heard Mr. Denville's deep voice by the hall door. “Tell the child
to go to bed. Her cat is coiled up somewhere asleep, and does not want
to be disturbed. She will appear in the morning.”

“Oh, papa!” I heard in a well-known, tearful voice, and I knew that
little Mary was calling to him over the stair railing, “my kitty
wouldn't stay away from me, if she heard me call. Something has happened
to her.”

“Perhaps she has been stolen,” said Mrs. Denville to her husband.

“Oh! why don't they open the door,” I thought to myself. “How stupid
they are!”

By this time I was very uncomfortable. My long hair was dripping with
rain drops, and I was shivering with cold.

Just when my need was sorest, I heard to my delight a command in the
familiar deep voice, “Open the door, Anthony, and look outside.”

Mr. Denville was really a very clever man. As Anthony opened the door, I
sprang inside. I just rushed up-stairs, and wet and bedraggled as I was,
my dear little mistress caught me in her arms.

I was dried by the fire, and put to bed, and next morning at the
breakfast table there was a great deal of talk about “Pussy,” and how
she got out-of-doors.

“She never, never would go out herself,” said little Mary shaking her
pretty head as she ate her boiled egg. “Never, mamma. Black-Face hates
the street. Some naughty person must have stolen her, and she ran away
from him, and came back home. Oh! how I shall watch her after this.”

I was sitting close by her feet under the breakfast table, and her
decision filled me with dismay. How was I to get food to the poor Common
cat that night?

I could not do it. I was not left alone for one instant, and the food I
hid and tried to take under the bed, was found and thrown to the
sparrows.

I was in a fine plight. However, I had to go to bed, and sleep as well
as I could.

The next night, which was to-night, I had better luck. Mary's back was
turned for a few minutes after dinner. I ran like a fox to the hall, and
got behind the curtain. During the day I had managed to put a little
piece of mutton there. Not a very large piece for a well-fed cat, but a
good hearty meal for a cat that didn't know what it was to go to bed
with a full stomach.

This evening there were plenty of rings at the bell, and I soon slipped
out. To my surprise, the big St. Bernard watch dog, Mona, who is usually
in the back yard, was sitting on the steps close to the door.

The dogs are very friendly to me, both this big one and the little one,
who is called Dolly. I acted a little silly at first, and used to put up
my back whenever I saw them, but this big creature came up to me one
day, and said, “You little simpleton, put your back down. I am here to
protect you. If any dog sprang at you, I would shake him till he didn't
know whether he was a dog or a door-mat. You might as well be friends,”
and she touched me with her great muzzle.

After that we were friends, and seeing her on the step this evening gave
me courage, until I reflected that the size of her great body would
frighten the poor Common cat to death, if she should see her. So I would
not enter into conversation, but stepped softly down the steps, carrying
the mutton between my teeth.

Mona stretched out her thick neck, and sniffed at me. “You foolish cat,
are you going through the street with that bait in your mouth? Something
will catch you.”

“Nothing will,” I said in a voice muffled by the mutton, and I went on
toward the Common.

Mona followed me slowly. What was I to do? I turned, and instead of
going right on the Common, went deliberately down Beacon Street toward
Charles Street.

We must have looked rather ridiculous. I can't help laughing when I
think of it. I—a small-sized cat—walking solemnly along the middle of
the street, holding the piece of meat, and the huge dog stepping
carefully after me.

When we got to Charles Street, I turned to the right. Then I suddenly
sprang back, flew to the Common, and ran up the hill again.

I am a pretty swift runner, but that dreadful dog kept me in sight, and
at last I stopped. I did not dare to go near the cat with this big
creature in tow.

Opposite the house we both sat down on the gravel walk of the Common,
and stared at each other. Mona was panting heavily. Her fur is so long
and thick that she gets hot in a flash.

“You're up to some mischief,” she said crossly. “Cats are sly anyway.”

I laid the piece of mutton between my paws. “Cats are not sly. They are
hunted and chased, and have to act sly—but in reality they are as open
and honest as dogs.”

“Very well,” she said sarcastically, “it's a matter of opinion.”

“Are you going to tag me all night?” I inquired teasingly.

“Yes, I am.”

I repeated an aggravating rhyme I know.

                “Tig-tag, rig-a-jag,
                Get your news and put in a bag.
                Watch your neighbor, spin a tale,
                You'll earn your name without any fail.”

Mona didn't care for this, but merely went on licking her paws.

She looked very handsome, as she lay on the path in the electric light.
She has a lovely yellow and white body, and big brown eyes. I gazed all
round the Common, at the walks, and the people, and the trees, and the
glitter of lights in the fine buildings on Tremont Street. It was a
beautiful spring evening, and the air was like balm, but my heart was
full of trouble. How was I to get rid of the big dog?

                      “Spy, spy, open your eye,
                      Something nice is going by,”

I said tantalizingly.

Mona never looked at me. She has a great deal of dignity, and she just
went on licking her paws. I could not insult her.

What should I do? Something flashed into my mind—a saying of my mother.
“When you are in the midst of difficulties, Black-Face, and don't know
which way to turn, nothing will help you like telling the truth to some
kind friend.”

“Mona,” I said abruptly, “I want you to help me.”

“That's what I'm doing,” she said shortly.

“You're not,” I said petulantly. “You're bothering me.”

“I was told to watch you, foolish kitten,” she said, “and I'm going to
do it.”

“You were told to watch me,” I repeated in astonishment. “Who told you
to do it?”

“Mr. Denville. He said, 'Mona, good dog, there is some mystery about
that little cat's disappearance. Every evening when it gets dark, I want
you to take up your position on the front door-step. See that no
suspicious person gets in or out.'”

I was very much interested. “I suppose if any bad man stole me, and put
me in his pocket, you would smell me.”

“I'd smell one of your hairs,” said Mona calmly. “What's a dog's scent
for? You've got a nose of your own. You understand.”

“Yes, I do,” I said. Then I went on, “Mona, no one tried to steal me.”

“I know that,” she said coolly. “You're up to some mischief of your own,
and I'm going to find out what it is.”

“I'll tell you,” I said, and I went close up to her, and sat between her
great paws. “Don't touch that mutton, Mona; it's for my friend. Have you
ever seen that poor homeless cat here on this Common?”

“Yes, I've seen her.”

“You have never chased her?”

“When I chase sick cats I'll have less to do than I have now,” said Mona
contemptuously.

“Well,” I went on, “she is dreadfully unhappy, and almost starved.
Little Mary has worried so much about her, that I resolved to do
something to ease her mind, and lately I've been running out with scraps
for the homeless creature. Yesterday our little mistress caught sight of
her from her window, and she was so pleased, for she noticed that the
poor wretch did not look so thin. 'I do believe,' she said joyfully,
'that the Common cat has found a friend.'”

“Why don't you bring her to the house?” asked Mona suspiciously.

“She won't come. She is fearful of everything. If she saw you, she would
be frightened to death.”

“Why doesn't Miss Mary come out and coax her in?”

“She has tried, Mona. The cat is shy beyond description, and runs away
from human beings, and all this time she is waiting for her supper,” and
I looked at the piece of mutton.

“I'm going to keep you in sight,” said Mona doggedly.

I didn't know what to do, and had to stop and think for a while.

“Mona,” I said at last, “I know you like to please our little mistress.
Now, give me one chance. You go down to the corner of Charles Street,
where the poor cat can't see you, or smell you, and I will go to her
with this piece of meat. I will say, 'This is the last scrap I can bring
you. I am watched, and after to-night I shall not be able to come out. I
am deceiving my little mistress, and deception is hateful to me. If you
won't follow me to the house, where I assure you you will meet with a
warm welcome, I must leave you to your fate.'”

“I hate deception, too,” said Mona getting up, “and in order to please
you, I must disobey Mr. Denville, for he told me not to let you out of
my sight. However, for this once I will give in, but mind, no cat
tricks. If you come out one more night, I'll dog you wherever you go.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you, Mona,” I said, and I bounded away while she
sauntered slowly down Beacon Street, went round the corner, and sat on
Charles Street.

I knew she would keep her word, but I must not make her wait too long.
If Mr. Denville came to the door, and found her away he would be
annoyed, and Mona could not explain. If he should send Anthony in search
of her, and she was discovered away down at the corner, she would be in
disgrace. Mona was really doing a great deal for me, and Mr. Denville
was doing a great deal for me in having Mona on the front steps. Usually
she was strictly forbidden to go there, for she was so large that the
Denvilles were afraid she would terrify callers. She was such a noble
creature that Mr. Denville knew she understood perfectly well whatever
he told her to do. Yes, Mona was very good, and I thought of her every
minute as I rushed toward my poor friend's hiding-place. I did hope that
Mr. Denville would have gentleman callers, so that he would not think
about the task he had set his dog.

When I look back on this evening I wonder that my strength held out—my
strength and my patience. I had a trying time with Mona. I had a worse
one with the cat. In fact, I had a horrible time. Of course I could not
get a word into her ear till she ate her meat. Her table manners were
atrocious, and when she was eating she cracked her jaws and growled to
herself, and was absolutely deaf and dumb to every sound but that of her
own eating.

She knew I was on guard, so she did not listen for noises but gave
herself up to enjoyment.

Well, when she finished, I began to speak hurriedly. At first she would
not hear a word of my plan. No, no, she would stay on the Common and
die.

“You'll miss your victuals,” I said sharply.

Actually the only way to approach her was through her appetite. I drew
glowing pictures of the Denvilles' table. She asked if they had any
mice.

“No, no,” I said, “not a mouse.” Then I perceived I had offended her.
She said she liked mice and rats better than anything else.

I shuddered, but I kept on with my coaxing. “I'll tell you what you can
do,” I said. “You can try it. Keep in my shadow to-night, creep in the
front door, come up-stairs, and get under the bed. If you don't like it,
to-morrow night I'll get you out again.”

“I'd rather try the yard,” she said very unexpectedly.

I was so pleased that I did not know what to do. She was giving way. She
was actually thinking about coming; but there were dogs in the yard,
Mona and the spaniel slept there in beautiful kennels.

I paused a minute, and she said sharply, “Be there dogs there?”

Now, just here, I did a dreadful thing. I was so anxious to get her that
I told a lie. If I had had time to think about it, I wouldn't have done
it. But her question was sprung on me, and before I knew what I was
saying my wicked little tongue had just tripped off the words, “No, we
have no dogs.”

I was punished though, and pretty quickly too. She looked dreadfully
disappointed, and muttered, “Dogs is a purtection agin cats. Cats always
licks me, an' you kin run from dogs, but cats is as quick as you be.”

“Oh, forgive me, forgive me,” I cried, “we have got dogs—two of the
noblest creatures that ever lived.”

She turned very quickly toward me—the ghostly-looking creature under the
bench—“Then you've bin lyin'.”

“I've only told one lie,” I said pitifully, “only one little lie. I was
so anxious to please you.”

“Was that lies about what ye hev to eat?” she went on shrewdly.

“No, no,” I repeated desperately; “everything was true, but the dog
part. If you come, you'll see for yourself.”

She still held out. She settled down under the seat as if she were going
to stay there all night, and I grew desperate. Mona would get tired of
her long wait.

“I'll have to go,” I said. “Oh, do come, do come and see what a lovely
little mistress I have. Why, she will pet you like a baby.”

The strange cat said nothing. She just sat there, and with tears in my
eyes I turned to leave her.

“If—if I possibly can,” I said over my shoulder, “I'll try to come out
to you occasionally and bring you something, but I may not be able to do
so. Oh! how I hate to leave you.”

I suppose she felt gratified at my reluctance to go, but she said
nothing. Poor soul! I suppose her feelings are deadened.

I was creeping slowly and sadly away, when I heard just one tiny sound
behind me. Something was touching the gravel softly.

I turned round. She was following me. I could have screamed at the top
of my voice for joy, but I stifled the sound that was struggling to come
up my throat. Something told me to go on and not notice her.

I did, and she kept on after me. I crept up the steps to the street and
looked back—she was still behind. I waved my tail encouragingly, I did
not dare to mew, for some people were coming up the sidewalk. I ran
across the street to our own pavement, and she came stealing after me.

Then I hid down in the corner by the yard gate. I don't know where she
went. I thought I had lost her, and my heart sank into my paws. I was
perfectly exhausted, and I had had all my trouble for nothing.

I closed my tired eyes for an instant. I am only a kitten, and I had
endured enough to tire an old cat.

Something glided near me. I started. There she was, not touching me, not
speaking, but as far from me as she could get in the obscurity of the
gate leading to the yard.

We sat there a long time, neither moving nor looking at each other.
Every instant I was afraid that I should see Mona coming up the street,
but the good old creature did not come. Finally, a carriage drove up to
the door, and some ladies in evening dresses got out. I remembered now,
hearing the servants say that there was to be a dinner-party this
evening.

I glanced significantly at my poor friend. We two had a splendid chance
to get in alongside of those light skirts. I went first, and the Common
cat followed me. What nerve she had, when she once made up her mind to
do a thing.

In two minutes we had glided up under little Mary's bed. “Lie down
quickly,” I said, “and by and by I will get you something more to eat.”

Then I sprang out, for I could hear Mary calling, “Pussy, Pussy, come to
bed. Pussy, where are you?”

She was not worried about me, for she knew that Mona was watching, and
she felt sure that I was somewhere in the house. Then she had had a
little friend in to spend the afternoon and part of the evening with
her, so she had not missed me.

Now the little girl had gone, and Mary was getting ready for bed. I lay
down on my chair. I was so tired that I did not know what to do, but I
must not forget the poor thing under the bed. Her appetite was not
satisfied yet.

After a while Mary went to sleep, and I crept down-stairs. The rooms
were all lighted, and the doors were open, so I had no trouble in
getting to the pantry. Later on, lovely things to eat were going to be
served. I stole a sandwich when no one was looking, and ran up-stairs
with it.

“How are you?” I asked, after I had crept under the bed, and dropped it
before the poor cat.

She did not reply till she had disposed of the sandwich, then she said
sulkily, “It smarts me tongue—I want water.”

“Come to Mary's bath-room,” I said, “no one will see you.”

“I ain't afraid,” she said calmly. “There's no one goin' to bite here.”

“Now,” I said triumphantly, “aren't you glad you came?”

She gave me a queer look, and, without saying a word, lapped a little
water, and went under the bed—and here I sit, dead tired, nearly asleep,
but so happy that I don't know what to do. That poor dear, unmannerly
thing is safe. Safe from dogs, and cats, and persecution, and hunger. No
one will ever hurt her again. She will get sleek and fat in some good
home. I hope she has no disease. Oh, dear! what a frightful
thought—suppose I should bring anything dreadful home to my dear little
mistress!

I will just crawl under the bed and ask her.

“Please, stranger, have you any disease?”

“No,” she says grumpily, “I haven't been living with humans for a year.”

“That is all right,” and now I think of it I have never smelt any
sickness about her. She is only thin and dirty. “Good night, pussy
stranger. I hope you will sleep well.”

She doesn't hear me. Perhaps she has already dropped off. Oh! I wonder
what dear little Mary will say to her, and how I shall introduce them.



                               CHAPTER VI
                             MY FIRST FIGHT


Aren't things queer in this world? It seems as if cats can't plan ahead
very much.

All night I dreamed of the poor Common cat. This morning when I woke up
I began to worry about introducing her to little Mary. My head ached
with the effort. I have never had any business to do in my life. My
parents have always done everything for me. Actually, I have been
started in the world with about only one instruction from my mother, and
that is not to lie. Perhaps it is as good an equipment for the battle of
life as a little cat could have. I don't know. I suppose I shall find
out.

Well, I must bring my Common cat story up to date in my mind. I have
been utterly astonished and confounded by her actions. Let me think over
what happened this morning.

I woke up early. I find that a care in a cat's mind will send her to
sleep late, and wake her up betimes. I had to think about getting my
friend's breakfast before any one was astir, for I supposed she would be
too terrified to come from under the bed.

I ran down to the basement. The cook was getting breakfast and there was
plenty of food lying about. I found two nice little broiled kidneys. I
just had to taste a little bit myself, it was so good. Then I ran like a
fox up-stairs.

No one met me. The servants were all in the rooms, sweeping and dusting
and getting things ready for the family. Soon the Denvilles would be
coming down, for they are not lazy people.

I bounded in Mary's room. I went under the bed, the cat was not there. I
dropped the kidneys in a terrible fright. I crept softly round the room.
I ran out in the hall, I went up-stairs and down, and at intervals I
kept coming back to the bedroom. Where was my poor friend?

At last, I pulled myself up short. I was getting dazed, and I was
depending too much on my eyes, as a kitten is apt to do. I went back to
the bed and smelt. She had been here recently. I lifted my head. The air
was still full of Common cat suggestions. I followed my nose, and now
just let me think of my utter surprise and consternation—There was the
Common cat curled up on _my_ chair, in the midst of _my_ opera cloak.

I was very angry. I say it with shame. She was in my place—usurping the
attention of my young mistress, for there lay little Mary, wide awake,
her head resting on her arm, her face turned toward the cat on the
chair, a smile of utter beatitude playing about her lips.

She was afraid of frightening the newcomer, but she need never be afraid
of that. I have made a discovery. The Common cat is not shy—she is bold.
That is, she is shy with enemies, but bold with friends. Or perhaps I
should say, sneaky. She would not have jumped up on that chair, if I had
been in the room. She took advantage of my absence.

Perhaps I did wrong to be angry, but it was an awful blow to find her on
my soft bed. I sprang right up beside little Mary. I tucked my head
under her arm, and she stroked and caressed me.

“Oh, you dear thing—you are so sweet and generous. You don't mind that
strange cat being in your chair one bit.”

“Meow! meow!” I cried angrily, “I do.”

Mary was so taken up with the other cat that she never minded me, but
went on absently patting my head, and looking at that creature that was
pretending to be asleep.

“How did she get here, Black-Face—did you bring her in?—Oh! isn't it
lovely. Why, I never heard of such a thing as that poor, shy cat coming
right into a house. I would just like to hug her.”

“You needn't be afraid,” I growled, “she wouldn't mind. But still I hope
you won't. I'm your cat,” and I tried to get between her and the
stranger.

Mary laughed, and rubbed her face against my fur. “You darling thing.
Now I know you did lead her in, for you are trying to push me toward
her, and you weren't a bit surprised to see her here.”

I sprang off the bed. What was the use of being bad, when your little
mistress was so good that she turned your worst actions into kind ones.
With a very sad heart, I crept out in the hall—and, do you know, I had
scarcely got out of sight, before I heard a deceitful “meow,” from that
creature by the bed.

She was trying to ingratiate herself with little Mary, and for a few
minutes, I had the pleasure of hearing nothing but sweet pussy talk from
them both.

“Poor pussy, pussy, pussy,” Mary would say, then the Common cat would
reply, “Meow! meow!” and then I knew Mary was scratching her head for
her. In fact, I was mean enough to peep in through the crack of the
door. It made me sick, and after a time I could not stand it, so I crept
down-stairs.

One of the housemaids shook her broom at me, so I went down, down, till
I got to the yard.

There was Mona sitting by her kennel, and looking as big and handsome as
ever. “By the way,” I said to myself, “I ought to thank her for her
kindness to me last night,” so I walked slowly up to her, and said,
“Good morning, Mona.”

“Good morning,” she said kindly.

“I am ever so much obliged to you for what you did last night,” I went
on. “It was perfectly sweet of you.”

“You got your cat in,” she remarked.

“Yes, I suppose you smelt our double tracks.”

“How is she getting on?” Mona asked.

I looked over my shoulder. I didn't want any one to hear me, for Dolly,
the other dog, was still in her kennel. So I jumped up on the top of
Mona's kennel. That brought me into a little patch of sunlight, and also
made me get a little nearer to her big head, for when I sat on the
ground, she towered way above me.

“Mona,” I said confidentially, “I am having a dreadful time.”

“Are you?” she replied good-naturedly. “You do look rather worried.”

[Illustration:

  “'MONA,' I SAID CONFIDENTIALLY, 'I AM HAVING A DREADFUL TIME.'”
]

“I just can't stand that cat,” I went on.

“Can't stand her. That's pretty sudden. You loved her last night.”

“Mona,” I said, “think of her actions. She came into this house on my
invitation, and now she has taken my chair, and is trying to wean dear
Mary's affections away from me.”

Mona grunted. “Now, how do you know that? You cats are always jumping at
conclusions.”

“I see her and hear her. I feel it, Mona. I can't explain to you but I
just know it's true—and I hate her.”

Mona didn't say anything, and I went on. “I planned to have her come
here and stay a little while, then have a good home found for her. Now,
something tells me that she will never leave here.”

“Well, suppose she doesn't.”

“Mona,” I almost screamed, “suppose she doesn't! Do you imagine I could
stand having that low-down cat take my place, sleep on my chair, eat
from dear Mary's hand? No—I will run away before I will endure that.”

“Hush! hush!” said the big dog commandingly. “You are waking up Dolly.”

“Then don't be cruel,” I said sulkily. “I believe you are on that cat's
side.”

“You are an excited kitten,” said Mona kindly. “Jealousy always wakes
cats up.”

“I am dreadfully unhappy,” I replied, with tears in my eyes. “I have
half a mind to run away to Mrs. Darley.”

“You would find more cats there than here.”

“But they are my own family cats. I love them.”

“Yes, you love them,” said Mona shrewdly, “but you have left home. If
you go back, you will be twice the kitten you were before you saw
something of the world.”

“Do you mean to say that I would be jealous of my own dear parents and
my brother and sister?”

“No, not jealous exactly, but you have an independent turn of mind, and
you would not be willing to be as subject to them as you were before.
You had better not go home, Black-Face.”

“What shall I do then?” I asked pitifully. “I see my life is to be made
miserable here.”

“Your life will be what you make it yourself. You carry misery or joy
inside you. No one can put it in you, if you are not willing.”

“I don't understand you,” I said stupidly.

Mona reflected for a few minutes, then she said, “When I first came
here, I was the only dog. Then after a while, Dolly appeared. I was
dreadfully jealous. I felt just as you are feeling. When Mr. and Mrs.
Denville petted Dolly I was nearly crazy. I became sulky, and the
consequence was that I was neglected. No one wants a cross dog about.
Dolly was shown off to strangers, and taken for walks, and I was left at
home. One day, when I was home here moping in my kennel, I began to
reason the thing out. Dolly had as good a right to be here as I had. Mr.
and Mrs. Denville had hearts large enough to hold two dogs, even though
one was a pretty big creature. Why didn't I try to get on with Dolly,
and, in that way, please my master and mistress. The thing was worth
trying, so when Mr. Denville put Dolly in the yard an hour or two later,
I ran up to meet her. The poor little thing was frightened, and crouched
down, but I wagged my tail and licked her kindly. Mrs. Denville had come
with her husband in the yard, and as she lifted her dog whip to strike
me, he said, 'Don't, Maud—the St. Bernard is getting over her
jealousy.'”

“And did you?” I asked. “Could you?”

“Of course I did,” returned Mona coolly. “Make up your mind to do a
thing, and you can do it. You know Mr. and Mrs. Denville go for a walk
together nearly every afternoon after he leaves his bank. They go away
out Commonwealth Avenue and into the Fens. I used to enjoy these walks
so much, but after I quarrelled with Dolly, they would not take me, and
I suffered from lack of exercise. However, after I made up with Dolly,
the little creature would not go without me, and I assure you that we
have lovely times together. I have never regretted my resolution not to
indulge in jealousy.”

“But Dolly has a sweet disposition,” I said gloomily, “and this cat is a
low-down thing.”

“That's true,” said Mona cheerily, “but you can try to improve her. Be
kind to her, and she will be kind to you.”

“Are you sure of that?” I asked.

Mona looked thoughtful. “I must say,” she went on, “that there are some
ungrateful natures in the world. I once knew a dog that no kindness
would melt. Perhaps he was a little crazy. Perhaps he had had bad
parents.”

“This cat isn't crazy,” I said with assurance, “she is a sneak.”

“I don't like her getting in your bed when you were not in the room,”
continued Mona. “If I were you, I would not let her impose on me. I
would make her find a bed elsewhere, but my advice to you is not to
quarrel with her. Be very patient, and remember that it is better to be
imposed upon than to impose on others; and my advice to you is not to
run away and leave the field to her. Keep with your mistress. Demand
your share of the petting. Don't let the new cat get ahead of you. You
have the advantage, anyway. You are better bred, better looking and
cleaner.”

“Those are not advantages,” I said sorrowfully; “those are
disadvantages. The worse-looking a creature is, the better my dear Mary
likes it.”

“Then clean up the cat, lick her, get her to hold herself up, and not
sneak along the way she does.”

“Mona,” I said, “you are a good dog. I am much obliged to you for your
advice, and I will run right up-stairs and see what I can do,” and I
left her.

I did run up-stairs, but alas! I met Mary coming down to breakfast with
the cat. She had a blue ribbon on her neck—the cat had—and her manner
was enough to make one ill. The humility of it, and yet the sly
pride—the look she gave me out of the corner of her eye. “Stand aside,”
it said, “I have got enough out of you. I have a friend at court now.
I've ousted you.”

I did stand aside, then I humbly followed them into the breakfast-room.

Oh! how careful human beings ought to be about new pets. I thought my
heart would break as I sat under that table and watched little Mary's
hand stealing down with scraps for that Common cat. Once, I used to get
all the scraps.

After a while, Mr. and Mrs. Denville came to the table, and then I had
to listen to the whole story of the saintly Common cat, how little Mary
had just seen her skulking about the Common, and had pointed her out to
me. That the poor creature had run when any one went near her, and that
early this morning when Mary woke up, there she was in the chair by her
bed. “It seems like a lovely miracle,” concluded little Mary in a happy
voice.

“How do you account for it, Harold, dear?” asked Mrs. Denville of her
husband.

“This cat brought her in,” he said shortly, and he looked under the
table at me. “Come here, Black-Face.”

I was terribly proud. Mr. Denville rarely noticed me. I jumped up on a
chair beside him, and he looked in my face.

“You brought her in, didn't you?” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

“Oh, meow! meow!” I replied and I laid a paw on his coat sleeve.

“I've heard of such things before,” he went on, still looking me in the
eyes. “My mother had a very intelligent tabby cat that brought a sick
friend to our barn and carried food out to it till it got well.”

“How extraordinary,” murmured Mrs. Denville.

“And you're a little bit jealous, aren't you?” said Mr. Denville
suddenly to me.

I felt ashamed of myself. How had he known what was going on under the
table?

“Come here,” he said, and he took me on his knee, and fed me from his
plate during the remainder of the meal.

“Mary,” he said when he left the table, “don't neglect the old cat for
the new one.”

“Just as if I could neglect my Black-Face,” said the little girl
earnestly. “Come here, dear,” and she opened her arms, and petted me
till I was so proud and happy that I forgot all about the other cat.

She was watching me though, watching me from one sly eye, as she washed
her face, and pretended to be admiring the flowers in the window. I
understood her tricks.

After breakfast, Mary took me up-stairs in her arms, and the Common cat
had to follow after. However, as if to get even with me for this
attention, she sprang up on my chair as soon as we arrived in Mary's
bedroom. There the little girl left us and went to clean her big canary
cage, and I was about to follow her, when I thought I had better embrace
the opportunity of having an explanation with my rival.

“Cat,” I said, “I don't like your actions.”

She gazed at me steadily, and I had a good chance to look into her eyes.
They reminded me of the pond on the Common. They were muddy, and looked
as if there were all kinds of queer things down at the bottom of them.

I said nothing, and she said nothing for a long time, then she murmured
in her cracked voice, “What's frettin' you?”

I didn't know what to say. Finally, I thought of one of Serena's
phrases, and replied grandly, “I don't like your mental attitude.”

“What's that?” she said impudently.

“I don't suppose you know that you have a mind,” I said patronizingly.

“I know I've got teeth and claws,” she said with a grin. “You jest bet I
do.”

I am ashamed to say I forgot all about Mona's advice to love her, and
lick her fur. Something rose inside me, some kind of a swelling, then I
felt as if I had swallowed something very hot. It burnt so that I sprang
up and just hissed, “Get off my bed, will you?”

“Come, put me off,” she said maliciously, “I'm bigger 'n you.”

I don't approve of fighting. I think it is wicked and vulgar, but at her
words a fierce joy rose within me. I thought what a delight, what an
ecstasy it would be to stick my claws in her, and drag her from that
chair. Then I don't seem to remember anything more for a few minutes,
but hissing and spitting and jumping and scratching and the most awful
cat language that I ever heard. It was my first fight, and I didn't do
any talking. I wanted all my breath for panting, for I was thumped and
dragged and pounded and beaten and shaken till I was nearly dead.

Dear little Mary was in the bath-room, singing, and talking, and fussing
with her canaries. She didn't hear us, and no one else was near enough,
but presently there was a step. I didn't hear it. I was too far gone,
but the sly cat must have heard it, for she dropped me like a shot, and
flew up into my chair. I lay for one minute, then I dragged myself under
the bed. I thought I was dying, but I didn't want any one to see me. My
instinct was to keep out of sight.

The oldish woman who was Mary's nurse, came into the room. I heard her
give an exclamation, then stop short. “Miss Mary,” she called.

The dear child came running in.

“Just look at that cat,” said the old woman.

“Oh! oh!” cried my dear young mistress. “Why, her eyes are scratched,
and her nose is torn—oh! my poor pussy,” and she went down on her knees
and began to dab at that Common cat's face with her handkerchief.

“Nurse, please get me a wet towel—oh! the poor cat. Who could have
scratched her so?”

“Depend upon it, it's that kitten,” said the old woman, “she's a
high-strung little article.”

“My dear Black-Face!” exclaimed Mary. “Oh! no, she is gentle.”

“Who could have done it?” the nurse said grimly, “I didn't.”

“Perhaps some bad cat ran in,” said Mary.

The nurse shook her head, and then I stopped watching them. I was more
dead than alive, and I never stirred, though I heard Mary calling me
everywhere. She did not think of looking under her own bed, though I
think she looked under all the other beds in the house.

Finally, her mamma made her go off to drive, and everything was quiet in
the room. The bed had been made, so no one came near to disturb us, and
I lay on the carpet and tried to recover myself, and the Common cat lay
on the chair, and spat at me if I stirred.

After a few hours, I felt better. I could move my paws, and my body did
not ache so much. I got up, tried to stretch, and could not, then not
minding the hissing from the chair, I dragged myself out of the room,
and down-stairs, a step at a time. There was a large mirror set into the
wall at the head of the first staircase, and I had a look at myself as I
went by. My fur was rumpled badly, and I looked ill, but there was not a
scratch nor a drop of blood visible. How strange—for from what Mary had
said, I knew a good deal of blood had run out of the Common cat's
wounds. How was it, that I, a kitten, had been able to scratch her,
while she had not given me a cut? I would ask Mona about it, and I went
on dragging myself painfully down the staircases, till I reached the
yard, and saw the dear old dog sitting in front of her kennel.

“Well,” she said getting up as I approached her, “what have you been
doing to yourself? You look played out.”

“Let me by,” I said faintly. “I've had my first fight.” She allowed me
to crawl into her kennel, then she lay down and put her head in the
doorway.

“Here,” she said kindly, “let me lick you a bit. It will massage you.”

“Oh! if you will be so kind,” I said. “I feel as if I had been pounded
all over.”

“So you have,” she replied, as her big tongue went over me very gently,
but very firmly. “I can feel that you have had a mauling. Your new
friend, I suppose.”

“You told me to love her,” I replied weakly, “but somehow or other, the
first thing I knew, we were in the midst of a fight.”

“That sometimes happens,” said Mona philosophically, “if one loves too
hard.”

“I suppose I did not go about it in the right way, but, Mona, it makes
me so mad to see her in my chair. I told her to get down, and she
wouldn't, and then I sprang at her, and I wounded her. She has lots of
scratches, and blood came out of them. Why haven't I any blood on me?”

“Because, kitten,” returned Mona calmly, “she knows how to fight, and
you don't. This isn't her first battle. Some dogs fight that way.
They'll injure you inside, so that you will nearly die, while other dogs
merely rip your skin a little.”

“I think I'd rather be ripped than pounded on a marble hearth,” I said
miserably.

“So would I,” said Mona. “You'll be a long time getting over this.
However, you are a kitten and will recover more quickly than a cat
would.”

“Do you suppose she will be a long time getting over her scratches?” I
asked. “I wouldn't like to injure her permanently.”

“You couldn't, kitten,” said Mona with a laugh. “She will be all right
to-morrow. When you fight next, choose some cat your own size.”

“But you don't advise fights,” I remarked anxiously.

“No, never fight unless you are sure you can beat the other cat.”

“But how can you be sure?”

“You can't be—now how do you feel?”

“Much better—ever so much. There is healing in your tongue.”

“Now put your head down, and go to sleep,” said Mona, “and I will watch,
and see that no one disturbs you,” and she lay down in front of the
kennel.

It is wonderful what a nap will do. In about an hour I awoke very much
refreshed.

“Can you walk?” inquired Mona.

“Yes, pretty well,” I said, limping out of the kennel.

“Then creep up-stairs, see if the coast is clear to your room, and if
the cat is still on your bed, come back and tell me.”

I did as she requested, though I did not understand why I should do so.
Painfully crawling up, and painfully crawling down-stairs, I, at last
stood before her, and said that there was no one in the halls. The
servants were busy with lunch.

“Then lead the way,” she said.

I gazed at her in surprise, but she made no explanation, and I entered
the house.

She followed me. We saw no one till we were opposite the big hall door.
Then we heard the click of a latch key, and Mr. Denville threw open the
door, and stood before us. He gave Mona a glance of surprise. She rarely
came in the house. The good old dog walked up to him, and licked his
hand. Then she put her noble, honest head on his arm.

“Oh, you want something, do you?” he said. “Well, go on.”

She did go on, and after a look at me, Mr. Denville followed us.

It was such a funny procession I saw in the mirror as we went up-stairs.
First I, a little cat with a black and white face, then a big dog, then
a big man.

I went right to Mary's bedroom. Mona walked in with me. Mr. Denville
stood in the doorway.

The Common cat lay on the opera cloak with a white bandage over her
face. She was giving herself great airs on account of that bandage, but
I think she was a little frightened when she heard Mona. However, you
can't tell much from her mud-colored eyes when she doesn't want you to.

Mona slowly paced across the room, slowly took the Common cat by the
neck, slowly carried her to the door, and set her outside in the hall.

Mr. Denville stood aside to let Mona pass. Then he smiled in a peculiar
way. The Common cat gazed about her through the holes cut in the bandage
for her eyes, as if uncertain what to do, then she walked toward a nice,
sunny window that there was in the hall. Across it was a big sofa with
cushions, near by was a bookcase. The cat went under the sofa, and Mona
looked well pleased. The Common cat might sleep there. She was not to go
in the bedroom.

What a happy cat I was! I gave Mona a grateful glance, then I went and
sprang on my chair.

Mr. Denville laughed aloud, and calling to Mona, went down-stairs.

Later in the day I saw her, and she said Mr. Denville took her right to
the pantry. He saw a big roasted chicken there on a platter, and seizing
the chicken by the legs he gave it to her. Mona said that she passed the
cook in the lower hall, and her face was something indescribable, but,
of course, she didn't dare to say a word, as Mr. Denville was escorting
the good old dog.

All day I have been so happy. The Common cat has not dared to once come
in the bedroom. Little Mary understands the matter. At lunch time there
was a great laughing at the table. I heard an echo of it up here, and
dragged myself to the head of the stairs to listen. Mr. Denville was
telling his wife and Mary about Mona and the Common cat.

When Mary came up-stairs, she made a nice bed on the hall sofa for
“Slyboots,” as her father calls the Common cat. There she has been all
day, and Mary pets me in here, and then goes out in the hall and pets
her. I think this is a very nice arrangement. Divided, we agree, united,
we fight. Perhaps in time, Slyboots will get to like me better. I have
no feeling of resentment against her. I only want her to keep out of my
way.

I wonder what my family would say about this? I fear they would be
shocked if they knew I had been quarrelling. All but Jimmy Dory. He
loves a fight.

Well, I must go to sleep. I wonder how the new cat and I will get on
to-morrow?



                              CHAPTER VII
                            A NEW SENSATION


For a week I haven't thought about anything but my lame back and my
aching sides and my stiff legs. I have been unable to move without pain.
Every day Mary has lifted me off my chair, and has encouraged me to move
about the room, and even to go out on the balcony and sit in the sun a
little while, lest I should get too stiff to move. However, the effort
until to-day has been very painful to me, and I soon mewed to be lifted
back to my soft opera cloak.

Mr. Denville had a cat doctor come to see me. She was a lovely woman
with glasses on. She felt me all over, and looked at my tongue, and gave
me some nice medicine to take, that had catnip in it.

To-day I have been ever so much better, and this morning and this
afternoon I have had a new sensation that has taken my thoughts off
myself.

It thrilled me at noon. Mary had carried me down-stairs to her papa's
library, where he was sitting waiting for lunch to be served.

Mrs. Denville was with him. She sat in a big green chair by the window,
and the sunshine was streaming all over her brown head, and her good
face, and her pretty light dress.

“Harold,” she was saying to her husband as Mary entered the room, “this
is a lovely day—spring will soon yield to summer.”

“Yes,” he said, “it will. What arrangements do you wish to make for the
summer?”

“I don't know,” she said thoughtfully.

“Did you enjoy yourself last year?” he asked keenly.

Mrs. Denville smiled peculiarly, then she said, “I did, and I did not.”

“It was sensible, wasn't it?” he said sarcastically. “That great hotel
crammed with people. Everybody that we knew, and everybody that we
didn't want to know. Every woman dressed to extravagance, and every man
sulking in a stiff collar and tight fitting coat. Oh! those hotel
verandas were bliss!”

His wife laughed merrily. “Harold, I think our summers lately have been
too much a repetition of our winters. That is, as far as society goes. I
wish we could do something different.”

“Would you like to go to Europe?” he asked.

“And be seasick? No, thank you—but perhaps you would.”

“Too far from business this year. Perhaps you would like to go
yachting.”

“Harold, I am getting to hate the water. There are so many accidents.”

“What do you want to do, anyway?”

“I want to go somewhere where I can wear an old gown, and lie in a
hammock all day.”

Little Mary was listening very intently to this conversation, and seeing
her interest, I listened too.

“I am tired from this winter's gaieties,” Mrs. Denville was saying,
“and, in addition to that, a quieter place will be better for Mary.”

“We will go to my old home up in Maine,” said Mr. Denville decidedly. “I
have not spent a summer there since I was a boy, and you and Mary have
never been there.”

Mrs. Denville looked doubtful. “It is rather primitive, is it not?” she
asked.

Little Mary let me slip to the floor and walked toward her father.

“Oh, dear papa, would you take us to the old farm-house?”

He nodded his head.

“And I could see the cows and the other things—I have never lived on a
farm—oh, do let us go.”

Just now the conversation began to appeal to me personally. This was
talk about leaving Boston, the place I had been brought up in. What was
going to become of me if the Denvilles went away?

“Meow! meow!” I cried suggestively, and I crawled slowly to Mary's feet.

She looked down at me. “If we go to the farm-house, I could take
Black-Face, couldn't I?”

Her father nodded again.

“And Mona, and Slyboots, and Dolly, and the canaries?” pursued Mary in a
delighted voice—“oh! how lovely. Hotel people are always so horrid about
animals. Oh! Black-Face, what a lovely time we shall have,” and she
caught me up, and walked slowly about the room.

She never runs and skips as other little girls do. It hurts her back.

“Black-Face,” she said suddenly, “wait here. I must, I just must go
up-stairs, and tell nurse and Slyboots about this,” and she went as
quickly as she could out into the hall.

Mrs. Denville looked significantly at her husband. “Mary does not like
hotel life.”

He sighed heavily, and stared down at me, as I pressed up to his feet.

“I did not dream last year,” Mrs. Denville went on in a low voice,
“until the summer was over, what the poor child was going through. The
attention she excited as being set apart from other children, the
sympathy from strangers, though grateful to her, was afflicting. You
see, she is getting older and more self-conscious.”

“I knew it,” said Mr. Denville shortly.

“Why did you not tell me, Harold?” asked his wife gently.

“Why did not Mary tell you?” he asked.

“Because,” she said earnestly, and the tears started in her eyes,
“because she is so unselfish. Because you are both too mindful of my
comfort. You make an egotist of me.”

“Hush,” he replied, “Mary is coming back.”

“Black-Face,” said Mary excitedly, when she reentered the room, “this is
very wonderful news. I think I must go up and tell Mrs. Darley about it.
Mamma, couldn't I be excused from lessons this afternoon? Really, I just
feel boiling inside. If you knew how I have wanted to see the place
where my papa was born! He has told me such lovely stories about it.”

“Why did you not tell, me that you wished to go to Maine?” asked her
mother reproachfully.

“Because, mamma dear, I thought I might make you feel sorry. You see,
you had to be born in a city, so I asked papa to tell me those stories
only when we were alone.”

“And when have you been so much alone?” asked the lady sharply.

“When you were at teas, and lectures, and concerts, mamma, and making
calls. You know you used to go more than you do now.”

Mrs. Denville played with the rings on her fingers. I thought she looked
sorry about something, so I went up to her, and crawling on the
footstool beneath her feet, I managed to get on her lap.

She bent over and stroked me, and then I saw that there were tears in
her eyes.

I licked her pretty fingers, but she found my tongue rough, and smiled
and pushed me away.

“And may I be excused from lessons, mamma?” asked Mary coming up to her.
“It isn't that I don't want to study,” and my dear little mistress shook
her head earnestly, “but really I feel so peculiar that I think if I
don't get out somewhere I shall fly all to pieces.”

“You are no shirk,” said her mother gently, and she put her arm round
her, “you are an honest child. You need not explain. Certainly, you are
excused from lessons. I will telephone to Miss Roberts—I will take you
wherever you wish to go.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you!” said Mary, and she caught her mother's hand
and pressed it to her lips.

At this moment Anthony appeared in the door announcing lunch, and they
all went out together.

All through the meal the little girl chattered about the country, and it
was beautiful to see her parents' eyes resting on her. They said very
little, but they answered all her questions.

When we went up-stairs Mary had to go and lie down and not speak for one
hour. This was her old nurse's decision, when she saw her flushed face.

I felt flushed myself, but there was no one to make me lie down, so I
gave way to my excitement and crept out in the hall. I absolutely had to
talk to some one, so I thought I would try that queer Slyboots.

Mary had made her a nice bed on the lounge, and she lay there looking
like a gutter queen. She always wore a ribbon. Mary didn't put one on
me, but she had to do something to give Slyboots distinction.

“This is great news,” I said, going up to the head of the sofa.

Slyboots gave me a disdainful glance, as if to say, “It doesn't take
much to excite you.”

“Were you ever in the country?” I inquired.

“Nop,” she replied briefly.

“Do you want to go?”

“Nop.”

“Will you run away when the time comes for you to be packed?”

“Nop,” she said again.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I went on eagerly.

“Nop.”

“Do you want me to go away?”

“Yaw,” she said rudely, so I went. I made my way down-stairs, and out in
the yard. Mona and Dolly would like to hear the good news, but bless me,
they knew it already. Human tongues, and dog tongues, and cat tongues
carry news like the wind. Anthony had heard Mr. and Mrs. Denville
talking, and the table-maid had heard, and they had told the house-maid,
and the house-maid had told the cook, and the cook had told the
kitchen-maid, and Mona had overheard, and so she knew, and Dolly knew.
However, the dogs were glad to get further details from me.

Mona asked me first thing how I felt, and said that she had missed me
during the last week. Then she wanted to know how Slyboots was behaving
herself.

“Beautifully,” I said. “She lets me alone, and I let her alone.”

“That is the best way, when there is incompatibility of temper,” said
Mona. “You absolutely can't get on with some creatures without
quarrelling.”

“Well, this is great news about the country, isn't it?” I remarked.

“Glorious,” said Mona heartily. “I love the country.”

“I have heard of Maine,” I said cautiously. “It is all country, isn't
it? Now, what is the country like? You know I have never been off Beacon
Hill.”

“What do you imagine it is like?” she asked.

“Something like the Common?”

“Very like it. Suppose each house on Beacon Hill had a piece of land
attached to it as large as the Common, and even much larger.”

“Why, you couldn't see the cats in the next yard,” I replied in
surprise.

Mona opened her great mouth and laughed heartily. “Couldn't see them,
nor hear them, nor the dogs either. But you'll have to go to the
country, little cat, to see what it is like.”

“What do you think about it, Dolly?” I asked, as she crept toward us.

Dolly is the meekest, gentlest, most timid, oddest dog I ever saw. She
is afraid of everything and everybody, and she never was whipped in her
life.

“Some ugly person must have spent all their time in beating her
grandmother or grandfather,” Mona said to me one day, “for she is the
most scared thing that walks the streets of Boston. Why, when Mr. or
Mrs. Denville want her to go to walk, they have to spend about five
minutes coaxing her to come out of her kennel.”

To-day, when I asked her what she thought about going to the country,
she looked perfectly terrified, and crept up to Mona for protection.

“She is afraid of bears, and wolves, and foxes,” said Mona kindly. “The
dog next door heard that we were going to Maine, and he has been
stuffing her. He told her he knew a spaniel who went up there and came
home inside a wildcat that his master had shot.”

“How cruel!” I said indignantly. “There aren't any wild animals in
Maine, are there, Mona?”

“None to hurt—there now, Dolly, prick up your ears. See how brave this
little cat is!”

Dolly's nerves were too shaken to raise her long, silky ears, and she
retreated into Mona's kennel.

“She's got the quakes badly to-day,” said good old Mona with a shake of
her head. “I'll have to stand guard here, till she gets over them.”

“And I must go back to my young mistress,” I said, “for I think she will
take me to see my parents to-day. Good-bye, Mona.”

“Good-bye, Pussy,” she said. “Keep away from Slyboots. She's a solitary
cat.”

Mary did take me with her when she went to drive. Oh! what a strange
time I had with my family! Let me think over what they said and I said.

Slyboots did not drive with us. Mary wanted to take her, but she drew
back. She had no reason to like the streets, and I was very glad to go
without her.

As soon as our carriage drew up in front of Mrs. Darley's, Mrs. Denville
and Mary found that she was not at home.

My heart sank, but to my great delight, little Mary said to her mother,
“Mamma dear, let me leave Black-Face here with her parents, and we can
call for her later. You will, won't you?”

Mrs. Denville smiled. “Certainly, if you wish it, though I think it is
an excess of sentiment.” Then she handed me to the foot-man, and he
winked mischievously at Gerty who was holding the door open, and Gerty
lifted me into the hall.

An excess of sentiment!—I wish Mrs. Denville could have seen my mother's
face, as I slowly walked into the sitting-room.

Cat mothers can feel as well as human mothers, and wasn't my dear one
glad to see her kitten come creeping toward her!

She met me half-way, she smelt me and licked me, and her soft, damp nose
told a tale. She had heard of my troubles.

They had all heard, for they all got up to receive me. There was no sun
in the window this afternoon, but still they were all lying on the broad
seat on the cushions.

I was conducted to the place of honor in the middle, and then they all
began to talk to me. Father, and Serena, and Jimmy Dory, but mother
didn't talk. She just licked.

“How do you feel, eh?” said Jimmy Dory, giving me a rough pat with his
paw. “Pretty sore, I guess.”

“How did you hear?” I asked sharply.

“Well, you see,” said Jimmy Dory, “since you went down to Beacon Street,
daddy found that he has a cousin living in the house next door to you.
She is a white Angora with blue eyes, and she came from Maine when he
did. The dog in the house with her is a great gossip—a regular dickens
of a fellow.”

Just here Serena interrupted him, and begged him not to swear.

“'Dickens' isn't swearing, is it, daddy?” and my brother appealed to our
father.

“It is rough and inelegant talk,” said my parent grandly, “and that is
next door to swearing.”

Jimmy Dory, not a bit abashed, continued to talk to me. “This
fox-terrier is a regular mischief anyway, and tells awful lies, but
usually there is a little grain of truth wrapped up in his lies. We got
the news the day after. Father's cousin—Angora Girl, they call her—heard
faint cat screams from your house one day last week. She told the
fox-terrier, and the fox-terrier asked your big dog Mona what had
happened. Mona said it was none of his business—to attend to his own
yard, and she would attend to hers. However, this fox-terrier, Smarty,
wasn't to be put down that way; so the next time Mona's back was turned,
he cornered the little dog. What do you call her?”

“Dolly,” I said.

“Yes, Dolly. He told Dolly that he would chew her up and spit her out if
she—”

At this point my sister Serena interrupted him again. “Father,” she
mewed piteously, “must I be forced to listen to this back-yard
vulgarity?”

“No, you shall not,” said my father, and he motioned with his paw for
Jimmy Dory to stop. Jimmy had to, and then my father motioned for Serena
to proceed with the news they had heard.

“It seems,” began Serena grandly, “that your spaniel has been endowed
with rather a pusillanimous disposition.”

I tried not to laugh, for Jimmy Dory was saying, “Oh glory!” in my ear.

“Do you mean that she is a coward?” I asked.

“Certainly that is the signification of my definition.”

“She is afraid of her own shadow,” I said.

“Apparently so, for the fox-terrier cowed her—”

“Dogged her you mean,” muttered Jimmy Dory.

“Cowed her into submission,” went on Serena severely, “and Dolly had to
relate the entire disgraceful occurrence. Afterward, the fox-terrier
rehearsed the matter to the cat known as Angora Girl, and Angora Girl
communicated the news to a cat who lives next door to us, and she
gossiped over the wall with Jimmy Dory. The story, as it reached our
ears, was to the effect that you had excited, braved, or, in some way,
roused the indignation of the street cat, Slyboots. She had inflicted
summary castigation on you, even to the extent of bruising, pounding and
otherwise injuring your body,” and Serena lifting her head, looked at me
through her imaginary glasses as if to say, “I am sorry for you, but I
fear it served you right.”

“What kind of a cat is this Slyboots, anyway?” inquired Jimmy Dory.

“She is a poor outcast cat,” I replied, “and I have tried to be kind to
her.”

“An elegant name,” remarked Serena ironically.

“And she hurt you very much,” murmured my mother in my ear.

“She gave me a fearful beating,” I said frankly.

“You have not yet told us the occasion of the altercation,” said my
father.

I told all about Slyboots; then, with a humble air, I waited for the
verdict of my family.

“Fighting,” began my father solemnly, “is a low-down, vulgar way of
settling disputes, and brings not only the participant, but also his or
her family,” and he stared significantly at Jimmy Dory, “into
disagreeable and unendurable prominence.”

“Just what I say,” interposed Serena with a toss of her head. “Here am I
being pointed out as the sister of the fighting cat on Beacon Street.”

“It's fun, isn't it, when you get your blood up?” said Jimmy Dory to me
in a low voice.

I shook my head. I had found no fun in fighting.

“I should advise you,” continued my father, “not to let it happen
again.”

Well pleased to think that I had got off so cheaply, I yet plucked up
courage enough to say meekly, “Suppose she takes my bed again?”

“Choose another,” said my father decidedly. “You are only a kitten. You
are not settled in your habits. Now, if it were a question of a cat of
my age giving up his bed, it would be another matter.”

“Suppose another cat should take your bed, father,” I inquired humbly,
“what would you do?”

He said nothing, but there was a dangerous glitter in his eye as he
looked at me.

“I bet you'd wallop him till there wasn't a grain of sense left in him,”
exclaimed Jimmy Dory feelingly. Then he ran under a big chair, for my
father's paw was uplifted threateningly.

This seemed a good time for me to throw my sensation in among them. “My
dear family,” I said impressively, “I have a tremendous piece of news
for you. I am to be taken from Boston.”

My mother stopped licking me, and put her head close to mine, as if to
listen more attentively.

My father and Serena were immensely impressed, but tried not to show it,
while Jimmy Dory took advantage of their abstraction, and crept from
under the chair to his former position beside me.

“Go on,” said my father commandingly.

“Well,” I continued, “the Denvilles are going to the country for the
summer. I am to be taken with them, also Slyboots, and the dogs, and the
birds.”

“What country—where is it?” inquired Jimmy Dory breathlessly.

“To Maine,” I replied, then I was silent, for this was my great stroke.

Maine was the far-distant, fabled country that my father had come from.
He had only alluded to it vaguely, for indeed I don't think he
remembered much about it, having been only a kitten when he left it. But
to us, his kittens, it was a land of dreams, of fair promise, of
beauty—in fact, just the kind of place an adventurous little cat would
like to visit.

“Oh, cracky!” muttered Jimmy Dory, “I wish I could go too.”

“You would get lost in the woods,” said Serena disdainfully, “and bears
would eat you.”

“You are not going alone,” said my mother anxiously, “who will there be
to protect you?”

“Oh, I shall keep close to Mona, I assure you, if there is any danger,”
I replied. “Do not be afraid, dear mother. Don't you remember that I
said all the family are going, Mr. and Mrs. Denville, and their
daughter?”

“Oh!” she replied in a calmer voice, but she was very uneasy. I could
tell by her looks.

My father so far had not spoken. Now we saw him licking his lips, and we
all watched him, to catch the words of wisdom that we knew he would let
fall.

“The first question is,” he said clearing his throat, “whether the
kitten is to be allowed to go.”

“Oh!” I said in my turn.

I am a pretty good-sized creature now, and being out in the world I am
rather getting unused to parental control. However, I have been brought
up to consider submission a necessary thing in kittens, so I listened
respectfully.

“Let us hear the arguments for and against,” he said, then he paused.

“I vote she goes,” and Jimmy Dory, without waiting to let ladies speak
first, plunged into a speech in defence of the free exercise of cat
will.

My father listened with a disapproving air. When Jimmy Dory had
finished, he said, “Young fellow, your words are only a wild chewing of
the air in favor of individual cat rights. Now, tell us plainly, why you
consider that Black-Face should be allowed to go to the country.”

“Because she wants to,” said my brother bluntly.

“No reason at all,” replied my father promptly. “Rather a reason for her
to stay at home. The young of any creature invariably wish to do what is
not good for them.”

“Father,” said Jimmy Dory in a sudden rage, “you don't want to hear
arguments for her going. You only want to hear arguments for her
staying.”

“Hush! my son,” replied our parent authoritatively. “My eldest daughter
will now state clearly and succinctly her reasons, or rather her views,
on the subject of this far-away and doubtful trip for Black-Face.”



                              CHAPTER VIII
                          SERENA ASTONISHES US


Serena stood up. She was addressing the audience, and her imaginary
glasses were more in evidence than ever.

“Mr. Chairman, and ladies and gentlemen,” she said with a slightly
scornful dwelling on “gentlemen,” as she turned for an instant toward
Jimmy Dory, “the subject before us, as I look at it, is this. The family
is a sacred, collective body of persons, or cats, who live in one house,
and under one head or manager,” and she gracefully bowed to our father.
“Now, has one member of this body a right to violently and arrogantly
detach itself, without the consent of the others?”

“Yes, it has,” grumbled Jimmy Dory under his breath. “Oh, meow! meow!
Come off the roof, pussy, and talk sense.”

I don't think Serena heard him, for she drew a long breath and went on.

“If such a thing should happen, that one member of this sacred,
collective body should wish to withdraw, or form outside connections of
its own, methinks it would be most compatible with reason for that
member to be one of the older members of this same sacred family.”

“Oho!” purred Jimmy Dory in my ear. “The green-eyed monster has got our
sister by the tail. She's jealous of the youngest member of the sacred
collective body.”

“To condescend to the present case,” pursued Serena, steaming grandly
along with her speech, “should a young kitten undertake all alone, a
long and perilous journey into the wilds of an unknown land?”

Jimmy Dory clapped his paws together. “Yes, yes, she should.”

Serena glared at him. “No, a thousand times no. Do not risk the Benjamin
of the family in any wild and impracticable search for happiness. Rather
let the young and frivolous creature remain within the circle of the
sacred family. Let one of the older members heroically and generously
offer herself on the altar of family affection. Let the kitten stay and
comfort the declining years of its aged parents. Let the dear, sister
cat go.”

She had to stop here. No one could hear a word of what she was saying on
account of Jimmy Dory's actions. He suddenly fell over on the heap of
cushions. He just yelled with delight. Serena glared angrily at him for
a few instants. Her speech was not half done. Then, as he did not
recover, she took to slapping and pinching him. Finally, she pushed him
on the floor.

Jimmy Dory rolled over and over, kicking enjoyably, and just shrieking
with laughter and wickedness. He only controlled himself when my father
joined Serena, and they both cuffed and beat him into submission.

I never saw my father, the Piebald Prince, in such an unprincelike rage.
“Stand there, sir,” he said, holding Jimmy Dory in a corner, “and
explain yourself,” and he gave him another whack to bring him to.

                “Oh! spare your wrath for mercy's sake,
                And let me just a few breaths take,”

gasped Jimmy. “I will explain. I will electrify you, my revered and
honored sire. You have been deluded, sir; basely deluded and humbugged.”

“What do you mean, you young villain?” inquired our parent, still
holding Jimmy in the corner, and gazing suspiciously over one shoulder
toward the door, as if fearful that some wicked stranger had entered the
room. “Nay, sir,” panted Jimmy Dory, with a ludicrous imitation of
Serena's grand manner, “the danger lies not without, 'tis within. We are
all victims of a fraud, sir, a shameless, lying fraud.”

My poor father was so bewildered that he did not know what to do, and
yet he might have known that it was only some of Jimmy Dory's tricks.

“If you don't explain yourself,” he said furiously, “I will give you the
greatest mauling that you have ever had yet.”

Jimmy Dory partly recovered himself. “Sir, I would not have you soil
your paws with the fighting that you so much detest. Now, listen, and
your wrath will be diverted from your hopeful kitten son, to your eldest
hopeful kitten daughter. Our Serena, sir, our talented eldest sister,
has ambitions outside this same sacred family.”

For answer, our father shook him.

Jimmy Dory went on unconcernedly. “You yourself, sir, have often pointed
out to me the fact that cat nature is full of contradictions. Would you
dream that cultured, domestic, home-loving, sister Serena has ambitions
beyond our domestic hearth, that in cat spirit she daily and nightly
roams the world, in search of adventure?”

“You are a story-teller,” responded my father excitedly. “Stop these
aspersions on your sister's character.”

Jimmy Dory put up a protesting paw, and went on, “A long time I have
suspected it. When sister Black-Face went out into the world, I fancied
that sister Serena slightly envied her. Now my suspicions are verified.
Your eldest daughter, sir, is trying to pull the hair over your
venerable eyes. She wants you to recall Black-Face, and let her take her
place at the Denvilles'.”

My father was just about to shake him again, when Jimmy Dory dexterously
wriggled himself away and cried, “Look at her! Is not guilt painted on
her shameless face?”

We did look at her, and if ever a cat looked guilty Serena did. She
stood with drooping head—no words came to her.

There was an awful silence, then my father said to her, “Serena, do you
wish to go out into the world, and leave us?”

“Meow!” she said faintly.

“Then go!” he replied sternly, and he turned his back on her.

It was a fearful blow to my father. He had so prided himself on Serena's
beauty, her accomplishments, her devotion to him, her love for her home.
Now she not only had deceived and flattered him, but keenest pang of
all, she wished to leave him, and go in search of those, as he calls
them, vulgar adventures, such as I am having.

Serena felt dreadfully, and so did my mother. Jimmy Dory did too, for he
suddenly stopped grinning, and making a goose of himself, and went and
lay down in a corner.

“Come,” said Serena under her breath to me, “let us depart.”

“Do you really intend going away with me?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said sulkily and firmly.

“Are you going to the Denvilles'?”

“Of course,” she replied snappishly; “where else should I go?”

“Oh, very well!” I returned, “just as you wish. Of course I have taken
one cat there already. I suppose there is a limit—”

She pretended not to hear me, and walked slowly toward the doorway. When
we got there, my mother stood in it. She gave Serena a dreadful look,
then she put her paws round her neck.

“Oh, get away, mother,” said Serena peevishly pushing her aside. “You
have never understood me.”

I went close up to my dear mother. I rubbed against her, I licked her
sad face, then I said to Serena, “You go on—I am going to stay at home.”

“Do you suppose I will go to the Denvilles' without you?” she said
angrily. “Come on, this very instant!” and she bit me on the neck.

“Go,” purred my mother softly, then she turned her head away, and closed
her eyes. The parting was too bitter for her.

We had all been so used to Serena's domination, that I stupidly followed
her. When we got to the hall door I paused. “Serena,” I said, “I must
wait till little Mary comes for me.”

“Goose,” she replied, “and how am I to get to Beacon Street?”

“Perhaps they will take you.”

“That would be very likely,” she said ironically, then she just screamed
for Gerty to come and open the hall door.

Soon we found ourselves on the sidewalk. Serena led the way. “Oh! isn't
this glorious,” she said, sniffing the fresh air. “How delightful is
liberty! This is what I have been pining for in that dull house of ours.
I have been longing for freedom, for an opportunity to preach the gospel
of culture. How I shall astonish those Maine cats!”

I was so puzzled that I did not know what to do. What would the
Denvilles think of me? I was a regular cat agent.

“Don't go in the front door,” commanded Serena when we got to the house.
By the way, we had several frights going down—two dogs chased us, but as
it was the middle of the afternoon, the streets were full of
well-dressed people, and Serena and I were sharp enough to keep near
them, and they soon drove the dogs away.

“Why don't you want to go in the front door?” I asked.

“Because I want to see the dogs. Haven't I had my curiosity excited on
their subject?”

Stupidly forgetting that Mona and Dolly would be out for their daily
walk with Mr. Denville, I conducted her to the kennels. Of course, they
were vacant, so I led her in the house, through the wash-room, kitchen
and store-rooms.

The cook met us in the lower hall. “Oh, what a beauty cat!” she
exclaimed when she saw Serena. “I say, Rosy and Bridget, come here.”

Serena, in great gratification, purred round the three women, and held
aloft her handsome tail.

“She beats the little fellow hollow,” said the cook, staring at me; “yet
there is a look of the beauty in the fright. Where do she come from, I
wonder.”

Rosy, the house-maid, was laughing. “She beats the Dutch—that little
chappie Black-Face does. She is always bringin' cats home.”

“Lead on to the upper regions,” said Serena in my ear. “I am tired of
this vulgar admiration.”

I did lead on. Serena glanced approvingly in all the rooms as we passed.
She liked the dining-room, and reception-room, but particularly the
library.

“There is culture for you,” she said surveying the books. “Mrs. Darley
hasn't half as many tomes as these.”

“What do you mean by tomes?” I inquired.

“A tome means as many writings as are bound in a volume, and a volume
means a book, goosie—show me your bedroom.”

To get to my room we had to pass Slyboots in the hall.

“Introduce me,” said Serena imperiously.

Quaking on my velvet paws, I walked up to the big sofa by the window.
“Slyboots,” I said, “my sister Serena wishes to be introduced to you.”

Slyboots shut her eyes, and pretended to go to sleep.

“What a charming vista,” remarked Serena going close up, and peering out
over her shoulder at the long avenue of trees on the Common.

Like a flash, Slyboots put up her paw and scratched her right down the
nose.

“You rude thing!” gasped Serena, and she fell back.

“Come in here,” I said, and rushed into Mary's bedroom. Of course, as
Serena was my sister, I had to let her get up on my bed, and for an hour
she made me sit and lick her nose. It was quite sore, but my licking
kept it from swelling, and making her look ugly.

After a long time I heard the carriage stop before the house, then
little Mary ran up-stairs. She caught me in her arms, and hugged me.
“You darling thing, I was afraid you were lost. Why did you not wait for
me?” Then her eye fell on Serena. “Why, pussy dear,” she said, “how did
you get here?—Mamma, Mamma,” and she ran in the hall, and met Mrs.
Denville who was just coming up-stairs. “Here is one of Mrs. Darley's
pussies. We must send her right back.”

Mrs. Denville looked puzzled. However, she rang the bell in Mary's room,
and sent for Anthony. Serena did not resist. She knew that this would
probably happen. She fawned on Mrs. Denville and Mary, and purred round
them, but they did not understand her.

Anthony took her home, and in an hour she was back again.

Mrs. Denville returned her once more, and this time, Serena got back
before Anthony did. Then Mrs. Denville began to comprehend the affair,
and, smiling peculiarly, she called Serena, and went into her own room.

“Harold,” she said, “are you here?”

Mr. Denville came out of his dressing-room in his shirt sleeves, and
stopped rubbing his face with a towel to look at us as we stood there,
his wife, Serena and I.

“Well!” he said expectantly, “do I see double, or have you another
Black-Face there?”

“It is Black-Face's sister,” replied Mrs. Denville, “and she is acting
so strangely. She won't stay at home, and Anthony says that Mrs. Darley
is very much amused, and sends word for us to keep her if we wish her. I
thought cats liked their homes.”

“So they do,” said Mr. Denville, “as a general thing, but there are cat
cranks as well as human cranks. Come here, runaway.”

Serena glided up to him. Oh! the grace and elegance of her motions!
“Dear me!” he said, “what style—what manners! We have something pretty
high-toned here, Maud.”

“But we don't want three cats,” said his wife with a laugh.

“Ship them to Maine,” he replied, and he laughed too, and went back into
his room.

Serena was in an ecstasy. She posed, she swam through the air, she threw
out her chest, she held up her head. She was addressing an audience of
country cats. She was being hailed as the talented lecturer from Boston.
I really thought she would expire from happiness.

When we came to bed she swelled so, or perhaps I should say, she
expanded so enormously with happiness, and gratified conceit, that there
was no room for me in the big chair beside her. I crept to the foot of
Mary's bed, and here I lie, watching Serena's pretty chest rise and fall
in a gleam of electric light that shines through the window.

It seems like a dream that she should be here, established in my bed. I
am happy to have my sister with me, and to see her so happy, but I don't
like her manner of leaving home.

Little Mary, by the way, does not seem to take to Serena. She is very
kind to her, but she does not pet her as she does Slyboots and me.

I was thinking to-night as I lay here, that I had had one sensation
to-day in the thought of going to Maine for the summer. I should rather
say I have had two, for Serena's being here is just about as wonderful
as my proposed journey. I suppose I am to be allowed to go. I know my
father did not want me to, but now that he is so annoyed with Serena I
have a feeling that he would not let either of us return home.

I am dreadfully sleepy. I wonder whether I shall dream of Maine or
Serena.



                               CHAPTER IX
                              ON THE TRAIN


I have not had a good long think for some time. In the first place, I
have been turned out of my bed, and I find that nothing upsets a little
cat like being deprived of her usual sleeping-place. Then I found myself
in a place where it was too hot and stuffy to think. I became tired and
irritable, and at night I could neither sleep nor meditate. After we
left the stuffy place, I found myself in this home where everything is
so quiet, that I could do nothing for two nights but lie awake and think
of the stillness.

You listen _to_ the noises in the city and in the country you listen
_for_ them.

Let me see—when was it that I had the last good, long think, and made a
review of my own conduct, and that of my friends and family?

It was just after Serena had left Mrs. Darley, and had come to the
Denvilles'. That was the beginning of a very upsetting time for me.
Serena kept me on the go for a long time. She would not stir without me,
then she got more independent, and I was left in peace.

She never went home again before we came here, for we are now in lovely
Maine. I did, several times. I got so bold that I would run up Joy
Street quite by myself. My parents were always glad to see me, and Jimmy
Dory regularly used to stand on his head for glee, when he saw me
coming.

He missed Serena dreadfully, but he had no thought of running away
himself. “The parents are a trifle dull for a young fellow like me,” he
said, “but that is all the more reason why I should stay with them. They
took care of me, and amused me, when I was a young fellow, and I ought
to take care of them, and make things a little lively now that they are
getting old. Then sometimes I go down in the kitchen and play with Jane.
She is getting quite civilized.”

I approved of his sentiments, and told him so; then he used to ask me
about Serena, and how she was getting on.

“Serena is quite a belle,” I said. “Cats come as far as from Arlington
Street to call on her.”

“Does any one pet her?” Jimmy Dory used to ask.

“Yes,” I said, “but she doesn't care to be too much handled. A caress
now and then is all that she wants. She likes Mrs. Denville better than
any one. She sits in the drawing-room with her the greater part of the
time.”

This habit of Serena's of sitting in the drawing-room was rather a trial
to me, for Mrs. Denville sat up late, and Serena never would come to bed
until that lady did. She loved the pretty gowns of Mrs. Denville's
friends, and the music and talk, and the sweet cakes and tea, and the
admiration she excited.

I didn't mind that part of it, but what I did mind was having Serena
come walking boldly to bed long after Mary and I were asleep. She always
woke me up with a stroke of her paw, and made me run my tongue all over
her body to compose her nerves for the night, she said. It was nice for
her nerves, but discomposing for mine, and that is why the time of her
coming to Beacon Street is rather confused in my mind. I had no chance
to think it over properly, for she deprived me of my rest and made me
sleepy all the time.

I just forget how long Serena was there before we broke up. I think it
was about a fortnight. Then a child next door had scarlet fever, and
Mrs. Denville was in a great fright on account of her own daughter. She
bundled little Mary right out of the house, and the child went in such a
hurry that of all her pets she was only able to secure me. Her nurse
went with her, and for some days we were with Mary's grandmother, a
fashionable old lady who had a suite of rooms in a big hotel.

I don't know why old ladies like to live in hotels. I should think if
the feeling of having so many people in a house was bad for a young cat,
it would be worse for an old woman. However, Mary's grandmother liked
it. Her name was Mrs. Ainslee.

I was nearly crazy. There was no noise, no confusion, only a great many
well-dressed people, but it seemed to me that I should suffocate. There
were so many curtains and draperies, so many thick carpets, and so much
dark wood, and such a smell of rich food. I don't think the human beings
minded the food smell as much as I did. In the open air I should have
liked it, but in this hotel it made me miserable. I could not eat well,
nor sleep well. I was cross and disagreeable, and my tongue became
coated. Mary never took me to drive here. Her grandmother would not let
her, and the only outing I had was a short time every day, when I was
allowed to go on a balcony and look out over the city. We were pretty
high up, and it made me melancholy to see how far I would have to jump
to get to the street. However, I had no thought of running away. I was
not miserable enough for that, but how I did wish that Mary's
grandmother was a poor woman, living in a house with a yard.

Well, an end came to it. One day there was a great talking between Mary
and her nurse, and I caught the word “Maine” several times repeated.
Then Mary came and caught me up.

“To-morrow morning, darling Pussy,” she said, “we are going to lovely
Maine. We are all to meet at the station. Oh! how perfectly beautiful! I
shall be with mamma and papa again!”

I was so pleased that I did not know what to do. When Mary put me down,
I went and crowded myself against one of the closed windows, and looked
at the busy street below. I could not think, for I had a dull headache.
But I just felt happy. Mrs. Ainslee, being an old lady, hated the cold,
and she kept her rooms at a suffocating heat all the time.

Well, the next morning came. Very early I found myself aroused by Mary's
nurse, old Hannah, who was stepping softly about the room. Then little
Mary woke up, and hurrying out of bed as fast as she could, the child
began to dress herself. In about an hour, Mary had gone to her
grandmother's bed, and had said good-bye, and we were down in the big
dining-room, getting an early breakfast.

After that came a drive in a carriage, then a meeting in a big, big
building with Mary's parents.

It was a very joyful time, but dreadfully confused. I stared in dismay
at the groups of people. Some were standing quietly, other men and women
were rushing to and fro as if they had just lost their pet cat, and were
trying to find her. Fortunately, my dull eye wandering about in quest of
more friends fell on Mona.

I slipped from Mary's arms, and ran up to her. “How do you do, dear
Mona? I am so glad to see you. Do tell me what this great building is.
Why, I should think it would cover the whole of Beacon Hill.”

“This is a railway station, Black-Face,” she said kindly. “See Anthony
over there buying the tickets. Are you coming in the baggage car with
me?”

“I don't know what a baggage car is,” I replied.

“Do you see those long things over there?”

“Those funny little houses on wheels?” I asked.

“Yes—those are railway cars. Some are for men and women, some for
animals, some for other things. Here is Anthony.”

The young man at this moment approached Mr. and Mrs. Denville. Touching
his cap, he put some pieces of paper in their hands. Then he came up to
Mona, and fastened something on her neck.

“What is that?” I mewed.

“My check,” said Mona. “Mr. Denville has to pay for me.”

At that moment, I heard Mary's voice in distress, “Black-Face,
Black-Face, where are you?”

I ran back to her, and Mrs. Denville looked down at me. “You should have
had your cat put in a box or basket, Mary.”

“Oh, mamma, can't she go in the car with me?”

“No, dear, it is breaking rules, and she will be happy in the baggage
car with the other creatures. Serena is there, and Dolly, and the
canaries, and Mona is just going. Anthony will ride with them.”

She put up a finger, and Anthony who was now leading Mona by a chain,
came near.

“Take this cat,” said Mrs. Denville, “and put a collar and string of
some kind on her.”

I sprang into Anthony's arms. I did not wish to be tied.

“She is a good little thing, ma'am,” said Anthony. “I don't think she
would bolt.”

“She might,” said the lady decidedly. “Put a cord on her, in case of
accidents.”

Still holding me, Anthony went up to a kind of little shop on one side
of the building, and bought a collar and chain. Then with me in his arms
and leading Mona, he passed through some big gates, and we went
alongside the rows of funny little houses on wheels.

I was so glad he had me in his arms. The people pressed and jostled us,
but Mona was so big she did not seem to care.

At last Anthony stopped, climbed up some steps, and entered one of the
cars as Mona called them.

I saw an open door behind us. Inside, were lovely soft seats, and many
persons seated on them; but we did not go in there. Right in front of us
was a kind of store-room, or lumber-room, with old trunks and boxes, and
some new ones. There were also some bicycles.

“Good-morning, baggage-master,” I heard Anthony say, and a man in his
shirt sleeves came toward us. “Where are the rest of our critters?”

The man pointed toward the other end of the car, so we walked on.

“Mew,” said a cat's voice, and there, to my delight, was Serena looking
at me through the slats of a box.

“Well, Serena,” I said, “how do you do? I am glad to see a member of my
own family again.”

“I am very well,” she replied calmly. “How are you?”

“Oh! nicely. I am sorry to see you in that box.”

“Sorry!” she repeated bridling unamiably, “Why, I was put in here for
protection. They were afraid that something would happen to my lovely
fur. I see you are not boxed.”

I grinned from ear to ear. “No,” I said, “I am not worth boxing. Where
is Slyboots?”

“Here beside me in this other box.”

I looked at it. Slyboots was curled all in a heap. She would hate this
racketing place.

She wouldn't uncurl herself when I spoke to her, so I gazed round for
Dolly.

She was flat on her face in a corner—a perfect heap of misery.

“She is used to the train, too,” said Mona in her rumbling voice—“has
often been on it before. Look up, Dolly. I am here.”

Dolly raised her head, and as Mona's chain was fastened to a ring in the
side of the car, she slipped between the big dog's front paws, and sat
there cowering and trembling.

The canaries were in a cage hanging up on the side of the car. There was
a thick cloth all over them, and perfect stillness inside. They did not
like travelling any better than the rest of us.

I was sorry for Slyboots. I knew she was suffering, and I was pleased
when Anthony tied me, so I could sit beside her box.

Pretty soon we started, and glad I was to get out of the dreadful noise
and confusion of that building. Bells were ringing, smoke was puffing,
men, women and children were still hurrying, and the air was full of
distraction for cats.

The gliding motion was rather pleasant, until we began to go bumpety
bump, and rattle rattle. I did not like that; however, I saw that there
was no danger. Anthony did not look frightened, nor did the man with the
funny cap on, so I plucked up courage and whispered to Slyboots:

“It is all right—you are quite safe, and we are on our way to lovely
Maine.”

[Illustration:

  “SHE SLIPPED BETWEEN THE BIG DOG'S FRONT PAWS, AND SAT THERE COWERING
    AND TREMBLING.”
]

She never stirred, and I turned to Anthony. He had dragged a stool right
in the midst of us, and sat there quietly looking at us from time to
time. He was a kind-hearted young fellow, and if he had not been he
would not have dared to neglect us, for I had heard the Denvilles talk
of having discharged servant after servant for being unkind to animals.

Anthony did not love us as the Denvilles did. He rather made fun of us,
but still he was kind to us, and that was good in him.

We soon rushed along at a fearful rate. I never dreamed that Boston was
so large. I thought Beacon Hill was the most of it.

“Why, Mona,” I mewed at the top of my voice to make her hear, “where did
all the houses come from?”

She smiled at me. “There are more houses in the world than you ever
dreamed of, little cat.”

Suddenly we stopped with a great jerk. “What is this?” I asked
curiously. “Is it to give the horses a rest?”

“The what?” inquired old Mona wrinkling her forehead.

“The horses who are dragging us. Have they stopped to take breath, and
get a drink of water?”

Mona just roared with laughter. “Excuse me, Black-Face,” she gasped,
after a time, “but I cannot help it. You are so innocent. Our motive
power does not consist of horses, but steam.”

“Steam,” I said in astonishment—“like the tea-kettle steam?”

“Yes, my kitten, yes.”

“And how many kettles does it take?”

Mona at this laughed so uproariously that I paid no further attention to
her, but looked at the man whom Anthony called the baggage-master. Had
he gone crazy? The train had stopped, and he had pushed back further the
big door in the side of the car, and was throwing all the boxes and
trunks outside. Oh! how angry he was!

I was perfectly terrified. Soon he would get to our corner. Then would
he throw us out? No, for there sat Anthony quite calm and collected, and
reading a newspaper.

“Mona,” I said timidly, for by this time she had calmed herself, and was
only snickering occasionally. “You wouldn't let that man hurt me, would
you?”

“That man—the baggage-master?”

“Yes, Mona.”

“Don't be afraid. When your turn comes to be handled, he will be quite
gentle. I saw Anthony giving him a good big tip.”

“A tip?”

“Yes—money—to be good to us.”

“Meow!” I screamed suddenly, for as the baggage-master stood panting and
glaring after his fit of fury, some other crazy men outside began to
fling back all that he had just put out. However, I did not need to be
afraid, for now his rage was quite over, and he seized the things
rapidly, and put them all neatly into the corner of the car furthest
away from us.

“Mona,” I said indignantly, “it was hardly safe to put us in with that
violent creature. If Anthony should leave us, I am sure we would go
out.”

“Hush! Pussy,” said the good dog authoritatively. “He is only doing what
he is paid to do. At every station he must throw out passengers' luggage
and take on more.”

A sudden light broke over me. Was that what he was doing?

“See, there are the Denvilles' trunks behind us,” continued Mona—“those
big ones with M. D. and H. D. on them.”

“Oh! thank you, thank you, Mona,” I replied. “I am a very foolish cat.
Let me know when we get to Maine. I am so confused with this racket that
I am going to lie down and close my eyes,” and I pressed close up to
Slyboots' box.

Serena was gazing at everything with wide-open eyes. I don't think she
understood things any better than I did, but she was too proud to ask
questions. Before we went to sleep that night I would probably have to
explain everything to her.

I lay down and got up again, and closed my eyes for hours, and then
opened them. It seemed to me that our journey would never end.

“Are we going round the great, big world, Mona?” I asked wearily.

“No, no, Pussy,” she replied gently, “only over a little bit of it.”

I gazed out the large door in the side of the car, for it was a lovely
day, and the baggage-master left it open a little bit. If he had closed
it I should not have seen a thing, for the windows were high up in the
sides of the car.

We were passing through another big city. Then came fewer houses, then
green grass and trees like the Common.

“Is this the country?” I asked Mona.

“Yes, we are in the real country now.”

“But not in Maine?”

“No, not yet. I will let you know when we reach Maine.”

It was beautiful if it was not Maine, and the scenery kept changing. Not
steady rows of trees like the Common, nor one little pond, but many
trees set different ways and large ponds—“lakes,” Mona called them, and
rivers.

Just when we were getting weariest, we had a very pleasant diversion.
Anthony picked up a basket from the floor, and gave us all something to
eat. How good those sandwiches tasted! Then he gave us some milk which
he poured from bottles into a pan. I considered it was very thoughtful
in him to have provided this lunch and said so.

“It was Mrs. Denville,” said Mona. “It would not have occurred to
Anthony to do it.”

In the bottom of the basket were some nicer sandwiches for Anthony. He
gave some to the baggage-master, and they seemed to calm him still more.

I went to sleep after our lunch. I actually had a real nap, till I was
awakened by some one saying in my ear, “This is Maine, your lovely
Maine.”

My eyes just flew open—lovely Maine; why it was the dirty part of a city
that we were passing through.

“But this is not the country,” I said.

“No,” replied Mona, “but we shall soon come to the country parts. Maine
has some towns and villages, you know. It is not all fields and woods.”

“I did not know,” I said confusedly, then I began to watch—to watch just
as an ordinary cat looks after a mouse. Our family was not much good at
catching mice. My father is a little bit disinclined to exert himself,
and Serena thinks mouse-catching vulgar.

“We must make some difference between ourselves and common cats,” she
often says, “so let it be as regards our table.”

Well, I did not at first find Maine very different from Massachusetts.
However, after a while there was more forest—wild-looking forest, and
Mona told me that in those woods the gentlemen from Boston came to shoot
deer.

“Now, Black-Face,” she said at last, “be all alive. Anthony and the
baggage-master have just been saying that we are near our destination.”

I told Serena and Slyboots. Serena's eyes sparkled, but Slyboots never
uncurled herself. Poor Dolly pricked up her ears just a little bit, and
I stretched my neck to see all I could from the car door.

“This is the opening of the valley,” said the baggage-master, “the Black
River Valley. Those are the Purple Hills on the north, and the Green
Hills on the south.”

“Have you ever been here before?” I asked Mona.

“No, never, but I have been in other country places. This is very
charming though!”

Charming!—it was exquisite, and quite took my breath away. “Serena,” I
said, “can you see?”

“Not a bit,” she replied bitterly; “describe it to me. Is it like the
Common?”

“Yes and no. There are huge green trees, and grass, and water, but the
Common has no big things against the sky like great rows of houses with
trees standing on the top of them.”

“Be more explicit, I beg of you,” she exclaimed irritably. “You are
exceedingly confused in your statements.”

“I will tell her, kitten,” interposed Mona in her calm voice. “Serena,
we are just entering a long, flat valley with low ranges of hills on
each side. The train is gliding among beautiful fields and orchards.
Farm-houses are scattered here and there. There are strips of forest
land, and many little streams. We have not yet come to the Black River.”

“Thank you,” said Serena prettily. “Your description heightens my desire
to escape from the protecting confines of this travelling cage.”

Mona glanced at the grocer's soap box she was in, and grinned. Then her
heavy nostrils moved delightedly, and she said, “Smell, kitten!”

My own little nose went like a rabbit's. “Oh! Mona,” I said, “how
perfectly delicious. What is it?”

“Apple orchards in bloom. The valley is sheltered, and the trees blossom
earlier here than elsewhere.”

Just then, we swept right by the front door of a large, old-fashioned
house.

“Put here, of course, before the railway was built,” said Mona. “Now
look, kitten, we are entering the largest orchard yet.”

I did look. I had never seen anything like this on the Common. I must
say the shape of the apple trees seemed rather low and squatty; but the
look of them!

“Oh! Serena,” I screamed, “they are all dressed for a party—in pink and
white. Oh! what beauty. They are not common trees. They must be Angora
trees.”

“I cannot see,” mewed Serena excitedly, “but I can smell. What
delectable odors! How I wish I were out of this box. That perfume
exceeds and goes beyond the catnip.”

“I don't know about that,” I said doubtfully, “but it is very delicious.
The water is running from my mouth.”

“You vulgar thing,” said Serena disdainfully, and she would not speak to
me for a long time.

There were more farms and farm-houses, more meadows and patches of tall
dark pine-woods.

“They seem to have every sort of scenery in this valley,” said Anthony
good-humoredly. Then he began looking round to see if we were all right.
“How many minutes to Black River station, baggage-master?”

The man looked at his watch. “Five,” he said.

I was greatly excited, and the five minutes seemed as long as an hour.

However, they passed, and at last the train stopped slowly, and Anthony
got up, and leading Mona, hurried out the door at the end of the car.

The baggage-master handed the rest of us down very carefully to him
through the big door at the side of the car. All the fierceness had gone
out of him.



                               CHAPTER X
                          WE REACH THE COUNTRY


I found myself in the arms of a slight young man, who had blue eyes and
yellow hair. He had slipped forward when the train stopped, and had
taken me as I was handed out.

Cuddling me up to him quite nicely, he said slyly—“A kitty that looks as
if she had been struck by lightning.”

I suppose I was dreadfully rumpled, still I didn't like to hear it, so I
said “Meow!” in a loud voice, hoping that some of our own party would
hear me. They did not, though I saw them in a great confusion of heads,
and arms, and hurrying feet.

The train did make the people jump at this little station. For two or
three minutes it was dreadful to see the crowding and pushing, and to
hear the thumping of boxes. I thought that the Denvilles' trunks would
be knocked all to pieces.

Finally, when the trouble seemed at the very worst, the train gave a
dreadful yelling and breathing and slowly dragged away.

“Where is my pussy?” I heard in Mary's dear voice. “Where is my
Black-Face? Here are the others, but where is she?”

My captor slipped up to her and held me out.

“Oh! thank you,” said Mary, and she took me in her arms.

This was the first really happy moment that I had known since leaving
Boston. I snuggled down to her. I even began to purr.

Mr. and Mrs. Denville were standing talking to a tall, burly man in big
top boots, homespun clothes, and a soft felt hat.

Mr. Denville called him Mr. Gleason, and I found that he was the farmer
who had bought the old Denville homestead. I liked his face—it was so
humorous. Sometimes his mouth stopped smiling, but his eyes never
stopped. They were twinkling all the time, whether he was talking or
keeping still.

He was a very big man, and he stood looking about at us all without a
word, but with his eyes just dancing.

“Now,” said Mr. Denville at last, in his business-like way, “we are
ready to start, Mr. Gleason.”

The farmer pulled himself together, laughed “Ho! ho!” in a jolly voice,
just as if Mr. Denville had made some good joke, then led the way to the
back of the station house. There was a good-sized, double-seated
carriage there, with a canopy top, and near it stood a large express
wagon.

“Ho! ho! ho!” laughed the farmer again, as he gazed round on us all—Mr.
and Mrs. Denville, Mary as she held me in her arms, Anthony, Mona,
Slyboots and Serena in their boxes, nurse Hannah, and the big cage of
canaries, and the heap of trunks—“Ho! ho! I guess I'll have to lay in
some more cornmeal, and put another house on the top of the one I've
got.”

While the farmer stood laughing to himself, Mr. Denville calmly put his
wife, Mary and me in the back seat of the carriage, and got in the front
seat himself.

Seeing this, the farmer stopped chuckling, and going up to the horses'
heads, unfastened the rope that tied them.

“Denno,” he said to the slight young man who had taken me from the
train, “pack all you can in the express wagon, and make after me. Come
back for what you have to leave.”

Mary held me tightly in her lap, and I gazed curiously about me as the
farmer got into the carriage, picked up the reins, and started away from
the station. A number of little boys were on the ground staring up at
me, but I did not pay much attention to them. I had seen boys before,
and at present I was more interested in lovely Maine.

The canopy over our heads made a grateful shade, and I looked all about
me. Back of the station on the railway track, were some big buildings
that I heard the farmer tell Mr. Denville were a creamery, a canning
factory, and a warehouse for apple barrels. As we turned up from the
station to drive along a wide road, we passed a number of stores and
houses. They made the station village of Black River. It was not very
pretty just there. We had not yet come to the pretty part.

Mrs. Denville was looking about her very quietly, but very attentively
as we passed beyond the stores and the houses, then entered on a long,
country road.

“See there,” she said to Mary, “look at those birds building nests in
that bank of earth!”

As she spoke, Mr. Denville leaned over the back of the front seat. “I am
very glad to have you here, Maud,” he said in a deeply gratified voice.
“I have often longed to revisit the haunts of my childhood with you.”

“Why did you not tell me?” she said in a low voice. “I would have come
long before!”

“Over there,” he said with a sweep of his hand toward a grove of pines
that we were passing, “rye grew when I was a boy. Just think of that.”

Mrs. Denville looked at the sturdy trees, then at her husband. “And you
are not so very old,” she said.

“And yonder,” he said with another gesture toward the fields and woods
on the other side of the road, “I have hunted foxes and wildcats many a
day.”

“Oh, papa, are there any foxes here now?” asked Mary.

“Not about here,” replied her father. “The land has been cleared so
rapidly that they have retreated to other fastnesses.”

I had noticed that the farmer had been occasionally throwing curious and
sympathetic glances over his shoulder at little Mary, ever since we left
the station. I knew by his eyes that he was a man that liked children,
and soon he said kindly, “Would you like to see a fox, little sissy?”

“Oh, yes,” she replied joyfully, “very much.”

“Then you and I will take a gun some day and go up on the hills.”

Mary shuddered, “Oh, not a gun, Mr. Farmer.”

“Mr. Gleason,” her mother corrected her.

“Mr. Gleason,” the little girl repeated. “Oh, I would not like to shoot
a fox. Little foxes like to live, Mr. Gleason.”

“Ho! ho!” he chuckled, “but foxes eat hens and chickens, little sissy.”

“Then fasten up the hens, and put out some food for the foxes,” said
Mary gently.

The farmer nearly choked himself laughing. The idea of feeding foxes
seemed to deprive him of every remnant of self-control. I thought myself
it would be a nice plan to feed them, if they were hungry, but then I
didn't know anything about the matter.

Mr. and Mrs. Denville were thoughtfully examining the beautiful country
about us, and did not pay much attention to Mary and the farmer.

“Have you any children, Mr. Gleason?” Mary asked softly.

She did not mind his laughing. My little mistress is very clever, and
knows quite well whether one is laughing with her, or at her.

“Children,” he said, drawing a big blue and white handkerchief from his
pocket, and wiping his eyes with it, “now, little sissy, just guess.
Would you say I had, or I hadn't.”

“I should say you had,” she replied firmly.

“Good again—you pulled up the right turnip that time. I've got three
children, sissy.”

“Oh! I am so glad,” she replied. “I just wanted some little children to
play with, and papa didn't know whether you had any or not.”

“They're not at home now,” he said. “They are up visiting their aunt on
the hills yonder,” and he pointed to the big swelling land against the
sky in front of us.

We were going now directly toward the long range of the Green Hills, and
away from the Purple Hills.

“Look about you, Black-Face,” murmured Mary in my ear. “Stare your
little city eyes out. Isn't this country delicious?”

I was amused at the remark about my eyes. They were delighted, but it
was my nose just then that was giving me most pleasure. Animals like
strong perfumes, but I never had felt anything as strong and sweet as
this air. In the city of Boston of course I am very near the ground.
Human beings can't realize how different is a cat's point of view, and
point of smell, unless they will drop on all fours, and walk along close
to the ground as we do.

I was about to speak of the Boston smells. They are very varied—some
clean, but mostly dirty. You go a little way, and in addition to all the
queer suggestions of the pavement and gutter, you get a puff of sewer
gas. You go a little further, and get another. Here in the country there
is a different class of smells. When Mary spoke to me it was
apple-blossom mixed with wild flower perfume and coming in great waves
of warm air. I was almost intoxicated, so much so that I closed my eyes,
and gave myself up to the pleasure of smell. Oh, the delicious country!
Why do not cats and people forsake the cities?

I had a dream of bringing all the Boston cats to Black River Valley,
then curiosity made me open my eyes.

We were passing by scattering houses with small orchards about them.
Then turning a corner, we found ourselves in a small village.

Nobody spoke. It was lovely to look down that quiet village street in
this June sunlight, to see the pretty white houses half hidden in shade
trees, or in the exquisite pink and white blossoms of apple trees. There
was just one store in the village. A buggy stood in front of it, and the
old horse attached to it was meditatively chewing the top from his
hitching post, and did not even glance at us as we went by. I saw one or
two faces at the windows, but there was no noise. No one seemed to wish
to disturb the beautiful stillness of the village, and we drove through
it without a word being spoken.

After we left it and were going down a hill to an iron bridge over a
small river, Mr. Denville said quietly, “This is old Black River
Village—not a very lively place since the railway came, and persons
began to build about the station.”

“Oh, look at Mona!” said Mary suddenly.

The good old dog who had been following the carriage with Dolly close
beside her, had plunged down the steep bank of the river, and rustling
among the tall grasses and rushes, lapped eagerly at the water.

“She is almost overcome with the warmth of that thick coat of hers,”
remarked Mrs. Denville. “We must have her hair cut off before the really
warm weather comes.”

“Why, she is going to swim the river!” exclaimed Mary. “Just look at
her!”

The river was not a very wide one, and she went boldly through it, with
little, bedraggled Dolly paddling behind.

“Now she will be cooler,” said Mary delightedly. “I am so glad she went
in.”

After leaving the little river, we went up a hill past more houses, and
then to my surprise came another river, this one also with a pretty iron
bridge over it.

Mona and Dolly went into this river too, and Mary and the farmer laughed
heartily to see their two heads above the running stream.

I am trying to think how many rivers and streams we passed. I like to be
a truthful little cat, even to myself. It was the same lovely thing,
over and over—farm-houses, orchards, strips of woodland, streams, and
beautiful green meadows.

“Do you like those meadows, sissy?” the farmer said to Mary.

“Oh! they are lovely,” she replied in a low voice. “I am thinking of the
Bible. Don't you remember where the Jews sat down by the rivers of
Babylon, and hung their harps on the willow-trees?”

“And wept because they remembered Zion,” said the farmer in his genial
voice. “Yes, sissy, I remember. They wept because they were in a strange
land, but we should weep if the Lord should take us away from our
meadows. That rich low land is a great thing for our farms. It does not
require fertilizing,” and then he went on to explain how the streams and
rivers brought down the fertile soil from the high Green Hills and
deposited it on the valley.

“And the meadow grass makes hay for the horses, does it?” said Mary with
interest. “That is nice to know; and now, Mr. Gleason, will you please
tell me what you call these handsome horses of yours?” and she pointed
to the fine pair of brown animals that were drawing us so swiftly along.

“I call them Glory and Dungeon,” replied the farmer, and his eyes
twinkled.

“Glory and Dungeon,” she repeated in rather a mystified tone. “What
queer names. What do they mean?”

“They don't mean anything,” said the farmer with a burst of laughter.
“When I get a new animal, a name for him crops right out of my mind. I
don't know any reason for it.”

Mary looked him up and down. Up his broad back, and shoulders, and his
thick neck, and big hat. Then she peeped round, and tried to obtain a
more satisfactory glimpse of his face that had for some time been half
turned toward her.

He was shaking with amusement, but no one knew what it was about. I
don't think he knew himself. I think he just laughs because he feels
happy.

Mary did not speak, and after a few minutes he composed himself and
turned to speak to Mrs. Denville.

“Now, ma'am, just as you're getting played out, I expect, here we are at
the Black River,” and he pulled up his big horses and made them stop
short on the rustic wooden bridge.



                               CHAPTER XI
                          MAINE, LOVELY MAINE


Mona and Dolly came draggling along, paused at the brink of the river,
then, as if to say, “You are too beautiful to be polluted by our muddy
coats,” they came up on the bridge, and lay down by the carriage.

“This here river,” said Mr. Gleason warmly, “is to my mind, though one
of the smallest, yet the prettiest we've got. Up there,” and he pointed
his whip to the Green Hills, “it rises among the woods, and comes
rushing down the steep slopes. Then it creeps into yonder belt of trees
and finally comes out here, quiet and tired, and kind of spreads itself
about in these pools to think a bit.”

No one spoke, and we all gazed earnestly at the lovely green pools
fringed by the tall water grasses.

“And after its meditating is done,” continued the farmer, “it gathers
itself up, and meanders down through the meadows till it reaches our
farm, which it just about cuts in two, or unites, whichever way you
choose to take it. Our place wouldn't be much without the river—get up,
Glory and Dungeon,” and he urged on the big powerful horses.

I was very much interested, but how tired I was! My eyes ached from the
bright sunshine and gazing at such far-away things. I rather longed for
the cool, quiet streets, and the opposite houses of Beacon Hill.
However, this was only my first day, and I felt that I should soon love
this beautiful scenery. Cats are sensitive as well as human beings; they
hate dull and sordid surroundings.

Up one more gentle hill, along a level road, and then the farmer spoke
again. “Here is our young orchard, and there are the farm buildings.”

Mary let me slip to the seat, and slowly but eagerly, raised herself to
her feet. “Papa, papa, was this your very home?”

Mr. Denville nodded his head. “My very home, but I scarcely recognize
it. This orchard land used to be covered with a spruce grove. The barn
is new, and the house has been changed.”

At this moment, Mr. Gleason turned swiftly from the road to a short
avenue of maple-trees, and drew up in front of a good-sized house with a
green lawn before it.

Mrs. Denville put up her eyebrows. “This does not look like an
old-fashioned farm-house, Harold,” she remarked.

“No, it has been altered,” he said, “the old house has been put on top
of the new one.”

“Why, I never heard of such a thing,” said Mrs. Denville, and little
Mary exclaimed, “But, papa, how could they do it?”

“After my father's death the place was sold,” continued Mr. Denville,
“and the new owner lifted the framework of the old house, and built
under it. We will go over the house, and I will show you what is new and
what is old. Let us get out now. There is Mrs. Gleason.”

A white-faced, thin, quiet-looking woman with a blue apron on was
standing on the veranda at the end of the house. She was smiling kindly,
and stepping quietly forward, she shook hands with the Denvilles. Mrs.
Denville and Mary went in the house with her, but I stayed to greet
Serena and Slyboots. The express wagon was just turning in the avenue.

Serena's box was soon put on the veranda, and I found that she was in a
fine rage because she had not been allowed to come in the carriage with
us. “To think of putting me in with the servants,” she said angrily,
“and why am I not let out? Can't you get a hatchet?”

“I don't know where there is one,” I said, “and if I did, I could not
hold it in my paws.”

“Well, do something,” she said. “Sit down and mew.”

I sat down beside her box, and screamed for help. Mary soon came
running. “Anthony, Anthony,” she called, “Black-Face wants you to let
her sister out of the box.”

The servant man came hurrying from the carriage-house, and soon Serena
had her liberty.

“Now, Slyboots,” said Mary, and the poor street cat was lifted out.

She went right back in the box again, and lay there till some one let
out the farmer's big black and white dog. He had been shut up before we
arrived lest he should molest us. Now he came bustling up, his tail in
the air, his nose excited, as if to say, “Who are all these strange
creatures that I smell?”

“Barlo,” said Mr. Gleason coming out of the kitchen, “if you touch these
cats, I shall whip you.”

He stared up in his master's face, and wagged his tail. Oh! how he did
want to chase us! Serena and I stood with our backs up. Slyboots slowly
rose from the box that I fancy she thought would be her coffin, and
slunk into the house.

At this instant fortunately, Barlo caught sight of Mona and Dolly who
were lying panting under the trees. Here were two lady visitors. He
could not be rude to them. In great delight he ran toward them,
prostrated himself on the ground, begged them to play, but they would
not. Then he ran like a fox to the orchard, and began to dig up buried
bones from the ploughed land. These he brought and laid before Mona and
Dolly.

They were not going to eat dirty bones when they had lately been having
sandwiches, so they scorned them. Barlo was in a dreadful state of mind.
He whimpered, and licked the air, and behaved like a very silly dog.

“He is young,” remarked Serena disdainfully. “Now, Black-Face, let us go
in the house and investigate.”

By this time it was getting to be late afternoon. The air was very
chilly, and I was glad to go inside.

We entered a large kitchen. It had good-sized windows, and two tables,
and a sink with a funny, big, red thing, that I afterward learned was a
pump to bring in water from the well. There were also some
rocking-chairs, and a big black stove which was throwing out a great
heat.

Mrs. Denville was sitting in a chair with her feet against the oven to
warm them, and Mary was not dancing about her as she would have done if
she had not had a weak back, but she was slowly circling about on her
toes, while she ate a slice of bread and molasses.

“Look under the stove, Black-Face,” said Serena tragically, “and tell me
what you see.”

I stooped down. A big ugly, grizzled, tortoise-shell cat with glassy
yellow eyes was staring in our direction.

“A grandmother cat you may be sure, and as ugly as sin,” whispered
Serena. “Now, come this way. I smell another.”

She led me toward a deep box heaped with sticks of wood which the
farmer's wife kept putting on the stove instead of coal.

“They must be rich to burn wood all the time,” said Serena; “now, smell
round here.”

I did smell, and discovered a large, young cat—a queer-looking fellow,
apparently all white, standing with one side pressed against the wall.

His eyes were shut, and his expression was most peculiar.

“He has probably never seen an Angora before,” remarked Serena.

“If he is frightened of us, what would he do if he saw a thoroughbred,
with still longer hair?” I replied.

“Hush, Black-Face,” responded Serena, “up here where common country cats
don't know much, I am going to be out and out thoroughbred.”

“Are you?” I said. “Well, I am not.”

“You shall be,” she responded angrily.

“I shall not,” I said firmly.

“Why not, dear?” she asked, suddenly growing calm.

“Because mother told me never to lie, and because I know if we do we are
sure to be found out.”

“Well, you may be whatever breed you like,” said Serena with a toss of
her head. “I am going to be Angora, pure and simple. I shall say we are
only half-sisters.”

“And I shall contradict you.”

She paused for a few minutes, and surveyed me angrily. “Black-Face, you
are a teasing little wretch. I wish I had left you at home.”

“That cat behind the box is listening to all you say,” I remarked. “You
do not know how clear your voice is. Now, don't try that thoroughbred
trick, or he will expose you, if I don't.”

“I am sure he could not have heard us,” replied Serena in a confident
tone.

“Very well,” I replied. “Suppose we speak kindly to this cat. He looks
much disturbed.”

“I would rather inspire respect than familiarity,” replied Serena
tossing her head. “I am going to cry for milk. Good-bye,” and she walked
away.

“How do you do?” I inquired going up to the box. “What is your name?”

“Whoop! Bang!” he exclaimed, suddenly opening his eyes and turning a
flying somersault out into the room, “my name's Joker—what for the
land's sake, is yours?”

I opened my eyes in undisguised astonishment. This cat was neither shy
nor frightened. He was a huge, ungainly young fellow, most peculiarly
marked, for one side was white, and the other was Maltese gray, and his
manner was bold and assured.

“My name is Black-Face,” I said quietly.

“What's that other cat's name that was with you,” he went on; “that
stuck-up thing?”

“Was there a stuck-up cat here?” I said innocently looking over my
shoulder. “I was not aware of it.”

“You know what I mean,” he said with a grin, “that white-faced mule.”

“Is that your grandmother under the stove?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “I ain't got a relative here. Though I call her grandma
and I call her daughter Aunt Tabby. Aunt Tabby's in under the
settin'-room sofy.”

I softly walked into the next room. There was a pleasant-faced, very
respectable pussy under the sofa. “How do you do?” I said politely to
her.

She bowed her head gravely, and threw me a kind glance.

“I hope you won't mind having so many strange cats come here,” I
continued.

“Everybody keeps a number of cats around here,” she said simply. “There
are so many mice.”

“They steal the food, I suppose.”

“They eat the grain,” she said in mild surprise. “You know the farmers
have corn, buckwheat, oats, wheat and other things in the bins in their
grain-rooms. The mice make sad havoc in the bins, unless there are cats
about. Up in the barn, there is a cat.”

“Called Thummie,” interposed the foolish, grinning Joker. “He's got
double side claws on his paws. He's a sight.”

The tabby cat listened patiently to Joker, then she continued, “I have
charge of the carriage-house, and Joker here, looks after the house.”

“Grandma being most as good as dead, does nothin',” interrupted that
dreadful grinning Joker.

“Do you allow young cats here to make fun of old ones?” I said
indignantly to the pleasant-faced tabby.

She seemed embarrassed, and Joker replied, “Course we do—this is a free
country, ain't it?”

“Certainly, one is free to do anything,” I replied, “but the question
is, whether it is right and kind to do certain things.”

“There you go preachin',” responded the irresponsible Joker. “Blizzard
said that you Boston cats would make us most sick with your airs. Go
'long with you. Preach to the birds in the trees,” and he skipped out
the doorway.

“He is very young,” said the tabby looking after him.

I did not reply. I had never seen a cat that affected me so
disagreeably. Not even Slyboots, for there was some moderation and
restraint about her. This creature was so forward, so unmannerly, so
conceited, so rude—and then I paused. How wicked I was to take such a
dislike to him.

“Would you like a little walk outside?” asked my new friend politely.

“No, thank you—I am dead tired. I believe I will go to bed. I wonder
which room my little mistress is to have.”

“I know,” said the tabby politely. “I will show you.”

She was just about leading me into the hall to go up-stairs when I heard
a fearful shriek. “Meow! Wow! Black-Face!”

It was my sister's voice, and she was calling to me. I flew out of the
sitting-room into the kitchen, and out on the veranda. Which way? Ah!
there was the noise and there were the combatants.

Out on the ploughed land under the apple trees, a furry ball was rolling
over and over. It did not seem to be two cats but one.

Aunt Tabby had not come with me, but another cat form was leaping along
beside me, and a voice that I had heard before was saying in my ear,
“That's Blizzard fast enough, that's the way he gets in his work.”

I turned as I ran and saw Joker.

“We must separate them,” he gurgled in his throat, as if this were
something to be enjoyed and prolonged, “but go easy, strange cat, go
easy.”

[Illustration:

  “OUT ON THE PLOUGHED LAND UNDER THE APPLE TREES, A FURRY BALL WAS
    ROLLING OVER AND OVER.”
]

“She's my sister,” I gasped indignantly, and I threw myself forward
toward the part of the ball that was not Serena's long hair.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw other cats approaching. One from the
road, one from the barn. The latter looked dishevelled. It was poor
Slyboots, and as I afterward learned, she had been having trouble on her
own account. However, she nobly came to our aid. The cat on the road I
did not recognize, and of course, at this time, I did not know who
Blizzard was.

Joker helped Slyboots and me. We seized the gray hair, and pulled. I got
hold of the wicked Blizzard's tail, and I can assure you, I nipped it.
Of course they rolled over and over, but Joker, and I, and Slyboots hung
on, and presently we dragged that gray beast off.

Then I had a look at him. He was a slight, slim, gray and white cat,
with the meanest little head I ever saw—a regular sly, ugly little
scamp, and under-sized. Why, he was not as large as I was!

Of course, I did not bestow much attention on him, but confined myself
to Serena. I found that she was dreadfully shaky and frightened, but not
much hurt.

“That's the way Blizzard fights,” said Joker gleefully. “He doesn't do
much damage, 'cause he doesn't want to knock you out.”

“What!” I exclaimed, turning sharply to him.

Joker's mouth was stretched from ear to ear, and he was pointing toward
the little gray Blizzard who was being licked down by the cat in the
road.

Joker coolly explained. “There ain't many cats around here. Blizzard has
got to fight. If he half killed you, you'd be laid up for a week, so he
fights easy. Then you soon recover, and he can go at you again.”

“Oh my!” gasped Serena who was listening to us. “I am all upset.”

“Lie down a while,” I said, “then we will go to the house.”

Slyboots stood near us never saying a word, but staring at Blizzard and
his friend. At last she said to Joker, “Who is the second gray and white
cat?”

“That's Rosy,” he replied, “Blizzard's wife. She always rubs him down,
but never takes part in a fight. When she hears him yelling, she runs to
be on the spot to help him afterward.”

“I feel faint,” murmured Serena, “I think I will go to the house.”

As our little procession formed, I happened to cast a look toward the
barn. There sat another cat, watching us with a smile on his face. This
must be Thummie, but he was too far off for me to see his double claws.

We all went into the house, and up-stairs. The Denvilles and the
Gleasons were having dinner or supper as they call it here, in the
dining-room. There was a good deal of laughing and talking, and I
glanced up at the table as we went by. It was drawn up near some big
windows that overlooked the meadows at the back of the house, and the
lovely Purple Hills beyond. Mr. Denville and the old farmer were talking
about crops, and Mrs. Denville and Mrs. Gleason and Mary were chatting
about fruit and vegetables.

There were some very nice things to eat on the table. I sprang up on a
chair for a minute to look, for I do love to see any one enjoying good
food. They had hot coffee, and a glass pitcher of cream, and cocoa, and
strawberry preserves, and plum preserves, and white cake with raisins in
it, and layer cake with jam in it, and boiled eggs, and cold ham, and
hot rolls, and cheese and crullers.

“That's a good enough supper for any one,” remarked Joker proudly, and I
agreed with him.

When we got up-stairs we all went under Mary's bed, even Slyboots and
Aunt Tabby joined us.

Then while I licked Serena and rubbed her down, Joker talked about the
fight. For half an hour it was interesting, then it got to be
monotonous. It hadn't been much of a fight, and Serena was more
frightened than hurt, but Joker went over and over the particulars. How
he had been under the Siberian crab-apple tree looking down the road,
how he saw Blizzard slinking by but suspected nothing, how he had heard
a yell in a voice that was unfamiliar—which voice was Serena's, and so
on.

Serena went to sleep at last, but Slyboots sat like a statue staring at
him and saying nothing.

Aunt Tabby did not speak either, but she was quietly excited. However,
she seemed to realize that we were being bored to death, and she coaxed
Joker out in the hall where we heard him going over the same old thing.

“Slyboots,” I said suddenly, “are you hurt?”

“A little mite,” she said calmly.

I went closer. “Why, the tip of your ear is bitten off,” I said.

“It was Thummie the barn cat that did that,” she remarked coolly.

“How did it happen?”

“I went in looking for mice, and he hopped at me.”

“Have you any other injuries?”

“One of my legs is ripped.”

“Lie right down,” I said, “and I will attend to you. You can't reach
your ear.”

I smoothed the fur on her head, I cleaned her nicely all over as long as
she would let me. At last she got up, and uttered a grave, “Thank you.”
Then she said quietly: “Some of these country cats be spiteful. We
Boston cats must hang together,” and with these words she crept away.

Serena soon came out from under the bed, and got on top of it, and I lay
down beside her. I slept until little Mary came to bed, and then it was
so still that I could not sleep. Beacon Hill is a quiet place, one does
not hear the cars up there, but still there is something doing and
breathing at night. Here, in lovely Maine, there is absolutely nothing.
The quiet seems to press upon you. I didn't sleep night before last
which was the first night we were here, and I did not sleep last night.
To-night I think I shall have a good rest. All day yesterday we—that is,
dogs and cats—lay about and rested. Animals always do that after a
journey, or after any exertion, unless they are prevented.

I often watch Mona and Dolly when they come from a long tramp with Mr.
Denville. They go in their kennels and sleep, but he begins to read or
write, or do something that taxes his brain, and kitten as I may be, I
am beginning to think that body fatigue isn't equal to head fatigue. Mr.
Denville would do better to lie down and rest as the dogs do, after he
has had a long tramp.

Well, I have had a good quiet think to-night, even if I don't sleep.
To-morrow I want to go over the farm. Serena will be herself then. Her
slight scratches have closed already. I wonder what to-morrow will bring
forth; I do hope we shall have no more fights.



                              CHAPTER XII
                          MY HEADSTRONG SISTER


I am very much disturbed about something to-night. However, what is the
use of worrying? What will be, will be, and if you can't prevent a
thing, don't vex your brains over it, but keep cool and calm, and
reserve your strength to mend the mischief after it's done.

My dear sister is, I fancy, running her head into trouble. Slyboots and
I both fear it, but we can't stop her. She has announced her intention
of spending to-morrow night hunting in company with—well, I can hardly
believe it possible—Blizzard and his wife Rosy.

It happened this way. Right after breakfast—and I am surprised to find
out how early the farmer's family gets up—Joker bounded up-stairs, and
said that Serena and I and Slyboots had callers.

We were all three sleeping on an old feather bed in a big hall closet.
Of course we got up and stretched ourselves, and went down the front
staircase.

The Denvilles were all asleep, but in the kitchen the farmer's wife was
frying eggs and making corncake for her husband and the young man Denno.

We cats went out on the veranda. No callers there. “They are in the
orchard,” exclaimed Joker, and he plunged on excitedly.

They were not in the young orchard where the fight had taken place, but
in the old one, sitting demurely under the shade of some currant bushes.

I could hardly believe my eyes, when I saw who our callers were—that
impudent Blizzard and his wife.

I drew back, and so did Serena and Slyboots, but Joker plowed on. We
looked at each other. There is a perfect understanding between us three;
that is, when Serena is not provoking. That is one good thing that came
out of Serena's fight. It has drawn Slyboots closer to us.

Well, we paused, and finally Joker paused, and looked expectantly at
Blizzard. Then the sly, old, gray cat came forward, and bowing very low,
addressed himself to Serena.

“Madam,” he said, with what I thought a very exaggerated manner, “I have
come to offer you an apology for yesterday. I did not dream, I assure
you, that it was one of your exalted lineage that I was attacking.”

Serena still looked doubtful.

Blizzard bowed again, yet more humbly. “Am I mistaken in supposing,” he
continued meekly, “that you are of pure Angora blood, and that your
forebears probably came from the celebrated cat-farm not very far from
us in this state?”

Serena glanced at me. “My father is a thoroughbred Angora,” she said,
“and he did come from Maine.”

“Then it's just as I supposed,” continued Blizzard. “Kneel down, Rosy,”
and the old hypocrite, for such I fear he is, made his wife kneel at
Serena's feet.

“Honor youth, and beauty, and high lineage, madam,” he continued firmly,
“and if you cannot look like this young cat, at least act like her.”

This was the time for Serena to confess that she was only half Angora,
that her mother was a back-yard cat. However, she did not do it, and I
did not feel called upon to put her to shame.

Blizzard went on blarneying her. He paid no attention to Slyboots and
me, and we gazed irritably at each other.

“Madam,” he said flatteringly, “the country is infested with tramp
cats.”

“It isn't,” whispered Slyboots in my ear, “Aunt Tabby told me it isn't.”

Blizzard went on. “And being one of the guardians of the peace about
here, whenever I see a strange cat, I fly at it.”

This was too much for Serena, and she said, “But are you not sometimes
in danger of mauling the wrong cat? All cats are not bad.”

“Maul first, and ask questions afterward,” said Blizzard, “that's my
motto. Strangers ought to stay at home.”

“But you would put a stop to travel, and improvement of the mind,”
replied Serena sweetly.

“Madam,” and he bowed low, “if all strangers were like you, but they are
not—and anyway, my own neighborhood is good enough for me. I don't want
to travel.”

“I dislike to criticise your words,” remarked Serena politely, “but it
seems to me they are just a little narrow-minded. We learn much by our
contact with our fellow cats in foreign places.”

Blizzard smiled sweetly, and showed a set of very bad teeth. “In time, I
dare say you will bring me over to your opinion. At present, I should
like to have a little further conversation with you. Will you walk with
me and Rosy?”

All this time, he had never noticed Slyboots and me, beyond throwing us
one shrewd glance. He saw that we did not approve of him, and he would
not be bothered with us. His present plan was to get Serena out of our
reach, so he could fool her to his heart's content.

“Don't go with them, Serena,” and I stepped up, and whispered in her
ear.

She tossed her head, then sauntered along with Blizzard and Rosy.

Joker followed them, grinning from ear to ear, and Slyboots and I
returned slowly to the house.

The farmer's wife gave us a good breakfast, then we lay out on the
veranda in the sun. When an hour had passed, after the Denvilles had had
their breakfast, Serena and Joker reappeared. Serena was laughing and
talking excitedly, and shaking her head, and seemed to be in high good
humor with herself and all the cat world.

“Where have you been?” I inquired anxiously, as she passed me.

“Oh, having a walk on the meadow with those two delightful cats. I am
going out again with them to-morrow evening,” and she looked mysterious.

“Serena!” I exclaimed. Then after a while, I asked her why she was going
with those strangers.

For a long time, she would not tell me. She said it was a secret.

“Have you promised not to tell?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said she had.

“Then don't,” I replied, but then she wanted to, and at last whispered
that she was going on a mole-hunt.

I was not much enlightened. However, I said nothing more at the time. I
just worried in secret. Serena and Joker disappeared in the house in
search of something to eat, and I coiled myself up again on the veranda,
for by this time the sun was further up in the sky, and the air felt
quite warm.

After a time, Mary and her mother came out. They both had on big sun
hats, and they stood for a few minutes looking silently at the lovely
view out through the maples. The Green Hills were soft and hazy in the
distance, and near at hand were the fine shade trees, and the
shock-headed pink and white apple-trees.

“Glorious,” murmured Mrs. Denville, “too glorious to linger indoors.
Come, Mary, let us go over the farm.”

My little mistress held out a hand to me, and being eager to follow, I
sprang up and circled round her.

Stepping off the veranda to a gravel walk, they went round by the well
to the carriage-house.

There was a huge door in front of it quite closed, and I wondered how
Mrs. Denville would open it. She just laid a hand on it, and it slid
back quite easily. “These doors are more convenient than the
old-fashioned ones,” she said to Mary.

I peeped in. This was very interesting. There were different kinds of
wagons, and carriages, and queer sorts of machines that Mrs. Denville
told Mary were for planting seed, and cutting, and raking hay. A wide
stairway led to a loft above, and I went tripping up-stairs after Mrs.
Denville and Mary. Here were sleighs covered with white cloths, a long
carpenter's bench with pots of paint, and bottles of different kinds,
several stoves and a lot of pipe, some old chairs and tables—it seemed
to be a kind of lumber room.

“How did Farmer Gleason get these sleighs up here?” asked Mary with
wide-open eyes.

“Sleighs can be taken apart,” said her mother, “and even if they
couldn't be, two strong, country men would think nothing of dragging a
thing like a sleigh up that wide flight of steps. Now let us go down and
visit the next building.”

This one was not as large as the carriage-house, and Mrs. Denville and
Mary did not go in, but contented themselves with looking in the
doorway. It was piled high with wood, and Mrs. Denville asked her little
daughter if she knew why there was so much wood there.

“No,” said Mary, “I do not.”

“It is a frugal way that farming people have,” replied her mother. “Mr.
Gleason was telling us about it last evening. The farmers cut their wood
sometimes a year in advance, and pile it up under cover to dry
thoroughly. It lasts longer, and is easier to burn than green wood. Now
let us go on to the big barn.”

We three sauntered along in the warm sunlight. Mary had her arm tucked
through her mother's. The child was so happy that she did not know what
to do. It seemed as if half the sunshine had caught in her face and
stayed there.

“Oh! oh!” she murmured, when we reached the barn and went in through a
little door that was set in a big door. “Oh! smell the hay, mamma.”

I stared about me. Away up in the air was the top of the big building.
There was hay up there—not very much of it, but enough to make a good
smell.

“This is the hay that they cut from the meadow,” said Mary. “Oh! I hope
they will bring in some more to-day.”

Mrs. Denville smiled at her. “Mary dear, I am not much of a farmer, but
I know more than you do. That is last year's hay. The men have not begun
to cut this year's grass. When they do, this big barn will be crammed
with it, from the floor up to those little windows in the peak.”

“Then I shall see them,” remarked Mary in an ecstasy. “I shall be able
to watch the men cutting the grass and putting it in the wagons, and
perhaps I can ride on top. Oh! say I can, mamma.”

“Certainly, dear, if your father consents. Now let us see what is in
this room,” and Mrs. Denville opened a door.

I drew back, for as she opened the door, the cat Thummie sprang out.
However, I had no cause for fright, for Thummie went up a ladder like a
flash, and disappeared among the hay.

“This is the granary,” said Mrs. Denville, “how neat it is,” and she
glanced approvingly about her.

The floor was swept and clean, and there were rows of things like big
boxes against the wall.

“These are bins,” explained Mrs. Denville to Mary. “After the grain is
thrashed it is put in here. See, this is some kind of coarse flour—I
don't know the name,” and as she lifted the cover of the big box she
looked about her as if seeking information.

“That is feeding flour, madam,” said the hired man Denno, appearing just
in the nick of time.

“And this is middlings,” he went on, stepping forward, and putting down
a pail of water that he held in his hand.

He lifted another lid and then another. “This is bran,” he said, “and I
am just going to mix some for the pigs.”

He put his hand in a third box, took a tin dipper, and lifting it out
full of bran, mixed it in the water with a stick.

“Oh! may we see the pigs?” cried Mary eagerly. “Come, mamma dear.”

Mrs. Denville was going round the grain room, lifting more lids and
murmuring to herself, “Cracked corn, buckwheat, oats, rye, wheat.”

At Mary's request, she left the room, and followed Denno down a rather
steep stairway.

“This is what we call the barn cellar down here, little miss,” said the
young man over his shoulder to Mary who was next him.

“Why, it is lovely and light,” exclaimed my little mistress. “I should
think a barn cellar would be dark.”

“Look at the windows,” said her mother, “see the sun streaming in.”

“It's as warm as toast here in winter, ma'am,” said the young man.
“Water never freezes here.”

At this moment such a din arose that we could scarcely hear him. Mary in
a great fright hid her face in her mother's arms, and I paused half-way
down the steps to look about me.



                              CHAPTER XIII
                        PIGS, COWS AND CHICKENS


There were several pig-pens. As the young man explained to us later, it
does not do to put pigs of different sizes together. The big ones impose
on the little ones, and push them away from the feeding-troughs, so all
Farmer Gleason's pigs were in assorted sizes.

They were the rudest pigs I ever saw, but of course I have not seen many
live ones. I have seen plenty of dead ones in Boston. Their manners had
plenty of repose, but these creatures were yelling, jumping, pushing,
snorting and charging each other as if they were crazy. Each pen wanted
to be fed first.

Mary soon grew calm, then she began to laugh and scream, for the pigs
excited her. She and her mother stood on one side, while Denno went up-
and down-stairs with more feed. He got some milk from a hogshead—and the
milk almost set them wild. They pushed and slobbered till each pig's
head was covered with white, and even the man had to laugh, though he
said he saw their greedy goings-on twice every day of his life.

The man had to do his work, and could not stay in the barn cellar, so
Mrs. Denville and Mary and I followed him up-stairs.

Little Mary was wiping her eyes, and I heard her promising herself many
visits to the pigs in future.

When we got to the barn floor, Denno ran up the ladder where Thummie had
gone, and began to throw down hay.

Mrs. Denville stepped along the floor, and called to Mary, “Come here,
dear, and see the horses.”

There were some fine box stalls there on the south side of the barn.
Glory and Dungeon came forward, and put their heads out, expecting to
receive a dainty of some kind.

“We have nothing now,” said Mrs. Denville. “The next time we come, we
will bring you some bread or lumps of sugar—what fine big creatures you
are! Mary, here is a pony,” and she passed to the next stall.

“That is the children's pony,” said Denno who at this moment came down
from the ladder. “They call him Ponto.”

The pony was very affectionate and gentle, and Mary could hardly bear to
leave him. He was a dapper little fellow with a fine arched neck, and
silky mane, and beautiful eyes.

“Come, I want to see the cows,” said Mrs. Denville. “I wish to see the
source of your excellent milk supply.”

The cow stalls ran all along the other side of the barn. Denno took us
in, for Mrs. Denville was rather nervous.

“They wouldn't hurt you, ma'am,” he said; “still, if you're frightened,
don't go too close.”

“This is Miss Molly,” he said, pointing to a fine red cow who had a
chain round her neck, and was having a good feed of something from a
box. “She is no particular breed, but a grand milker. This is a Jersey,”
and he passed to the next stall.

“Oh, what eyes, mamma,” murmured Mary, “what eyes.”

The cow had eyes like big brown ponds. They were beautiful country eyes,
and she turned them on us in a calm and deliberate way.

We were walking behind the cows, but this one seemed so gentle that Mrs.
Denville stepped forward, and glanced in her manger. “What is she
licking in there?”

“Rock salt, ma'am,” said Denno. “They all have a big lump, and they set
great store by it.”

There were six or seven more cows, all sleek, fat and clean.

“Do you groom them the way you do the horses?” asked Mrs. Denville.

“Yes, ma'am, but not so much. We would if we had time, but this is the
busy season, and we're just jumping.”

Mary was giving one of her happy little shrieks. “Oh! mamma, see what I
have found. I almost stepped on it.”

I had seen it before she did. It was a pretty little red calf tied near
one of the cows. Oh! how anxious that cow was about it.

“Is it her baby?” asked Mary.

Denno told her that it was.

“Then why don't you put it in with her?” asked my little mistress.

“It wouldn't do, little miss. It would be taking milk all the time. We
always keep the calves tied all day, except a little while night and
morning when they can get all the milk they like from their mother. But
I guess I'll begin pretty soon to let this calf out to pasture.”

“Are these cows going out to-day?” inquired Mrs. Denville.

“Oh, yes, ma'am. I'm late getting them milked. A neighbor's son hurt his
foot, and I had to go help attend to it. Usually I milk by daylight, and
get the cows out of the stable. So-so, bossy,” he went on. Going in
beside the cow he called Miss Molly, he unfastened her chain, and
allowed her to leave her stall.

She immediately went to a kind of trough at one side of the stable,
where there was running water. What a good long drink she had. Then she
leisurely made her way toward a door in the north side of the barn,
stood for a few seconds in the doorway, as if, Mrs. Denville said, she
were admiring the magnificent view of the Purple Hills in the distance.

Denno was unloosing the other cows, and as Miss Molly heard them coming
behind her, she stepped down a sloping walk, and entered a large green
field that stretched away beyond the river.

“I suppose she won't come back till dark,” said Mrs. Denville.

“No, ma'am,” replied Denno, “but she'll be here then, waiting to get in
that door, and all the other cows with her.”

“Don't they ever run away like naughty children?” asked Mary.

“No,” replied the man, “they don't run away, but sometimes if we are
careless about our fences, they get into the neighbor's pastures.
Usually though, they come right home. You see they love their stable.
Mr. Gleason keeps them clean and comfortable, and gives them extra feed,
and cows know when they are well off as well as human beings. They like
to sleep in their own beds. Some of the neighbors have to run all over
their pastures hunting cows at night but we never do.”

“Mamma, what are you laughing at?” inquired Mary taking her hand.

Mrs. Denville's face was very much amused. “I was just thinking, Mary,”
she said, “how many points of similarity there are between human beings,
and the lower order of animals. These cows are just like us in one
respect. They like a quiet, happy home. You remember what an unhappy
household there is next us in Boston. The mother delicate and fretful,
the servants unruly, the master of the house a tyrant. Their sons hate
to come home. I have seen them entering the front door late in the
evening with a regretful air, as if they were saying, “I wish I did not
have to spend the night here—””

“And papa just hurries home,” concluded Mary, as her mother paused with
a slight frown, as if to say, “I should not be talking about my
neighbors.”

“How large is the pasture?” asked Mrs. Denville hurriedly of the young
man, and as she spoke, she walked to the open door.

“It goes across the river, and away back of that wood, ma'am. You can't
see the cows when they are at the further end of it.”

“I should like to walk back there,” said Mrs. Denville. “Would it be too
far for you, Mary?”

“Oh, no, mamma,” said my little mistress, but just as we were about to
step out through the doorway, Denno said, “Don't you want to look at the
oxen, ma'am?”

“Yes, indeed,” replied Mrs. Denville, and she went back into the stable.

Denno proudly opened a half-door that led into a very large stall. There
were two enormous creatures in there, and I was quite frightened of
them.

“Are they cows?” asked Mary in an awed voice.

“No, oxen,” replied her mother. “They do the work of horses. Are you
going to let them out, Denno?”

“Yes, ma'am. They go to pasture days that we are not working them.”

Mrs. Denville and Mary drew up very close in one of the vacant cow
stalls, and Denno let out the big animals.

They were beauties, dark red with fine large eyes and big horns. They
gave us a calm, steady look as they passed by, then they too went on out
into the sunshine.

As soon as they disappeared, Denno seized a big broom and began to sweep
and tidy the stable, so that the cows would find it in order when they
came home at night.

Mrs. Denville and Mary went out-of-doors, and I, of course, followed
them.

Beyond the big barn was what Mr. Gleason called his young orchard.
Young, I suppose, because the trees were small, and just on the edge of
this orchard stood a red building having many windows.

“It looks like a hen-house,” said Mrs. Denville, “let us go and see.”

We walked toward it, found ourselves confronted by a wooden fence that
bounded the pasture. I easily went under it, and after a little
searching, Mrs. Denville found a gate. She and Mary went through, then
we approached the little building and looked in.

The door was wide open. Inside, there were plastered walls and ceiling
and a number of perches. It was as clean as wax, and if it had not been
for the perches, if we had seen tables and chairs, I should have said it
was some little house for human beings. I am sure many poor people in
cities have not a home as snug as Farmer Gleason's hens have.

The windows were open, and the whole place was as quiet as—well, as
quiet as the rest of the things in the country. The floor was covered
with grass sods, and Mrs. Denville stepping softly in asked, “Is there
any one at home?”

“Ka, ka, ka,” said a demure voice.

“Oh! the nest boxes,” remarked Mrs. Denville in a voice equally demure,
and she approached the wall where there were fastened up some rows of
things that I did not understand.

It seems they were nest boxes. I crept closely after Mrs. Denville,
then, as I could not see, I sprang on the rack of perches.

Oh! how cunning! There in that nice roomy nest, on a clean straw bed,
sat a fat gray hen with a red comb and the quaintest air in the world.

“She is likely sitting on eggs,” said Mrs. Denville, “hens are shy at
such times. We must not frighten her.”

“Oh, mamma,” exclaimed Mary, “I must stroke her,” and she reached out
one cautious finger.

“Be careful,” said her mother, but her caution was not needed. The hen
was evidently a great pet, for she only pecked kindly at Mary's finger,
and said again gently, “Ka! Ka! Ka!”

“I wonder how many eggs she has,” continued Mrs. Denville, and she
gently pushed the hen on one side.

The gray biddy, far from resenting this familiarity, agreeably stepped
off the nest, said very loudly a number of times, “Ka! Ka! Ka!” and went
up to a dish of water where she took a great many drinks.

Little Mary was squealing with delight. There was one new-laid egg in
the nest beside a china nest egg.

“May I have it? May I have it?” she cried, and Mrs. Denville said,
“Certainly, if you will explain to Mrs. Gleason how you got it.”

“Why, here are more nest eggs,” said Mrs. Denville, and she examined the
other boxes, “and quite a number of eggs. We must get a basket, and come
up here for the fresh eggs every day. It will amuse you, Mary, and save
Mrs. Gleason trouble.”

The gray hen after drinking all she wished, had taken to cackling.

“Poor biddy, biddy,” said Mrs. Denville in a clear voice, “Mary and I
will bring you up some food.”

The moment she made that promise, she had more claimants on her favor. I
never saw anything more funny than the way in which more hens arrived
after she raised her voice. They seemed actually to spring out of the
earth, and little Mary squealed with delight.

First of all, a big, white rooster came running round the corner of the
hen-house, his legs just sticking out behind him. He drew up quickly
when he saw Mrs. Denville, as if to say, “Why, here is a stranger, what
are you calling us for?” Then, as if persuaded that she had something
for him, he glanced over his shoulder, and called to the hens, “Kut,
kut, ka, da dee. Come on, girls, there is nothing to be afraid of.”

The girls came cackling, running, complaining, and pushing for front
places.

Mary was very much disappointed to think that she had nothing for them.
Mrs. Denville, however, found a little mixed grain covered up in a box
and this she gave to Mary.

Oh! how tame those hens were. They crowded round my little mistress, and
ate from her hand, and I nearly collapsed with laughter as I listened to
their talk. Mary and her mother could not understand them, but I did.

“Kut, kut, girls,” said the rooster, “these strangers have good faces.
Must be some relation to the Gleasons. Don't be frightened, girls. Stuff
yourselves all you can. We don't get much grain these days since we are
allowed to run in the orchard. A little corn sits well on the angleworms
in the crop. Hurry up, girls, the sun is getting high, there are lots of
eggs to be laid.”

Then the hens would answer him. “Ka, ka, the Leghorn is pushing me. I
can't get at the little girl's hand. It is a small hand anyway. That
Plymouth Rock just pecked me—I've got a horse mane oat in my throat—it's
stuck fast, let me to the water dish. I don't like these strangers much.
I wish the children would come home. Some one pulled my tail—I say, it's
mean to push.”

Then the rooster would settle their differences, stepping very high and
going gravely from one to another. I don't know much about hens. I never
had any chance to study them in Boston, but I easily saw that this
rooster was a good fowl. He was vain, that was his one fault. Mrs.
Denville told Mary that he was a white Wyandotte, and a very handsome
creature.

He understood her, and after that he was so proud that he could not eat.
He just strutted. “Do they see my legs, girls?” he chuckled in his
throat to the hens, “do they see my nice fine legs, and the big spurs
just like a gamecock's? Oh, I hope they will notice my legs. It is all
very well to praise my body, but I am very proud of these nice clean
feet. Not a scale on them. Listen, girls, they're giving me more praise.
Oh! isn't it lovely. I am so happy I can't eat. I wish my comb hadn't
got frost-bitten last winter. It has marred its beauty just a little
bit. Oh, girls, this is a proud day for your lord and master, when
ladies from Boston give him such delicious taffy.”

I had to laugh myself to hear him. Mary was perfectly convulsed, though
she did not understand him as I did, and had to guess at his meaning.

He had a good business head too, for the instant that the grain was
gone, he made his hens follow him to the orchard.

“Not the meadow, girls,” he said sharply, as some of them seemed
inclined to rebel and go down by the river. “Didn't I tell you you must
give the grubs a rest there for a while? Follow me to the orchard,” and
he strutted along, and pecked, and clucked, and looked after them till
they all went meekly after him. Then we saw him in the distance,
scratching for worms, calling his girls and giving them everything he
found. I did not see him eat once while we were watching.

Oh! what a good walk we had, after the hens left us. Mrs. Denville with
Mary hanging on her arm, sauntered down the gentle hillside to the
meadow. There we came to the river, and Mary took time to strip off her
shoes and stockings, and paddle in it.

There were willows and alders growing all along the edge of it. Mrs.
Denville said the farmer had planted them there to keep the watercourse
from changing, then there were small things, peppermint, spearmint, and
goldenrod, which Mrs. Denville said would blossom toward autumn, and
wild hop vines, and little Mary brushing in among them, bruised the
leaves which filled the air with perfume.

After she had got tired of paddling in the water, she put on her shoes
and stockings, and we went over a foot-bridge, and across another
meadow, then up through an orchard of pear trees and across a field of
winter rye, and then—then into the most beautiful wood I have ever seen.

It was not like the parks about Boston, lovely as they are. They have a
calm, cultivated air. This wood in Farmer Gleason's land is wild. Things
grow any way they like. First are the tall pine trees. I felt myself
such a very little cat as I stared up at their long, straight trunks,
and their green heads away up, up against the blue sky. What happy trees
to be so very far up in the air! It must be the next best thing to
flying.

Under the pines, were shorter trees, some with big leaves—hardwood
trees, but mostly spruces and firs, shorter and more stubby growths.
They were all lovely, anyway, then under them, spread huckleberry and
blueberry bushes. What crops we shall have later, for we saw thousands
and millions of little berries forming.

In one place, we saw a cranberry bog. I stepped on it, and found it very
soft for my feet, softer than the softest carpet in the Denvilles' house
in Boston. The earth seemed to be spongy underneath, then there was
moss, and then the pretty trailing vines of cranberry.

I am very fond of turkey with a suspicion of cranberry sauce. I hope the
farmer's wife will give us some.

Well, we stayed in that wood till dinner time, for here dinner is at
twelve. Mrs. Denville and Mary took off their hats, and sat down with
their backs against the same tree trunk, and they ate the strong, sweet
wintergreen leaves and talked about the beauties of nature, and then
they went to sleep, and only woke when a dismal sound came faintly to
us.

Mrs. Denville sprang up. She said she thought she was in a steamer, and
the foghorn was blowing. Then she remembered that country people blew a
horn for meals, so she took her little daughter by the hand, and they
both walked slowly back to the house.

We had a very odd dinner. “Pork and beans,” Mrs. Gleason called it. It
tasted very nice here, but I have a feeling that I wouldn't like it in
the city. The farmer says it is very “hearty,” and he has a good deal of
it as the haying season approaches.

Well, I must go to sleep. I am tired of reviewing the events of this
day, pleasant as they have mostly been. If it weren't for Serena, I
should not have a worry to-night.



                              CHAPTER XIV
                       MY SISTER GIVES A LECTURE


The mole-hunt is over, and Serena is an enlightened cat. She says she
wants to go back to the city. I wish I could get her there, for these
country cats have covered her with confusion and mortification.

That old Blizzard is a reprobate. He was the originator of the whole
thing. Slyboots is an immensely clever cat. She sees through him—she
says he has been ruler and dictator in this country district for years.
He heard that a bevy of Boston cats was coming. Fearing lest we should
snatch his empire from him, he determined to deal us a crushing blow at
first.

Seizing upon Serena as the most gullible one of the party, he has made a
fool of her. Now all the country cats are laughing at us, and our
influence is gone.

I knew yesterday that Serena was going mole-hunting with him and Rosy,
but I did not know that the mole-hunt was to be preceded by a lecture
till this morning, when Joker went round to every cat in the house, even
to old Grandma, and informed us with a grinning face, that as soon as it
got dark this evening, a lecture on “Felines” would be delivered out
behind the barn by the thoroughbred Angora, Serena of Boston.

His grin, when he pronounced the word “thoroughbred,” was so
significant, that I at once jumped to the conclusion that he had heard
Serena's remarks about herself on our day of arrival, and that he knew
she was not pure bred. If he kept the knowledge to himself, all would be
well. If he didn't, Serena's reputation for truthfulness was gone.

Well, I did not worry much about this, nor about the lecture. She could
speak well enough, if she chose, but I did continue to worry about the
mole-hunt.

The day passed somehow or other. Mary and her mother kept on exploring
the farm. I went over the house with them. It _is_ a queer house. The
lower part is all new and fresh, but the upper part has odd little rooms
and windows and dark closets, and funny wall-paper. A bat flew out of
one dark closet. These rooms are about eighty years old, Mr. Gleason
said. He took us over the house, and he laughed and chuckled when Mary
shivered and grew pale in the attic, and kept close to her mother.

“Why, there are no ghosts now, sissy,” he said, “and all these things
wouldn't hurt you,” and he waved his hand about at the old-fashioned
furniture and extraordinary clothes that fill the rooms in this old
part.

Mary said she did not like them, and she was glad when we came down from
the attic and Mr. Gleason locked the door behind us.

Through the day a great many men drove up under the trees and up by the
carriage-house, or out by the barn to see Mr. Gleason. I heard some of
their talk. They were selling horses and cows and all kinds of machines,
and they wanted to borrow money or have a talk—no one seemed in a hurry,
and Mr. Gleason stood about and talked while they were there, but when
they left the work went right on. He had another man working with Denno,
and they were very busy, hoeing, and pulling up weeds from the long rows
of potatoes and turnips and carrots and all kinds of vegetables in the
big field on the south side of the barn.

The veranda was a very pleasant place to lie. No one hurt us cats, and
we could see all that was going on. However, Slyboots found a better
place, and at dinner time she introduced me to it.

It was an upper veranda over the lower one. Here we could see just as
well when we lay on the chairs and looked through the railing, and we
were absolutely out of the way, for no one sat on this veranda.

Slyboots liked this, and here I sat all the afternoon with her, while
Mary and her mother went driving. Mr. Denville took them, and Mona, and
Dolly, and Barlo followed after the carriage. They took Mona somewhere
to have her hair cut, and when they came home I laughed so heartily at
her appearance that I rolled right over on the veranda.

Her magnificent coat was all gone, except a ruff round her neck, and a
little tuft on the end of her tail. It was too ludicrous to see her. She
seemed shorn of her glory, but, of course, she could not see how
ridiculous she looked, and she acted just the same as ever.

I ran down to see her just before supper, and had a long talk with her.
She was lying out under one of the trees on the lawn, and I crept up
beside her and purred all my troubles in her sympathetic ear.

“You can't do anything with Serena,” she said, “let her go on and learn
her lesson. I fancy, from what you tell me, that Blizzard, is going to
play her some trick. He won't hurt her, don't you be afraid. She is too
conceited. She wants taking down.”

“But she is my sister!” I said.

“Well, you stand ready to comfort her after her pride has had a fall.
Blizzard and Rosy don't like her, and I don't think they have any idea
of hurting anything but her self-conceit.”

“That is all very well,” I replied, “but I should like to know what they
are planning.”

Mona looked round her in a puzzled way. “I don't know what I can do to
help you, unless I could make some cat confess what is going on. There
is Joker. Just you step out of sight.”

I did as she told me, and then watched her as she slowly sauntered out
toward the road _via_ the orchard. She was sniffing at the ground as if
in search of bones that had been buried, and Joker coming deliberately
home from Blizzard's farm, had no suspicion that Mona had designs upon
him.

He knew perfectly well that Mona was used to cats, and had no idea of
hurting them, so I fancy he was a pretty surprised young fellow, when
Mona gave one bound, and laid her great paw on him.

She put her head right down beside him, and kept him crouching for a few
minutes. Then she let him go, and he went leaping toward the house while
Mona came toward me.

She was grinning almost as badly as Joker does, but there was more sense
in her face than there is in his silly one.

“I've found out everything,” she said, sinking on the ground, for she
was tired after her long run behind the carriage, “and you need not be
uneasy. The secret of the mole-hunt is a very simple one.”

“Can't you tell me, Mona?” I asked anxiously.

“No, Pussy. I promised Joker not to give him away. But you need not
worry. These country cats are only going to have a little fun with your
sister. They won't hurt her.”

My heart felt very much lighter, and I went in the house and up to the
veranda to tell Slyboots.

This was late in the afternoon. After supper Aunt Tabby came quietly
creeping out from the house, and asked me if I were going to the
lecture.

“Oh, yes,” I said uneasily.

“Perhaps you would like to go along with me,” she said. “I can tell you
who the strangers are.”

She was such a quiet, respectable cat that I gladly embraced her offer.
It was not yet nearly dark, but she said we had better go early, so we
could get a good seat, and see what fun might be going on.

I asked what she meant by “fun,” and she said that when there was any
kind of a public gathering, the young cats would often have wrestling
matches.

So Slyboots, Aunt Tabby, and I, crept quietly away from the house, and
trotted up behind the barn. Mona saw us going, and gave me an
intelligent look, but she did not offer to follow us.

I did not think the back of the barn a very good place for a gathering,
but Aunt Tabby pointed out to me the piles of old boards near by, where
the cats could take shelter in case of fright.

I wanted to get up on the top of a hogshead that was standing there, but
Aunt Tabby would not let me, for she said that place was reserved for
the lecturer. She guided me to a nice spot, where a plank had been laid
across some fence posts. We three sat on it near the hogshead, and there
was, of course, room for many more cats beside us.

Soon they came trooping along. My! what a number of cats. I soon got
confused among so many, and asked Aunt Tabby why the neighborhood was so
alive with cats.

“There is a great deal of grain raised in this valley,” she said, “and
the mice bother the farmers almost to death. In summer it is not quite
so bad, for the mice take to the fields, but in winter it is dreadful.
The barns are alive with them and sparrows, and we cats have to work
pretty hard, not to clear out the mice and sparrows altogether, for we
can't do that, but to keep them down.” Then she added, after a time:
“These are not all neighborhood cats. Some have come as far as three
miles. You see, we don't often have a chance to hear a lecturer from
Boston.”

“Who is that big white cat with a yellow patch over his eye?” I asked,
“that one who is coming along under the apple trees quite alone?”

“That is old Circumnavigation,” she replied, “a cat belonging to a
retired sea-captain who lives a quarter of a mile from here. He has been
round the world six times with his master and is a fine cat. Those
Tibbetses I don't like quite as much. See, they are walking behind him,
two twin Tibbet cats. Neighbors of his, but low-down creatures. We don't
associate with them.”

I looked at Aunt Tabby in surprise. I had never heard her speak so
sharply about any cat before.

It was getting dusk now, but, of course, we could all see quite well.
The arriving cats were arranging themselves in groups or rows on the
piles of boards. Soon one young Maltese cat sprang down to the square of
grass in front of the hogshead, and began to walk up and down, and lash
his tail.

“He is daring some one to come and wrestle with him,” Aunt Tabby
informed us.

His challenge was soon answered. Another young cat, this one gray in
color, sprang down from the boards to meet him.

They closed with each other, and began to wrestle and tumble about. It
was very funny to see them, until they grew angry, and began to pull
hair.

“That is nearly always the way,” sighed Aunt Tabby, “a wrestle ends in a
fight. There goes the Maltese cat's father. Why doesn't he keep out of
it?”

A very spiteful-looking old Maltese cat, seeing that his son was under
the gray, took it upon himself to interfere, whereupon another big cat
who was, Aunt Tabby said, an uncle to the gray, also took it upon
himself to interfere.

The two big old cats, and the two young ones, had a regular mix-up. They
were pommelling each other in grand style, when a shriek was heard from
the orchard.

The Maltese cat's mother was just arriving, and hearing that her son and
husband were fighting, she threw herself upon their opponents, and being
promptly seized by the old gray cat, got her ears boxed for interfering.

She was in a fearful temper. Standing a little aside, she just yelled to
all her friends and relatives for help. There was a dreadful scene after
that. Reserved seats, and other seats were vacated, and the conflict
became general. Only Aunt Tabby, Slyboots and I sat on the fence.

“Oh! this is awful!” I said. “Never in Boston, where cats are supposed
to have such powerful voices, have I heard such yelling and
caterwauling.”

“They had better look out,” remarked Aunt Tabby, “or the dogs will hear
them. They are too near the house for such a racket.”

“Will any one come out alive?” I gasped. “Oh! this is terrible! Surely
half will be crippled for life,” and I gazed in fascinated terror at the
big, whirling, moving, hairy bunch of cat figures leaping, vaulting,
yelling and spitting like furies.

Slyboots was grinning. “I see mother cats pitchin' into their own young
ones,” she said sarcastically. “I guess they don't know what they're
about.”

Aunt Tabby was not nearly as concerned as we were. “Cats round here
often have such bouts,” she said, “when they come together. You see our
lives are quiet, and we like a little excitement occasionally.”

“But don't they kill each other?” I mewed at the top of my voice, in
order to make myself heard above the tumult about me.

“When this scrimmage is over,” replied Aunt Tabby, “there won't be a
bunch of hair the size of your head on the ground. It's mostly fuss and
fury—It's a pity Blizzard isn't here. He would enjoy this. He gets round
on such occasions, and nips every cat he has a grudge against. It's a
great chance to pay off any old scores.”

“There's Blizzard,” she cried, “and your sister, and Joker, and Rosy.”

Sure enough, four cat figures were coming hurriedly round the corner of
the barn. I learned afterward that Blizzard and Joker had attempted a
dignified escort of Serena to the lecturer's hogshead, but on hearing
the tumult, and making the discovery that the dogs were after us, they
broke into a run.

Joker stood on his hind legs, and sprang in the air just yelling,
“Dogs!” and old Blizzard leaping in among the combatants, dealt a cuff
here, and a kick and bite there, and shrieked at the top of his voice,
“Dogs!—take to the cranberry bog.”

Aunt Tabby understood. “Come,” she said, and we were the first to leave
the scene of action.

Springing off the fence, she ran like the wind across the now dark
pasture, where little Mary had walked so gaily this morning.

It was, and still is, a lovely night, for I am only thinking over the
events of a few hours ago. The sky was a dark blue, the stars were
shining, the air was sweet and redolent with wild flower blossoms, the
grass was dewy beneath our feet.

Aunt Tabby went like a shot down to the meadow, over the foot-bridge,
and across the ploughed land to the big pine wood.

She knew her way to the cranberry swamp, and when we got there, she
quickly chose the best place for us to sit.

“That old stump in the middle will be your sister's place,” she said to
me.

We were on a little moss-covered hillock, close to it. Really, we did
have about the best place there.

Soon other cats arrived, mostly out of breath and excited. They seemed
to be enjoying themselves, and showed every emotion much more plainly
than city cats do.

Serena, Rosy, Blizzard and Joker were the last to arrive. They came
slowly and tried to make a dignified entrance. Passing in a grand way
between the groups and rows of cats almost covering the little bog,
Blizzard led the way to the big stump.

There was only room for two cats to sit comfortably on it, so he scowled
at Rosy and Joker, and made them go elsewhere. They promptly came and
crowded on the hillock beside us, and for the rest of the time we were
nearly squeezed to death. However, I did not think about my own
discomfort, in my intense interest to know how Serena would act and what
she would say.

I really wished that my parents could see her. She sat demurely on the
dark stump, while Blizzard made the opening speech. She had groomed
herself well, and she looked a very handsome and aristocratic figure of
a cat, compared with the plebeian-looking Blizzard.

He introduced her in a flourishing way, “Cats and kittens, we have this
evening a great and unexpected pleasure. Fresh from the haunts of
culture, reeking with the emanations of art, bubbling over with the
essence of criticism, a fair and gentle Boston cat has come to enlighten
our dark minds.”

“He's makin' game of her,” whispered Slyboots in my ear.

“Of course he is,” I returned, “but hush! listen.”

“For you know, cats and kittens,” continued Blizzard persuasively, “we
know nothing in the country, we are sunk in ignorance, our minds are low
and degraded, our manners are repulsive and vulgar.”

A groan rose from the assembly of cats, but he motioned with his paw and
it subsided.

“Now, friends, listen attentively to this ladylike cat, this
thoroughbred, pure-bred Angora—”

I groaned myself here, for the exquisite sarcasm of his tone told me
that Joker had informed him that Serena was only half-bred.

“Try to remember what she says,” pursued Blizzard, “try to live up to
it—in short, try to be more like city cats, less like vulgar,
countrified felines—and now, without further preamble, I will introduce
to you the learned lecturer and exponent of cat rights and cat culture,
Miss Serena Angora Maybelle Prince, of Boston.”

I gasped at the long name. My sister had probably improvised it for the
occasion.

She certainly was a very ladylike-looking cat as she gracefully bowed to
Blizzard, who was retiring with a grin to the back of the stump, and
then with equal grace bowed to her attentive audience.

“My friends,” she said in a very sweet voice, “I stand before you this
evening quite unprepared. I have only a few hastily thrown-together
notes on cat-life and cat-character, which I beg your indulgence to
receive,” and then she proceeded to give a most elaborate and carefully
thought-out address on cats.

[Illustration:

  “'MY FRIENDS, ... I STAND BEFORE YOU THIS EVENING QUITE UNPREPARED.'”
]

She began with the cats of ancient times—the wildcat inhabiting the
mountains—then she got to Egypt and told us of the sacred awe in which
the cat was held there, of the temples raised and sacrifices offered in
its honor. Finally she proceeded to Europe, and was on her way to
America, but long before she got there I became tired, although she was
my sister, and began to look about me.

Half the cats in her audience were asleep, many were yawning, and
wishing they could sleep. A few had stolen away, a few looked mad. I did
wish she would stop, but she had her head in the air, she saw only her
own glorified self, and sailed on and on, till I thought I should scream
from nervousness.

Blizzard sat behind her with the most inscrutable look on his face, and
yet I felt that the longer she lectured the better he was pleased.

Presently I got up. I could stand it no longer. Creeping cautiously
round the edge of the bog, I came up to the back of the stump where
Serena stood. Reaching up, I stuck my claws in the end of her tail and
gave it a slight pull.

She started irritably, and turned round.

“Oh, do stop,” I said; “can't you see that you are tiring everybody to
death?”

“I see nothing,” she said blissfully, and she shut her eyes.

Blizzard snickered beside me. Oh! how pleased he was—the malicious
fellow.

“Do wind up, Serena,” I went on desperately, “everybody is sneering at
you.”

She pulled her tail away from me, and went on with her lecture, but I
noticed that she did wind it up in about five minutes. I think her mind
misgave her after all.

As soon as she concluded, Blizzard got up and moved a vote of thanks.
Then as no one responded, everybody being too sleepy or too cross, he
cleared the stump at a bound, and running down among the cats, went from
one to another, whispering something in their ears.

An extraordinary animation took possession of them. They sprang up, ran
to Serena almost in a body, and began saying the most extravagant and
flattering things to her.

She immediately began to swim in another sea of glory, and darted
occasional furious glances at me, as if to say, “Why did you interrupt
me? See how my effort was appreciated.”

That old scamp Blizzard! He had her completely under his influence. I
was longing to get her to go home with me, but she would not do so. I
knew it was of no use to ask her, so I waited. After the congratulations
were over, the cats in a body began to leave the bog.

Blizzard, Rosy, Serena and Joker were at the head of the procession, and
there was a great laughing and mewing going on.

“Let us follow,” I said to Slyboots. Aunt Tabby had left us, and with a
curious shake of the head when I asked her what was going to happen, had
run back to the house. She said she had had excitement enough for one
evening.

“This is the beginning of the mole-hunt,” I whispered to Slyboots, and
she nodded her head.



                               CHAPTER XV
                             THE MOLE-HUNT


The cats ahead of us were leaving the pine wood, and were filing out
between the big trees to the ploughed land. When we reached it, they
went skipping and prancing over it to the meadow. Arriving there, the
cats all stopped, and we heard Blizzard's upraised voice.

“Friends—all who are invited to be present at the mole-hunt, follow me.
All others, go home.”

This last command was meant for Slyboots and me, but we didn't wish to
obey it.

“Come on,” whispered Slyboots in my ear, “we'll fool him.”

I ran after her. We two cats were the only ones to leave, and as we
rushed along over the cool, dewy grass, Slyboots said to me, “Let's hide
down here. They're coming this way.”

I did not think it was quite an honest thing to do, however, I followed
her. We pretended to go over the foot-bridge, but instead of that we
turned aside, and went in among the alders. Here we found a great clump
of ferns, and nestling down among them listened.

I could not help thinking what a lovely night it was, as I lay there.
The air seemed so soft against our bodies, and the freshness and the
smell of it were so delightful to breathe. The air just felt as if no
cats had ever breathed it before. In Boston, one often has a feeling
that the air entering one's lungs has been breathed over and over again,
till it is quite tired out, and has no life left in it.

It was not a very dark night, and having cats' eyes, we could see
plainly the crowd that we had left behind us. Soon they came toward us,
just as Slyboots had prophesied. We could hear Joker's loud, silly
voice, and Blizzard's crafty one, with an occasional remark in Serena's
clear, high-pitched one.

Slyboots and I were just crazy to fathom the mystery of the mole-hunt,
so we listened most attentively.

“We don't usually have such a gathering for a mole-hunt,” Blizzard was
saying, “but it was so kind and condescending in you to afford us the
pleasure of hearing a lecture from you, that every cat in the
neighborhood and beyond it wished to honor you.”

As Slyboots said, the army of cats was coming toward us, and every word
fell distinctly on our ears in the clear night air.

“Let me recapitulate,” Serena remarked: “This mole-hunt is to be ushered
in by a grand _battue_, which, of course, you understand is the act of
beating woods and bushes for game.”

“Exactly,” we heard Blizzard exclaim in a kind of ecstasy, “how you
understand things, Miss Serena! How you dive into the heart of an
affair,” and I could just imagine him turning round with a rapt grin to
the cats behind him.

Slyboots, too, was disgusted, and grunted as Serena went on.

“I, as a guest you are delighted to honor, am placed by you at the
entrance to a mole-hill. You retire with the other cats, and surrounding
the game, drive it toward me. I catch it as it is about to enter its
domicile,” and here Serena paused, and I could fancy her shudder, for
she does not like catching things.

“Yes, yes,” vociferated Blizzard, “true, true—I wish these country cats
to have an exhibition of your physical ability. They already know your
mental equipment—they have had a sample of your powers of mind. Now I
wish them to benefit by that grace of movement, that agility without
awkwardness, which to such a high degree, distinguishes the city cat
from the country cat.”

There was quite a round of applause and cat-yells at this, and I could
imagine Serena's scruples giving away.

“I have never cared for catching mice,” she said in an easy voice, “but
you say a mole-hunt is quite different.”

“Oh, yes,” responded Blizzard, “a mole is an exquisite little animal,
far softer, far prettier than a mouse; it has a shorter tail, a pointed
nose, and cunning pink claws. Its eyes are hardly to be seen. I assure
you, you will not mind clasping its little body in your claws.”

“And when do we come to the mole-hills?” inquired Serena.

“Right here,” responded Blizzard, and the old rascal stopped at a few
paces from us. “Get to work, cats and kittens, find the mole-hills,
choose the best, then we will have the hunt.”

The cats broke ranks and scattered hither and thither. It was a regular
frolic for them, and I don't think any of them did much work, but
Blizzard and Rosy. Joker just stood and grinned at Serena. If I had been
in her place that idiotic, tell-tale face of his would have warned me,
but there was a mist before the eyes of my poor, deluded sister. She saw
only what she wanted to see.

In a few minutes Blizzard and Rosy had fixed upon a place, and the
mischievous old cat raised his voice, “Cats and kittens!”

Immediately all the cats stopped their nonsense, and gathered round him.

“I have found three mole-hills, quite near each other,” he said. “Now,
Miss Serena, come near. Stand with your eyes fixed on these three small
holes in the ground. The moles being night workers, are off for food. We
will form a ring, surround them, and drive them toward home. Be all
ready to spring as they arrive. Lay the dead in a little pile, then when
we think all the moles have been driven from the surrounding fields, we
will come back, and have a celebration over your victory. Now cats—away,
follow me,” and the old fellow bounded off, as nimbly as a kitten.

Slyboots began to chuckle in a slow, enjoyable way. “I see their little
game,” she said. “I track 'em.”

“What is it?” I whispered eagerly. “I am all in the dark.”

She kept on chuckling, till the last shadowy cat form was out of sight.
Then speaking very low, so that Serena would not hear her, for she was
sitting quite near us on a little mound in the meadow, she murmured,
“This is a put-up job. There ain't no moles near. They're foolin'
Serena. She'll sit there a month afore a mole comes.”

“Slyboots,” I gasped, “it is all a trick.”

“Jest so. Blizzard and all them cats has gone home laughin' like to kill
themselves at the way they're foolin' your sister.”

“I'll go tell her,” I exclaimed, indignantly starting up.

“Hush—she'll ketch on,” and Slyboots laid a detaining paw on my
shoulder. “There's no use in tellin' her now. She'd scoff at ye. Wait a
bit, till she gets tired.”

I trembled with anger. Oh, how I wanted to bite Blizzard. Poor Serena!
what a blow to her pride! The whole aim and object of the gathering this
evening, had been to make a simpleton of her. My dear sister!

After a long time I said to Slyboots, “I should think if Blizzard is so
desirous of humbling her, that he would want to wait and see her
discomfiture when she finds that she has been deceived.”

“He may do that,” said Slyboots. “I should not wonder if he is in hiding
somewhere watching, or else he may slip back.”

“How I would like to find him,” I said revengefully, “and beat him.”

“You'd better let him alone,” remarked Slyboots warningly. “He'd dress
you down in five minutes. Then don't forgit that your sister goes out of
her way to show off.”

“I know she has brought it on herself,” I groaned. “Why did she not stay
in the city, where affectation is more pardonable?”

Slyboots laughed softly. “You can put on airs in Boston, but don't ye
try it in the country. It don't go down.”

Well, I don't know how long we sat there. It seemed to me half the
night, but I suppose it was only an hour or two. At last Slyboots rose,
stretched herself, yawned, and said, “I'm goin' home.”

“Let us go speak to Serena now,” I said eagerly. “Perhaps she will
listen.”

Slyboots shook her head. However, she followed me, and we both crept
over the dark cold meadow toward Serena. “Sister,” I said, “it's late.
Come home with me.”

She gave me a dreamy glance, and then without speaking turned her head
again. She was crouched in a graceful attitude near a tiny mound of
earth.

“The cats are deceiving you,” I continued, “they are not coming back.”

She gave me another peculiar glance. She seemed sunk in a doze of
ecstasy, and my words fell on dull ears.

“They are fooling you, Serena,” I went on excitedly, “there are no moles
to be driven in. I expect they are snugly down below you in the earth.
Blizzard wishes to make a simpleton of you.”

Serena roused herself slightly at this. “Go away, you jealous kitten,”
she said haughtily. “Blizzard told me that you were eaten up with
jealousy of me, because I am handsomer and cleverer than you.”

I felt like a simpleton, and I suppose I looked like one, as I stared
helplessly at Slyboots. Jealous of her! I had never thought of such a
thing. However, I could not persuade her of it, and I had better not
try.

“Come home,” whispered Slyboots in my ear, and throwing Serena one
contemptuous glance, she walked away.

I followed her for a short distance. I was amazed at the cleverness and
cunning of that wicked Blizzard. Suddenly I stopped short. “Slyboots,” I
said, “it does not matter what Serena thinks of me. I am not going to
leave her alone on that meadow to-night. I will creep back among the
alders and watch.”

Slyboots hesitated, and looked in the direction of the house, where we
could see some lights twinkling, and then back at the dark meadow. I
knew she wanted to go home, and lie on the feather bed; however, she
kindly turned back with me, and we once more went to our old place among
the ferns.

I soon went to sleep, and I think Slyboots did, too. I was awakened by a
push from Slyboots. Sleepily opening my eyes, I heard a malicious voice
speaking, squealing, laughing.

It was Blizzard, and he had come back to torture my sister. “Go home
now, idiot,” he was saying, “go back to your prig of a sister, and tell
her how we have fooled you. Oh, what a sweet morsel you are! How tender,
how juicy! If I hadn't more sap than you, I wouldn't leave my mammy's
side. How did you ever grow up with so little mind? What balderdash you
gave us this evening! Cats of ancient times! Cats of fiddlesticks!”

All the time he was speaking, he danced and pranced about my poor
sister. He was so full of evil that he could not keep still. Rosy,
sitting at a little distance, seemed to be listening approvingly to what
he was saying.

Poor Serena! If ever I saw a crestfallen cat, she was the one. What a
fearful fall her pride had had! She looked as if she could never hold
her head up again.

Occasionally she gave him a bewildered glance, as if to say, “Are you
really speaking the truth? Surely this is some game. In a few minutes
you will be yourself again, and you will begin to praise me as you did
formerly.”

No, it was no game, and that conviction at last entered poor Serena's
soul. She got up, turned sadly from him, and with drooping head and
dejected limbs began to make her way to the foot-bridge.

Her attendant imp or demon seemed itching to get his paws on her. He ran
close beside her, he taunted her shamefully, he advised her to go back
to Boston, and let country cats run their own show, and at last, getting
bold, he began to give her an occasional tap on the head.

My heart-broken sister resented nothing. She travelled slowly on. I
think Blizzard could have killed her if he had wished to do so. Now was
the time for us to show that she had friends. Without a word, Slyboots
and I stepped from the alders and placed ourselves by her side.

Blizzard had begun to smell us, so we had no chance to surprise him, nor
did we wish to do so. We were not hankering for a fight.

He fell back pretty quick, and we three went slowly up the path toward
the barn, round the building where the dry wood is stored, and the
carriage-house, and toward the back door which was wide open, for the
Gleasons never close doors or windows at night. In the first place,
there are no tramps here, and in the second, they could not get in if
they came, on account of the dog Barlo.

As we come into the house from the east side next the barn, there is a
small wood-house and then the kitchen. As we were about to go up the
steps leading to the wood-house, there appeared the figure of a cat in
the doorway.

It was Joker, and running to meet us he began to prance round us in an
extravagant manner, and to taunt Serena. “Where is your mole—didn't you
catch one? I expected to see you come home with half a dozen hanging
from your mouth. You a thoroughbred! The cats are all bursting laughing
at you. You're a half-breed!”

I looked at Slyboots. It did seem too bad that one of the conspirators
should have been under our roof.

“Did you ever hear of the laws of hospitality, Joker?” I asked sternly.

“Laws—no,” he said grinning idiotically, “but I know what claws be,” and
he pointed to Serena. “To catch moles—te, he, he,” and he giggled in a
most aggravating way.

We were all tired and sleepy, and had stood about all we could. Slyboots
particularly was in a most irritable mood, and without one preliminary,
such as a growl or grimace, she sprang at Joker, and didn't she drag him
over that door-yard!

He made a fearful wailing, and heads began to come out of the open
windows on this side of the house.

Denno threw down several pairs of boots, and at last a lot of water from
a pitcher. That stopped the fight, or rather the attack, for Joker did
not fight. He just yelled. Slyboots is a master-hand at fighting, as I
very well knew. Joker will be sore for many a day. I am sorry to have
him punished, and yet he has done very wrong and deserves all he got.

Well, after a time, we again started on our way up-stairs. Joker had run
off somewhere, and Serena, Slyboots and I lie here on our feather bed.

I cannot sleep, for Serena needs comforting. She is perfectly crushed.
She keeps moaning that she wants to go back to the city. She can't get
there now. She will have to wait, but oh! how sorry I am for her. Her
summer here is spoiled. She is so ashamed of herself that she does not
know what to do. She has prided herself so much on her cleverness. She
thought that these country cats were going to look up to her, and admire
her, and have her for a leader, and now she sees that they despise her
and make fun of her, and don't want to have anything to do with anything
or any creature from Boston—and they have found out that she told a lie
about being a pure-bred Angora. That is about the worst cut of all.

Well, I hope she will soon go to sleep. It is not interesting to think
things over when such disagreeable things happen. It would be vastly
more agreeable to sink into a sound, sweet sleep.



                              CHAPTER XVI
                       THE RETURN OF THE CHILDREN


We had a great surprise this morning. I can't help thinking it over as I
sit here this evening on the feather bed, my body half asleep, but my
mind awake and lively.

It was just about dinner time—that is, the early, noon dinner of the
Gleasons—Slyboots and I were on the upper veranda. Serena was in here in
this closet on the feather bed. She feels so terribly about her
experiences of last night at the mole-hunt that I have not been able to
get her to budge out of the house all day.

Well, Slyboots and I heard carriage wheels and looked down. There was a
stout-looking woman driving a big horse harnessed to a double-seated
express wagon in which sat beside herself three children. I knew that
they must be the Gleason children coming home, so I got up and looked
curiously through the veranda railing.

Yes, there they were, the two little boys, and the little girl and their
aunt. Mrs. Gleason ran out of the house and kissed her children, and
Mary and her mother came out too.

My dear little mistress was greatly excited. I knew that she was, by the
way she looked from her mother to the children. She was longing to go
and speak to them, and presently Mrs. Denville took her hand, and led
her forward.

The two boys were the queerest little fellows I ever saw. There is only
a year's difference between their ages, and they look almost like twins.
Timothy and Robert are their names. The girl is a little witch. Her name
is Della. The two boys are prim and proper like two little old men. They
keep together nearly all the time. The girl is flying about by herself
all over the place. I fancied at first that Mary would like the little
boys better than the little girl, but now I am beginning to think I was
mistaken.

As soon as the aunt arrived this morning, her sister-in-law, Mrs.
Gleason, said: “You will, of course, put your horse out.”

The fat woman nodded, and Mrs. Gleason went in the house and blew the
dinner horn twice. That meant Denno, and he soon came running to take
the aunt's horse to the stable. Then all the grown people went inside,
and Mary and the little Gleasons stood staring at each other.

“Those your dogs?” inquired the little girl, pointing to Mona and Dolly.

Mary nodded her head.

“Got any more animals?” inquired Della.

“Yes, some cats and birds,” replied Mary.

“Let's see 'em,” returned Della with a commanding air, and Mary led the
way up-stairs.

“I'm not going to be mauled by strange children,” said Slyboots, and she
fled. I stood my ground, and presently they all trooped out on the
veranda.

The little girl gave a squeal when she saw my long hair. The boys said
never a word, but they both stroked me gently.

“Say,” remarked Della, “let's go see our own critters.”

Forgetting all about the birds, for which the canaries would be truly
thankful, for they hate strangers, the children rushed down-stairs, and
I came more slowly behind with Mary.

“Why don't you go faster?” inquired Della rebukingly, as she waited for
us in the kitchen doorway.

Mary blushed furiously. “I can't,” she said. “I have a weak back.”

“Turn round,” said the little girl peremptorily, “let me see it!”

Oh! how angry I was. I could have scratched her. Her request, or
command, seemed so brutal when I thought of the sensitiveness of my dear
little mistress.

I heard Mary making a choking sound in her throat. However, she did as
she was told, and then Della who, if rough, is at heart a very kind
child, did a very nice thing.

She passed her hand swiftly but gently up and down Mary's back, then she
turned her round again and throwing her arms about her neck she kissed
her heartily and said, “I'm sorry.”

The two boys stared hard at the girls, then, by common consent, they all
walked slowly instead of running to the barn. Della put her arm round
Mary's waist. It had not taken them long to get acquainted. My dear
little mistress' face just beamed, and I saw that she would like these
children.

When we reached the barn, Della went straight to the grain room. There
she filled the pockets of her blue cotton dress with oats and cracked
corn. Then she led the way to the horse stalls. Oh! how glad the horses
were to see those children. They stretched their heads over the door and
neighed and whinnied and Della and the boys rubbed and hugged them. As
for the pony, he almost went crazy, and coolly opening the door of his
stall, Della let him out. He followed her just like a dog, occasionally
putting his nose over her shoulder to sniff at the oats in her hand.

The cows were all out to pasture. Della unfastened the calves, and let
them play a little about the barn floor. I never saw such extraordinary
antics in any young creatures. They were so awkward with their legs and
heads—Mary laughed till the tears came in her eyes. After a while Della
fastened up the calves, said, “Come on!” and, going out-of-doors, led
the way round to the back of the barn, where a big door opened into the
barn cellar. She would not go down the staircase, because the pony
wanted to go with her.

Mary and the boys followed meekly behind. Della went up to the first
pig-pen. The pigs knew her, and began to squeal. She had no food for
them, so she got a stick and scratched their backs.

“What dirty creatures pigs are,” remarked Mary with a shudder.

“They ain't dirty,” said Della reprovingly. “Pigs are clean. Men are
dirty, 'cause they don't give them clean bedding.”

“But they are playing in such black stuff,” said Mary.

“That stuff is nice sods from the meadow,” said Della. “They have to
work it over. Don't you know 'Root hog or die?'”

Mary said she did not, and Della went on. “Pigs like to play in the
dirt, but my pa says a pig always wants a clean bed. Sometimes we keep
pigs out in the pasture, and they make lovely clean beds for themselves
of leaves and grass.”

“How do they do that?” asked Mary.

“They carry the stuff in their mouths,” replied Della, “and when it's
going to rain they run fast and hurry to make a fresh bed. You can
always tell when a storm is coming by the pigs.”

Mary looked doubtfully at the boys, but they nodded their heads as if to
say, “Our sister is right.”

Della went from one pen to another. I looked through the cracks in the
board fence about the pens. The pigs were nice-looking, and although
each one was playing in the black earth, there was a clean bed of straw
in the corner for them.

At the last pen Della opened the little gate leading to it and let a pig
out. He was a pet pig called Bobby, and he was as pleased to see her as
a dog would have been. He grunted with delight, and tried to rub himself
against her, and she leaped and danced to get out of his way, for he was
all covered with mud, and the more she sprang in the air the harder the
boys and Mary laughed.

Finally they all went out in the sunshine again, the pig and pony
following. “Now for the hens,” said Della, and she lifted up her voice,
“Biddy, biddy, biddy—chickie, chickie, chickie.”

“Have you chickens?” inquired Mary eagerly. “I haven't seen any yet.”

“Yes, two broods,” said Della, “but the hens stole their nests away, and
are pretty shy. However, I think I can get them. You and the boys stand
here,” and she went on a little way.

The pony and the pig followed her, but she did not seem to mind them.
“Biddy, biddy, biddy,” she called again, and then the hens came running
from the meadow, the orchard, and one old hen, with a following of
lovely yellow chickens, came out of the barn cellar behind us, and
hurried toward Della.

The little girl sat down on the ground, and it was most amusing to see
the hens gather round her. Some even got on her lap, and looked in her
pockets for the grain that they knew she had. One old thing gave her a
loving peck on the neck that made Della squeal.

“What friends!” exclaimed Mary admiringly. “How they love her!”

“She's always fussing round them,” said Timothy, the elder of the two
boys, “they ought to like her—Come on, Robert, let's go down to the
river and have a swim.”

Mary looked at them curiously. She could have stayed here all day
watching the hens. Then she said, “Don't you like animals?”

Timothy looked at Robert, and Robert looked at Timothy, and finally the
elder one said, “Yes, but we don't want to live and die with them the
way Della does.”

Just then the dinner-horn sounded, and without waiting for the girls,
the two boys ran like the wind toward the house.

Della dismissed the hens, put the pig back in the pen, took the pony to
his stall, then, accompanied by Mary, went to the house.

Her father made a great fuss about her. “Ho, ho!” he laughed catching
her up in his arms, big girl though she was, “ho, ho! I'm glad to have
my tomboy back, and my little sissies,” and he winked at the two demure
little boys.

Della wriggled away from him, and went to her mother's bedroom to tidy
herself. The farmer and his men always washed their faces and hands and
brushed their hair in a little wash-room off the kitchen.

In a few minutes every one was ready for dinner. Mr. Gleason sat at the
foot of the table, his wife at the head, then there were the four
children, the two men, and Mr. Gleason's sister. Mr. and Mrs. Denville,
not caring for such an early dinner, were going to have theirs later.

The food smelt very nice and hot. They had beef and potatoes, turnips
and lettuce, and a big plum pudding with a nice sauce. I sat under the
table, and listened to all that was said. It was pleasant to have every
one so happy. There was a good deal of laughing and joking, and no cross
words.



                              CHAPTER XVII
                       THE MISCHIEVOUS GUINEA-HEN


After dinner Della and Mary went out on the front veranda, and after
Mrs. Gleason had given me something to eat, I trotted after them.

There were two hammocks on the veranda, and Mary was swinging in one,
and Della in the other.

“How old are you?” the farmer's little girl was asking as I arrived.

“Twelve,” said Mary.

“And I'm thirteen,” returned Della. “I'm going to tell you a secret—just
between you and me, and Pussy there,” she added, looking down at me as I
walked under her hammock.

“Very well,” said Mary excitedly. “What is it?”

“You're going to be my second-best friend. I've got a best one, but I
guess I can pass her on to another girl, then I'll have you for first
best.”

“That's lovely,” said Mary. “I'll be true to you, and you'll be true to
me.”

“We'll have to write our names in gore,” murmured Della in a
blood-curdling voice.

“In gore?” repeated Mary. “Whose gore?”

“Yours and mine. You take a pin and scratch your arm, then when the
blood comes, you get a pen, and write your name and your best friend's
name on a piece of paper. Then you fold it, and wear it in a little silk
bag round your neck next your heart.”

“We never do that in Boston,” said Mary in dismay. “And I wouldn't
scratch anybody's arm with a pin for the world. Why, you might get a
germ in it.”

“What's that?” inquired Della.

“A germ is a microbe, I think,” replied Mary.

“And what's a microbe?”

“I fancy it's a bacillus.”

“And what's a bacillus?”

“I don't know,” said Mary frankly; “only it's something that might give
you scarlet fever, or small-pox, or diphtheria, or measles, or lots of
diseases. No, Della, you must never scratch yourself with a pin. If you
just have to take a splinter out of your hand, hold a needle point in
the flame of a candle before you stick it in you. That kills the disease
germs.”

“Why, I must be full of diseases,” said Della in a queer voice. “I stick
a pin in myself every day of my life.”

“Of course there are little healthy germs in us,” pursued Mary, “that
fight the unhealthy ones. There's always a battle going on, or else we'd
all die right off, of some disease.”

“Is that why I feel so queer sometimes inside of me?” continued Della.

“I don't know. I dare say it is,” replied Mary. “I'm not much of a
doctor. I hear mamma and papa talking about these things.”

Della looked thoughtful, but made no answer, as she was watching a man
drive into the yard. After jumping from his wagon he lifted out a box
and put it on the back door-step.

“That's Bill Seaforth,” said Della. “He wants to see daddy, I guess,”
and she sprang out of the hammock and ran to the kitchen door.

Mary and I followed more slowly.

“Hello, Mr. Seaforth,” said Della. “How are you?”

“Oh! I'm whippin' the cat,” he said easily. “How's all your care?”

“Whipping the cat,” I repeated in a shocked voice to Aunt Tabby, who was
sitting on the door-step. “What does he mean?”

“It's just a country expression,” she said. “He's always saying
something queer.”

But it was Della who was saying the queer thing now. “We're all stubbin'
along,” she said cheerfully.

I could not help smiling. It sounded like tight shoes.

“Is your pa above ground?” pursued the man.

“No, he's in the barn cellar,” said Della, “beddin' the pigs.”

“I'll resurrect him,” said Mr. Seaforth. “He owes me two dollars for
them two hawk guards.”

“Oh! the guinea-hens,” said the sharp, young Della, who seemed to know
all her father's business. “Do you s'pose, Bill Seaforth, that they'll
actshually scare the hawks?”

“Well, if we ain't all black liars up on the Little Purple Hill, they
do,” drawled the man.

“Denno says it's all bosh,” remarked Della, “however, I'll tell pa.”

The man did not seem at all offended with her, and she hurried to the
barn.

In a few minutes Mr. Gleason appeared, and seizing the box and followed
by the man, he made his way to the hen-house.

Mary who was delighted with this new happening, followed closely behind,
and I kept at the heels of her pretty Boston shoes. Della wore
brass-toed ones.

Arrived at the hen-house, the farmer called us all in, closed the door,
and let the guinea-hens out. Mary was convulsed with amusement. It
seemed she had never seen any creatures like this before, and her
fascinated eyes followed them, as they went round and round the
hen-house uttering plaintive, little cries, and walking with mincing
steps like two little old women.

“They look as if they had little gray shawls on,” said Mary. “Oh! how
queer they are—what tiny heads.”

“Ain't as brainy as hens,” said the man who had brought them, “and they
wander powerful. You'll have to keep 'em in limbo for a while.”

They all stood for a long time watching the guinea-hens. I used to
marvel at the amount of time everybody had in the country. Nobody
hurried, and yet they worked for a longer time each day than the people
in Boston.

Finally the man got his two dollars and went away, and Mary, Della and I
went back to the hammocks.

Serena was very much interested in my account of the guinea-hens. She
wasn't going out much those days. She kept indoors, except at night when
she took a little walk all about the barn. This particular evening she
stole up to the hen-house to see the guinea-hens, and when the time came
for them to be let out, as they had become “wonted” to the place, she
used to lie under a clump of rose-bushes and watch them. Their actions
interested her very much. They trotted all round the house, the barn,
and the carriage-house, only stopping occasionally to eat.

“They're humbugs,” said Serena. “I've seen a swift hawk take two
chickens to-day, when the guinea-hens were only a few feet away from
him. They never opened their beaks, and he wasn't a bit afraid of them.
There he is coming back.”

“Meow, meow,” I said loudly, and I ran toward Mary who had thrown
herself on the grass at the side of the house, and was reading a book.

She looked up. The bird soaring overhead appeared in the distance like
one of Della's blue homing pigeons that nested in the loft of the
carriage-house. When it came near, we saw it was larger than a pigeon.
Like a bullet it dropped over an unsuspecting mother hen, seized one of
her baby chickens, and bore the dear little thing up in the air with its
legs dangling helplessly.

Mary burst into tears, and tried to find Della.

“I hate those guinea-hens,” said Serena contemptuously. “You just lie
down here beside me, sister, and watch. You have seen one of their sins
of omission, now find out one of commission.”

I didn't know what she meant, but I crouched down beside her. She was
much nicer to me since the downfall of her pride, and I really enjoyed
being with her.

“Now,” she went on, “keep your eyes on the smaller of those old maids.”

I always laughed when she called the guinea-hens the old maids, for with
their little, prim ways, and gray tippet-like feathers, they certainly
did look like bachelor hen girls.

[Illustration:

  “THE ROOSTER KEPT SO FAR AHEAD THAT NO ONE BUT OURSELVES SUSPECTED THE
    MISCHIEF SHE WAS DOING.”
]

“Just see how one of the little wretches is persecuting that lovely big
rooster,” said Serena viciously.

I could not help smiling. “Dear Serena,” I said, “it is impossible that
that small hen should worry that huge Wyandotte.”

“You just observe,” she said decidedly, and I did observe. The hen,
apparently trotting aimlessly round the back-yard and the wood-house,
and the young orchard, was really all the time in pursuit of the
Wyandotte. The rooster kept so far ahead that no one but ourselves
suspected the mischief she was doing.

“I've watched her for two days,” said Serena, “she just trots after him.
It makes him nervous, and he keeps going. Sometimes he gets so exhausted
that he lies down. She'll kill him if some one doesn't notice.”

“What makes her do it?” I asked of my wise sister.

“I don't know,” she said in a puzzled voice. “Just mischief, I fancy.”

“Why doesn't he stop and beat her?” I went on. “He could do it in a
minute.”

“She has got more brains than he has,” said Serena. “I don't care if her
head is small, she is his master.”

“I'd like to punish her,” I said angrily. “I love that big Wyandotte. He
is so noble and generous about the hens.”

“He hasn't talked to them for two days,” said Serena. “I too liked to
hear him say, 'Come, girls,' as he led them down to the meadow for
worms. I can tell you how to get ahead of her, Black-Face, if you will.
I'd do it myself, only I don't want to attract attention.”

“How?” I asked eagerly.

“Get up and travel after her, till some one notices you. If you take to
chasing, you'll be remarked.”

My blood was boiling at the meanness of the guinea-hen. Why didn't she
go play with her sister, instead of chasing the poor Wyandotte! So I
gladly adopted Serena's suggestion, and started in pursuit of the little
miscreant, keeping about three feet behind her. She didn't like it, and
kept looking over her shoulder, but I didn't care. I kept on trotting,
but I got terribly tired, for we went for an hour before any one but
Serena noticed us. My sister lay under the bushes, encouraging me by
kind glances whenever we went near her, but the poor Wyandotte in his
despair led us a dance all over the place, and we seldom got near the
rose-bushes.

Strange to say, the first one to notice us was Mr. Denville. Like most
men brought up in the country, he was a very shrewd observer. About the
middle of the afternoon he came out of the house to get a drink from the
old well, where he said a moss-covered bucket had hung when he was a lad
on the farm. There was a fine pump in the kitchen now, but he always
came for his drinks to the well that he had had cleaned out, and
equipped with a sanitary drinking fountain.

After he had satisfied his thirst, his eyes roamed over the meadows, and
the pasture, and the hills in the distance, all of which were visible
from the high land at the back of the house.

I saw his lips form the word “Beautiful!” The Wyandotte was just
sprinting down from the barn to the chip yard. Mr. Denville barely
noticed the three of us as we tailed by, but when, after leading us
round the house, and the old orchard, back to the side door, the
Wyandotte made again for the well, Mr. Denville gave us a puzzled
glance.

I threw him an appeal over my shoulder as we went travelling up to the
spring where the trout lived. It was not a very hot day, but there is no
fun in running when you don't want to, and I was getting tired.

Mr. Denville took the hint and followed us. When we got back of the barn
the Wyandotte flopped and lay with his beak open and his eyes shut.
Guinea stood patiently watching him. I hissed at her, but she didn't
care. Just as the poor rooster was rousing himself, preparatory to a
fresh start, Mr. Denville arrived on the scene.

When we started again he joined us, and calling to Mary and Della, he
had them come too.

Serena hasn't much sense of humor, but I could see she was nearly
killing herself laughing under the rose-bushes. Della understood almost
as quickly as Mr. Denville had done. Mary was mystified. Della and Mr.
Denville put their heads together, and soon the chase was over. Guinea
was caught and held firmly, while Della went to rummage in her mother's
workbasket.

Mr. Denville took the empty spool and made a little clog. This he
fastened to guinea's leg. Then he set her down. The poor rooster who was
thankfully reposing under a tree, started up as soon as he saw her
coming, but she did not pursue. Every step she took, the little clog
flapped against her leg. She would stop to look at it and the rooster
would stop to see why she wasn't coming.

Dear little Mary just shrieked at the guinea-hen's foolish actions. She
was so boisterous in her mirth that soon she had all the family out in
the back-yard. The men were coming home from work, and I think guinea
was well paid for her unkindness. Everybody made fun of her, and finally
she slunk away very quietly, and climbed to the top of an apple-tree.
There is a wild streak in guinea-hens, and they hate hen-houses.

Della petted the rooster and gave him a special supper from the farm
table. Next day he came out of the hen-house refreshed from a good
night's sleep, and led his girls gaily down to the meadow. His head was
up, he stepped high. Guinea was so taken up with her clog that she never
noticed him. She had something to do now that kept her active mind out
of mischief, and later on, when I got acquainted with her, I found she
was quite a nice sort of a creature, as fowls go. There is good in every
created thing, even mischievous guinea-hens.



                             CHAPTER XVIII
                        THE OWL AND THE CHICKENS


Serena liked me to go with her when she took her walks about the farm at
night. At first I was flattered at her preference for me, then I was
interested, and finally I was responsive. Serena was really getting fond
of me, and she was becoming unselfish and companionable. She knew that I
admired her, and she was so clever that when she set about trying to
make me love her she succeeded easily.

“We're sisters,” she said gently. “We ought to be great friends.”

“Chums,” I said.

“Chums, if you like,” she responded graciously. “The older I grow the
more I recognize the tie of blood between relatives—and you are really
quite nice-looking at times, Black-Face. Just lower your head a little,
till I lick your fur into shape between your ears where you can't reach
it with your tongue.”

“Thank you,” I replied. “The tongue can dress things down much better
than damp paws.”

Serena attended to my toilet beautifully. That was last night. Then we
sallied forth for a moonlight walk. It was a beautiful night. There were
a few other cats about, but we stepped into the bushes till they passed
by. We saw a weasel down near the river, smelt a skunk, listened to the
deep breathing of the young cattle and the horses sleeping out in the
pasture, and saw with regret that the lovely white woolly sheep had
broken into the meadow.

“We can't do anything about it,” said Serena. “The farmer will turn them
out in the morning. Meantime they're having a fine feed of rich meadow
grass, and they won't get whipped for it.”

“No, Farmer Gleason never whips anything,” I said. “I wish he owned all
the dogs and cats and horses in the world.”

“What is that?” said Serena excitedly, as we came up the sloping road
leading from the meadow to the barn.

I looked at the top of the carriage-house. There, perched on the
ridge-pole where the pigeons loved to sit in the daytime, was a funny
square-looking creature that never moved.

“Is it a bird?” I asked.

“I think from what I have heard,” said Serena, “that it is a big owl.
Keep close to the fence, sister. If he sees our fur, he may seize us.
Tabby says Joker was nearly caught once by a big owl. Oh!” and Serena
gave a gasp.

With her native caution, as soon as she saw the owl, she had led me
under the snake fence. Fortunately a few poles had fallen out and had
made a rough shelter, under which we crept. I hadn't turned my eyes from
the owl but for a second when I felt something strike the poles above
us, and saw the flash of two balls of fire, which were eyes. Then I lay
gasping with fright.

“He struck me,” moaned Serena—“what claws—they felt red hot.”

“Oh! the wicked creature,” I whispered, then my conscience pricked me. I
had just been looking for a nice, sweet, little meadow mouse down by the
river.

Serena, who never ate mice, was following the workings of my mind. “My
back smarts terribly where he ripped it,” she sighed. “I am very sorry
for every creature that suffers.”

“Wait till we get out of this,” I said comfortingly, “and I will give
your back a good licking.”

“Thank you,” she murmured, then she said, “Alas! poor Beauty.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Beauty and her chickens are sleeping in that apple-tree to-night,” said
Serena, nodding toward the young orchard. “She wouldn't go in the
hen-house, and Della laughed at her and said she could sleep out. Every
chick skipped up the branches after her. That wretch hears them.
Chickens move about in their sleep sometimes, the way human babies
nestle.”

“Mona is sleeping up by the barn door to-night,” I said. “She likes to
be there because it is high, and she can see all over the farm. I wish
she were here.”

“She can't fly,” said Serena.

“No, but she could bark and rouse the farmer. I'm going to call her,”
and I mewed loudly, “Mona, Mona.”

The good old dog, who does not sleep as soundly as when she was young,
heard me and came running to us.

I soon told her the trouble. The owl, of course, knew all about it, but
he was a very bold fellow and evidently scorned us all. While Mona was
staring and sniffing the air in his direction, the great creature made
another swoop. Not a sound was audible. Owls are very sneaky creatures.
He hovered over the apple-tree nearest the carriage-house—there was a
loud cackle from Beauty, and a spluttering from the chickens. We could
hear some of them fluttering to the ground.

Mona bounded away.

“She can't fly,” I said, “but that owl will be smart if he gets any of
the chickens while they are near her on the ground.”

The owl knew better than to descend too low, but the bold fellow made
one more dash at the apple-tree.

More chickens cried and flounced wildly about in the darkness. Mona just
yelled with rage, and in a jiffy Barlo was leaping and barking beside
her. Mr. Gleason was at the window sending up a rocket that made Mr. Owl
vanish like a ghost.

I laughed the most delicious cat laugh that I ever enjoyed. I just
fancied that owl's astonishment when the rocket went flying through the
air in his direction. I don't think he will ever come back to the farm.

“Let him hunt mice and vermin in the meadow,” said Serena, “and leave
our chickens alone.”

Part of the family was at the windows, the rest was out-of-doors. Serena
and I advanced to the side of Mr. Denville. He ran his hand over my
back, then over Serena's. “This cat is bleeding,” he said.

“And some of the chickens are gone,” said Mr. Gleason, “look at these
feathers.” He whirled his lantern round under the trees where the
moonbeams did not penetrate, and showed what he had picked up.

“There isn't one gone,” said Mona to me. “When the owl flew away, he
carried nothing with him.”

“Count your chickens,” said Mr. Denville.

“Can't,” said the farmer, “they're scattered.”

“Do you find any large feathers?” asked Mr. Denville.

“No,” said the farmer, “not one. I guess you're right. Morning will
tell, anyway. Mona and Barlo will keep the old fellow from making any
more visits.”

Morning did tell the same story. The owl had pulled a number of feathers
out of the chickens, but he had not got one of the little creatures.
They were wiser chickens after that, and Beauty was a wiser mother.
Every night we saw her going to bed nice and early in the hen-house with
her fine brood behind her. She told Serena that it was a dreadful thing
for a mother hen to lead her chickens into such danger, and she said
that they suffered more during the long night when they crouched in the
grass, and behind the woodpile, and under the veranda, than when the owl
was attacking them. They were a scattered family. Beauty was a very
young hen. Everybody called her old, but she really had not had much
experience in bringing up chickens.



                              CHAPTER XIX
                        THE CLOSE OF THE SUMMER


I am ashamed to say that weeks and weeks have gone by since I have sat
down at night and had a good think over things that are going on about
me.

I have been happy and busy. All day long something was happening on the
farm to keep us interested, and nearly every night Serena and I would
run about and play, till we were so tired that we just tumbled into our
nice beds.

It seems impossible to think that the summer is about gone. “Why, Aunt
Tabby,” I said to her just now, “surely it was only yesterday that I
asked you why Farmer Gleason made nice little beds for the seeds to go
to sleep, and then kept fussing with them till I was sure he would wake
them up.”

Aunt Tabby smiled. “You were a very ignorant little city cat. Now you
know something about grubs and worms, and the constant care a farmer has
to put forth to keep his crops from being eaten up.”

“The haying was beautiful,” I murmured. “I wish the sweet smelling days
could come again.”

“A pity Thummie has hay-fever,” said Aunt Tabby. “He is glad when the
haying is over. It was pitiful to hear him sneezing when the men were
unloading the hay-carts.”

“I admire Thummie,” I said warmly. “He is a brave cat not to desert his
post when it becomes unpleasant.”

“He's all right in winter,” said Aunt Tabby. “He is out a great deal,
and then when he is cold he sits on a cow's back.”

“Bessie is his friend, isn't she?” I said.

“Yes, the Jersey. She loves Thummie.”

“Here comes Joker,” I said, as he walked down from the barn and sat
beside us.

I said nothing aloud, but I thought to myself how much Joker has
improved since we came to the farm. Aunt Tabby says it is because he has
been much with Serena and me, and less with the untrained Blizzard and
the slippery Rosy.

I think he is better because Slyboots gave him such a beating for
taunting poor Serena, however, I don't like to say this to Aunt Tabby.
These country cats all stand by each other.

“I've got some news for you,” said Joker to me. “I'm afraid you're soon
going away.”

“From the farm?” I said in dismay.

“Yes, I just heard Farmer Gleason tell one of the men that soon you'll
all be going back to Boston.”

“Why, the summer has passed like a dream,” I said.

“Perhaps you'll come back next summer,” said Aunt Tabby.

“Oh! I hope so,” I said. “I just love this place.”

“Slyboots is a lot better for her visit,” said Aunt Tabby. “Her eyes
look quite strong now.”

“She strained them trying to see mice and rats in the Boston streets
when she was cold and hungry,” I said. “She was all run down.”

“We are just like human beings in that way,” said Aunt Tabby. “If we're
not properly fed and housed, all our bodily functions suffer.”

“What's a function?” asked Joker slyly. “You're trying to talk
Bostonese, like Serena, Aunt Tab.”

Aunt Tabby thoughtfully licked her paw and said nothing.

“Where is Serena?” asked Joker looking round.

“On the upper veranda,” I said.

“She never got over that mole-hunt, did she?” he went on.

“A cat that never has trouble doesn't amount to much,” said Aunt Tabby.
“You know that, Joker.”

He hung his head, then his eyes twinkled, and he looked at me. “We ought
to weigh Black-Face before she goes back to the city. She's gained about
three pounds since she came!”

I gave a little sigh. My appetite is my weak point. Then I said, “Your
cream here is so delicious, and I have never tasted such bread and
butter in Boston, nor such savory meat.”

“Put a rein on your appetite, Black-Face,” said Joker, “or you'll have
kitten's gout.”

“There are the Denvilles coming up from the meadow,” said Aunt Tabby,
“and little Mary with them.”

“All as brown as berries,” said Joker. “That child ought to live in the
country.”

There was certainly an immense change in our dear little Mary, and just
now a wonderful thing happened. Her parents came up the hill, went to
the barn, then began to descend the slope to the carriage-house. Little
Mary left her parents and ran ahead—actually ran—a thing I had never
seen her do before, though she could walk very fast.

I saw Mrs. Denville stop and snatch at her husband's arm as if she were
going to fall. One hand pointed to Mary. Her lips were moving. We cats
knew that she was saying—“My little girl can run—she is stronger than
when she came. What wonders the country has done for her.”

“You'll come next summer fast enough,” said Aunt Tabby.

“Oh, I wish we could stay till apple-picking!” I said, casting a glance
at the old orchard where each tree was a perfect sight with its load of
red fruit.

“You might be cold,” said Aunt Tabby cautiously. “Up here in Maine cool
winds sometimes blow, and the farmers get their fingers nipped while
they are picking the apples. Often Mrs. Gleason sends out hot drinks to
the orchard to keep the men warm while they are up on the ladders at
work.”

“Well, we have had a lovely summer,” I said. “We shall have very
pleasant things to think over during the long winter.”

“I liked that picnic down by the river about as well as anything,” said
Joker licking his lips. “I've often heard folks talk about picnics but
they always went so far off that cats couldn't go. Now, when Farmer
Gleason had that one right here at home after haying, and had all the
men who helped him and their families, I thought it was fine.”

“I liked the big evening party,” I said, “when people drove in from
miles round, and they had speeches and singing.”

“And I liked the school children's parade on the Fourth of July,” said
Aunt Tabby, “when they all marched up from the schoolhouse with banners,
and had that play-acting on the front lawn and the feast afterwards, and
nobody got hurt at fireworks.”

“It was all good,” I said—“all this last part of the visit has been
lovely. I think it must be easier to have happy times in the country
than in Boston.”

Aunt Tabby smiled. “You are young, Black-Face. When you are older, you
will know that whether you are happy or unhappy depends on the kind of
cat you are.”

Before I could answer her Slyboots came trotting up. She seemed
unusually excited for her. “What's this I hear about going back to
Boston?” she said.

We told her what we had heard, and I said, “Don't you want to go?”

She shuddered as she said, “I hate the train.”

“Do you want to stay here?” asked Joker.

“Wouldn't be square,” she said firmly. “I'm the Denvilles' cat and I've
got to stick it out with them.”

“They'll always be good to you,” said Aunt Tabby. “You can trust those
people.”

Slyboots looked at me. “Is Serena going to live with us?” she said.

“I suppose so,” I replied in surprise. “I have never asked her.”

“You just go find out,” she said. “I guess she'll jar you.”

I fled up-stairs to the veranda. Serena was lying with half-shut eyes,
and occasionally glancing up into the blue sky seen through the
tree-tops.

Something told her I was coming, and without turning her head she said,
“The hawk is around. Go warn Mona.”

I flew down-stairs. There was great talk on the farm of the intelligence
of the St. Bernard, whereas we cats told her when the hawk was coming,
and the birds told us.

As I ran up to the barn I threw swift glances about me. The little birds
knew. Wild sparrows, swallows, goldfinches, purple finches, robins, and
ever so many other birds were all flying toward the west. The pigeons
saw them, and they were high up in the air circling as swiftly as they
could round and round the carriage-house, so the hawk could not drop on
them from above. The hens didn't know yet, for Beauty and her brood were
following Bobby, the tame pig, up and down the young orchard where he
was rooting up worms. He wouldn't let any other hen and chickens get
near him.

“Mona, Mona,” I mewed as I ran to the barn floor, “hawk! hawk!”

Mona opened her great jaws and bellowed, “Bow! Wow!” as she ran from the
barn to the house and then to the orchard.

Every creature understood her warning note, and she was not the only
enemy the hawk had. There was a furious scolding and chattering from the
pine trees beyond the orchard where a pair of crows had had a nest
during the summer. They had seen the hawk, and they worried him till he
passed by the front door of their nest where the young ones used to be.

He had a hard flight that morning. By the time he reached the farm,
every chicken was hiding under bushes, or in the buckwheat, or under the
veranda, or on the woodpile, and a pair of king-birds were nearly
driving him crazy.

Aunt Tabby had explained to me when I first came to the farm about these
brave little birds, who are never frightened of a hawk and who do no
harm, though they are often accused of eating too many bees. Aunt Tabby,
who has watched them closely, says they kill a thousand noxious insects
for every bee they eat.

Mr. Hawk flew away to the westward, but the little frightened birds were
all scurrying ahead of him, and he would not be able to do much damage
in that direction. As soon as I saw the last beat of his powerful wings,
I ran back to Serena.

“Oh, sister!” I said, “have you heard that we are soon going back to
Boston?”

She turned her handsome eyes on me. “No, but I imagined the subject
would soon be under discussion.”

“And are you going to live with the Denvilles?” I blurted out.

She smiled half sadly. “No, Black-Face, I am going back to our parents.”

“Oh, Serena!” I said, “I am much disappointed.”

“That is nice in you, Black-Face, but I must do my duty. Our father and
mother have missed me, and in thinking things over lately, I know I did
wrong to leave them.”

I was so surprised that I did not say anything for a long time. Then I
murmured, “You will come to see us sometimes.”

“Oh! yes,” said Serena brightly. “We are close by.”

“Serena,” I said, “are you going back home because you want to, or
because you ought to?”

“The latter first, but I'll make it the former, before I'm done with
it,” she said with a laugh.



                               CHAPTER XX
                           IN THE CITY AGAIN


Weeks more have passed, and now we are in the city. Life is so quiet and
happy that I don't seem to have much to think over! We eat, sleep, have
a good time, and, looking out the window at the snow and ice, pity the
poor cats who have no comfortable homes. That is our only
trouble—Slyboots and mine. She stood the journey back to the city
remarkably well, and as the days go by we become firmer friends than
ever. I even proposed a while ago to have her sleep in my bed, but she
said, “Black-Face, you aren't half grown up. Us cats want our own bed
and our own food-dish. Don't mix too much, or you'll fight. We're better
friends apart.”

Mona laughed when I told her this, and said there was much truth in it.
She and Dolly are both well, and enjoy long walks every day with Mr. and
Mrs. Denville. Mona says it is all nonsense to say a dog can not be kept
healthy in a city. Good food and plenty of exercise will keep animals in
condition anywhere, unless the air is poisonous, and she says Boston air
is as good as any air.

Little Mary is much brighter and better for her visit to the country;
and her parents are planning to take her to the country again quite
early next spring. Mr. Denville is going to have a furnace put into the
farm-house, so that they won't feel the cold. Just now Mary and her
mother are very busy getting a Christmas box ready for the farm.

Della and the boys almost broke their hearts when little Mary left them,
and Slyboots and I are lost in admiration of the beautiful and useful
presents that are going into the box for those children.

With all their care for the human beings, for the Denvilles do much for
the poor children in Boston, they do not forget the animals. The animal
refuge where I was taken when I was a lost pussy, is to have a joyous
Christmas. Mary is going to help decorate a Christmas tree for the cats,
and the dogs are to have some new drinking-fountains, and a sum of money
which will go to the rescue of suffering creatures who would otherwise
perish in the streets.

Mrs. Denville says that if boys and girls are kind to cats and dogs and
other creatures, they will be kinder to each other. She says we should
all protect something weaker than ourselves.

As I lie on my cushion on the window-seat I watch the crowds hurrying
across the Common and think this over. Suppose all the people were kind
to each other, suppose all the cats, and dogs, and sparrows, and pigeons
and squirrels on the Common were well-fed and happy, what a beautiful
spot this Beacon Hill would be. Those people are not all kind. I can
tell by their faces. If I were a human being, I would try to do
something to make them smile on each other.

I am only a little cat, and all I can do is to be nice to Slyboots and
the dogs, and the dear family in this house, and in my parents' house.
Serena is the light of that home now. She is more beautiful than ever,
and more dignified. No one here knows of her troubles in the country,
and she is a leader in cat society on the Hill. My mother and father are
so proud of her. She never tries them now by being affected or
conceited. She says she doesn't want to go to the country again, but she
is glad that she went this time.

The Denvilles had a great joke about her when she left them for her old
home. They did not understand. Many things in the cat world are hidden
from human beings. We suffer, and rejoice, and scheme and plan pretty
much as the higher order of creation does. If only more people would
take the trouble to study us. Serena says there is a whole book of cat
psychology waiting for some one to open it and read aloud. Her theory is
that all created things should work together, from kings to earth-worms.
She says they were started to accomplish great things in unison, but
some wicked people threw things out of joint. She is preparing a lecture
on the subject for the Beacon Hill Angora Club. I am to have a ticket.

I hope everybody in Boston is going to have a pleasant Christmas. That
is a foolish wish, Slyboots says, for everybody can't—Well, then
everybody that can, just as many as possible. Some day, I may have some
more adventures to think out. Just now there's nothing to tell except
that we haven't anything to tell, and we're all very happy and wish the
whole world were the same.


                                THE END.



                                Works of
                           Marshall Saunders

                                   ☘


 Beautiful Joe's Paradise                                          $1.50

 Pussy Black-Face                                                   1.50

 'Tilda Jane                                                        1.50

 'Tilda Jane's Orphans                                              1.50

 The Story of the Gravelys                                          1.50

 For His Country                                                     .50

 Nita: The Story of an Irish Setter                                  .50

 Alpatok: The Story of an Eskimo Dog                                 .50

                                   ☘

                          L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
                    53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.



                         BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE


                        THE LITTLE COLONEL BOOKS
                              (Trade Mark)

                      _By ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON_

        _Each 1 vol., large 12mo, cloth, illustrated, per  $1.50
          vol._

    THE LITTLE COLONEL STORIES
                (Trade Mark)

        Being three “Little Colonel” stories in the Cosy Corner
        Series, “The Little Colonel,” “Two Little Knights of
        Kentucky,” and “The Giant Scissors,” in a single volume.

    THE LITTLE COLONEL'S HOUSE PARTY
                (Trade Mark)

    THE LITTLE COLONEL'S HOLIDAYS
                (Trade Mark)

    THE LITTLE COLONEL'S HERO
                (Trade Mark)

    THE LITTLE COLONEL AT BOARDING-SCHOOL
                (Trade Mark)

    THE LITTLE COLONEL IN ARIZONA
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    THE LITTLE COLONEL'S CHRISTMAS VACATION
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    THE LITTLE COLONEL, MAID OF HONOR
                (Trade Mark)

    THE LITTLE COLONEL'S KNIGHT COMES RIDING
                (Trade Mark)

    MARY WARE: THE LITTLE COLONEL'S CHUM
                (Trade Mark)

    MARY WARE IN TEXAS

    MARY WARE'S PROMISED LAND

        _These 12 volumes, boxed as a set_,               $18.00

    THE LITTLE COLONEL
                (Trade Mark)

    TWO LITTLE KNIGHTS OF KENTUCKY

    THE GIANT SCISSORS

    BIG BROTHER

                        Special Holiday Editions

        Each one volume, cloth decorative, small quarto,   $1.25

        New plates, handsomely illustrated with eight full-page
        drawings in color, and many marginal sketches.

    IN THE DESERT OF WAITING: THE LEGEND OF CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN.

    THE THREE WEAVERS: A FAIRY TALE FOR FATHERS AND MOTHERS AS
        WELL AS FOR THEIR DAUGHTERS.

    KEEPING TRYST

    THE LEGEND OF THE BLEEDING HEART

    THE RESCUE OF PRINCESS WINSOME: A FAIRY PLAY FOR OLD AND
        YOUNG.

    THE JESTER'S SWORD

        Each one volume, tall 16mo, cloth decorative       $0.50
        Paper boards                                         .35

        There has been a constant demand for publication in
        separate form of these six stories which were originally
        included in six of the “Little Colonel” books.

    JOEL: A BOY OF GALILEE: BY ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON.
        Illustrated by L. J. Bridgman.

        New illustrated edition, uniform with the Little   $1.50
          Colonel Books, 1 vol., large 12mo, cloth
          decorative

        A story of the time of Christ, which is one of the
        author's best-known books.

    THE LITTLE COLONEL GOOD TIMES BOOK

        Uniform in size with the Little Colonel Series     $1.50
        Bound in white kid (morocco) and gold               3.00

        Cover design and decorations by Peter Verberg.

        Published in response to many inquiries from readers of
        the Little Colonel books as to where they could obtain a
        “Good Times Book” such as Betty kept.

    THE LITTLE COLONEL DOLL BOOK

        Large quarto, boards                               $1.50

        A series of “Little Colonel” dolls. There are many of
        them and each has several changes of costume, so that
        the happy group can be appropriately clad for the
        rehearsal of any scene or incident in the series.

    ASA HOLMES; OR, AT THE CROSS-ROADS. By ANNIE FELLOWS
        JOHNSTON.

        With a frontispiece by Ernest Fosbery.

        Large 16mo, cloth, gilt top                        $1.00

        “'Asa Holmes; or, At the Cross-Roads' is the most
        delightful, most sympathetic and wholesome book that has
        been published in a long while.”—_Boston Times._

    TRAVELERS FIVE: ALONG LIFE'S HIGHWAY. By ANNIE FELLOWS
        JOHNSTON.

        With an introduction by Bliss Carman, and a frontispiece
        by E. H. Garrett.

        Cloth decorative                                   $1.25

        “Mrs. Johnston's ... are of the character that cause the
        mind to grow gravely meditative, the eyes to shine with
        tender mist, and the heart strings to stir to strange,
        sweet music of human sympathy.”—_Los Angeles Graphic._

    THE RIVAL CAMPERS; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF HENRY BURNS. By
        RUEL PERLEY SMITH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        A story of a party of typical American lads, courageous,
        alert, and athletic, who spend a summer camping on an
        island off the Maine coast.

    THE RIVAL CAMPERS AFLOAT; OR, THE PRIZE YACHT VIKING. By
        RUEL PERLEY SMITH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        This book is a continuation of the adventures of “The
        Rival Campers” on their prize yacht _Viking_.

    THE RIVAL CAMPERS ASHORE

        By RUEL PERLEY SMITH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        “As interesting ashore as when afloat.”—_The Interior._

    THE RIVAL CAMPERS AMONG THE OYSTER PIRATES; OR, JACK
        HARVEY'S ADVENTURES. By RUEL PERLEY SMITH.

        Illustrated                                        $1.50

        “Just the type of book which is most popular with lads
        who are in their early teens.”—_The Philadelphia Item._

    A TEXAS BLUE BONNET

        By CAROLINE EMILIA JACOBS (EMILIA ELLIOTT).

        12mo, illustrated                                  $1.50

        “The book's heroine Blue Bonnet has the very finest kind
        of wholesome, honest lively girlishness and cannot but
        make friends with every one who meets her through the
        book as medium.”—_Chicago Inter-Ocean._

    BLUE BONNET'S RANCH PARTY

        A Sequel to “A Texas Blue Bonnet.” By CAROLINE ELLIOTT
        JACOBS and EDYTH ELLERBECK READ.

        12mo, illustrated                                  $1.50

        The new story begins where the first volume leaves off
        and takes Blue Bonnet and the “We Are Seven Club” to the
        ranch in Texas. The tables are completely turned: Blue
        Bonnet is here in her natural element, while her friends
        from Woodford have to learn the customs and traditions
        of another world.

    THE GIRLS OF FRIENDLY TERRACE OR, PEGGY RAYMOND'S SUCCESS.
        By HARRIET LUMMIS SMITH.

        12mo, illustrated                                  $1.50

        This is a book that will gladden the hearts of many girl
        readers because of its charming air of comradeship and
        reality. It is a very interesting group of girls who
        live on Friendly Terrace and their good times and other
        times are graphically related by the author, who shows a
        sympathetic knowledge of girl character.

    PEGGY RAYMOND'S VACATION; OR, FRIENDLY TERRACE TRANSPLANTED.

        A Sequel to “The Girls of Friendly Terrace.” By HARRIET
        LUMMIS SMITH.

        Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated        $1.50

        Readers who made the acquaintance of Peggy Raymond and
        her bevy of girl chums in “The Girls of Friendly
        Terrace” will be glad to continue the acquaintance of
        these attractive young folks.

        Several new characters are introduced, and one at least
        will prove a not unworthy rival of the favorites among
        the Terrace girls.


                         THE HADLEY HALL SERIES

                       _By LOUISE M. BREITENBACH_

        _Each, library 12mo, cloth decorative,             $1.50
          illustrated_

    ALMA AT HADLEY HALL

        “Miss Breitenbach is to be congratulated on having
        written such an appealing book for girls, and the girls
        are to be congratulated on having the privilege of
        reading it.”—_The Detroit Free Press._

    ALMA'S SOPHOMORE YEAR

        “The characters are strongly drawn with a life-like
        realism, the incidents are well and progressively
        sequenced, and the action is so well timed that the
        interest never slackens.”—_Boston Ideas._

                  *       *       *       *       *

    THE SUNBRIDGE GIRLS AT SIX STAR RANCH. By ELEANOR STUART.

        Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated        $1.50

        Any girl of any age who is fond of outdoor life will
        appreciate this fascinating tale of Genevieve Hartley's
        summer vacation house-party on a Texas ranch. Genevieve
        and her friends are real girls, the kind that one would
        like to have in one's own home, and there are a couple
        of manly boys introduced.

    BEAUTIFUL JOE'S PARADISE; OR, THE ISLAND OF BROTHERLY LOVE.
        A Sequel to “Beautiful Joe.”

        By MARSHALL SAUNDERS, author of “Beautiful Joe.”

        One vol., library 12mo, cloth illustrated          $1.50

        “This book revives the spirit of 'Beautiful Joe'
        capitally. It is fairly riotous with fun, and is about
        as unusual as anything in the animal book line that has
        seen the light.”—_Philadelphia Item._

    'TILDA JANE. By MARSHALL SAUNDERS.

        One vol., 12mo, fully illustrated, cloth           $1.50
          decorative

        “It is one of those exquisitely simple and truthful
        books that win and charm the reader, and I did not put
        it down until I had finished it—honest! And I am sure
        that every one, young or old, who reads will be proud
        and happy to make the acquaintance of the delicious
        waif.

        “I cannot think of any better book for children than
        this. I commend it unreservedly.”—_Cyrus T. Brady._

    'TILDA JANE'S ORPHANS. A Sequel to “'Tilda Jane.” By
        MARSHALL SAUNDERS.

        One vol., 12mo, fully illustrated, cloth           $1.50
          decorative

        'Tilda Jane is the same original, delightful girl, and
        as fond of her animal pets as ever.

        “There is so much to this story that it is almost
        a novel—in fact it is better than many novels,
        although written for only young people. Compared
        with much of to-day's juveniles it is quite a
        superior book.”—_Chicago Tribune._

    THE STORY OF THE GRAVELYS. By MARSHALL SAUNDERS, author of
        “Beautiful Joe's Paradise,” “'Tilda Jane,” etc.

        Library 12mo, cloth decorative. Illustrated by E.  $1.50
          B. Barry

        Here we have the haps and mishaps, the trials and
        triumphs, of a delightful New England family.

    PUSSY BLACK-FACE. By MARSHALL SAUNDERS, author of “'Tilda
        Jane,” “'Tilda Jane's Orphans,” etc.

        Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated        $1.50

        This is a delightful little story of animal life,
        written in this author's best vein, dealing especially
        with Pussy Black-Face, a little Beacon Street (Boston)
        kitten, who is the narrator.


                         FAMOUS LEADERS SERIES

                      _By CHARLES H. L. JOHNSTON_

        _Each, large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated_  $1.50

    FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS

        Biographical sketches, with anecdotes and reminiscences,
        of the heroes of history who were leaders of cavalry.

        “More of such books should be written, books that
        acquaint young readers with historical personages in a
        pleasant informal way.”—_N. Y. Sun._

    FAMOUS INDIAN CHIEFS

        In this book Mr. Johnston gives interesting sketches of
        the Indian braves who have figured with prominence in
        the history of our own land.

    FAMOUS PRIVATEERSMEN AND ADVENTURERS OF THE SEA

        In this volume Mr. Johnston tells interesting stories
        about the famous sailors of fortune.

    FAMOUS SCOUTS

        “It is the kind of a book that will have a great
        fascination for boys and young men and while it
        entertains them it will also present valuable
        information in regard to those who have left their
        impress upon the history of the country.”—_The New
        London Day._

    FAMOUS FRONTIERSMEN AND HEROES OF THE BORDER

        This book is devoted to a description of the adventurous
        lives and stirring experiences of many pioneer heroes
        who were prominently identified with the opening of the
        great west.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    RALPH SOMERBY AT PANAMA

        By FORBES LINDSAY.

        Large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated          $1.50

        Real buccaneers who overran the Spanish main, and
        adventurers who figured prominently in the sack of
        Panama, all enter into the life of Ralph Somerby, a
        young English lad, on his way to the colony in Jamaica.
        After a year of wandering and adventure he covers the
        route of the present Panama Canal.

    THE DOCTOR'S LITTLE GIRL

        By MARION AMES TAGGART.

        One vol., library 12mo, illustrated                $1.50

        A thoroughly enjoyable tale of a little girl and her
        comrade father, written in a delightful vein of
        sympathetic comprehension of the child's point of view.

        “The characters are strongly drawn with a life-like
        realism, the incidents are well and progressively
        sequenced, and the action is so well timed that the
        interest never slackens.”—_Boston Ideas._

    SWEET NANCY

        THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE DOCTOR'S LITTLE GIRL. By
        MARION AMES TAGGART.

        One vol., library 12mo, illustrated                $1.50

        In the new book, the author tells how Nancy becomes in
        fact “the doctor's assistant,” and continues to shed
        happiness around her.

    NANCY, THE DOCTOR'S LITTLE PARTNER

        By MARION AMES TAGGART.

        One vol., library 12mo, illustrated                $1.50

        In Nancy Porter, Miss Taggart has created one of the
        most lovable child characters in recent years. In the
        new story she is the same bright and cheerful little
        maid.

    NANCY PORTER'S OPPORTUNITY

        By MARION AMES TAGGART.

        One vol., library 12mo, illustrated                $1.50

        Already as the “doctor's partner” Nancy Porter has won
        the affection of her readers, and in the same lovable
        manner she continues in the new book to press the
        keynotes of optimism and good-will.

    BORN TO THE BLUE

        By FLORENCE KIMBALL RUSSEL.

        12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated                $1.25

        The atmosphere of army life on the plains breathes on
        every page of this delightful tale. The boy is the son
        of a captain of U. S. cavalry stationed at a frontier
        post in the days when our regulars earned the gratitude
        of a nation.

    IN WEST POINT GRAY

        By FLORENCE KIMBALL RUSSEL.

        12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated                $1.50

        “Singularly enough one of the best books of the year for
        boys is written by a woman and deals with life at West
        Point. The presentment of life in the famous military
        academy whence so many heroes have graduated is
        realistic and enjoyable.”—_New York Sun._

    THE SANDMAN: HIS FARM STORIES

        By WILLIAM J. HOPKINS. With fifty illustrations by Ada
        Clendenin Williamson.

        Large 12mo, decorative cover                       $1.50

        “An amusing, original book, written for the benefit of
        very small children. It should be one of the most
        popular of the year's books for reading to small
        children.”—_Buffalo Express._

    THE SANDMAN: MORE FARM STORIES

        By WILLIAM J. HOPKINS.

        Large 12mo, decorative cover, fully illustrated    $1.50

        Mr. Hopkins's first essay at bedtime stories met with
        such approval that this second book of “Sandman” tales
        was issued for scores of eager children. Life on the
        farm, and out-of-doors, is portrayed in his inimitable
        manner.

    THE SANDMAN: HIS SHIP STORIES

        By WILLIAM J. HOPKINS, author of “The Sandman: His Farm
        Stories,” etc.

        Large 12mo, decorative cover, fully illustrated    $1.50

        “Children call for these stories over and over
        again.”—_Chicago Evening Post._

    THE SANDMAN: HIS SEA STORIES

        By WILLIAM J. HOPKINS.

        Large 12mo, decorative cover, fully illustrated    $1.50

        Each year adds to the popularity of this unique series
        of stories to be read to the little ones at bed time and
        at other times.


                        THE YOUNG PIONEER SERIES

                          _By HARRISON ADAMS_

        _Each, 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated_        $1.25

    THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE OHIO; OR, CLEARING THE WILDERNESS.

        Boys will follow with ever increasing interest the
        fortunes of Bob and Sandy Armstrong in their hunting and
        trapping expeditions, and in their adventures with the
        Indians.

    THE PIONEER BOYS ON THE GREAT LAKES; OR, ON THE TRAIL OF THE
        IROQUOIS.

        In this story are introduced all of the principal
        characters of the first volume, and Bob and Sandy learn
        much of life in the open from the French trappers and
        _coureurs du bois_.

    THE PIONEER BOYS OF THE MISSISSIPPI; OR, THE HOMESTEAD IN
        THE WILDERNESS.

        Telling of how the Armstrong family decides to move
        farther west after an awful flood on the Ohio, and how
        they travelled to the great “Father of Waters” and
        settled on its banks, and of how the pioneer boys had
        many adventures both with wild animals and with the
        crafty Indians.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    HAWK: THE YOUNG OSAGE

        By C. H. ROBINSON.

        One vol., cloth decorative, illustrated            $1.50

        A fine story of North American Indians. The story begins
        when Hawk is a papoose and follows him until he is
        finally made chief of his tribe.

    THE YOUNG APPRENTICE; OR, ALLAN WEST'S CHUM.

        By BURTON E. STEVENSON.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        In this book Mr. Stevenson takes up a new branch of
        railroading, namely, the work of the “Shops.”

    THE YOUNG SECTION-HAND; OR, THE ADVENTURES OF ALLAN WEST. By
        BURTON E. STEVENSON.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        Mr. Stevenson's hero is a manly lad of sixteen, who is
        given a chance as a section-hand on a big Western
        railroad, and whose experiences are as real as they are
        thrilling.

    THE YOUNG TRAIN DISPATCHER. By BURTON E. STEVENSON.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        “A better book for boys has never left an American
        press.”—_Springfield Union._

    THE YOUNG TRAIN MASTER. By BURTON E. STEVENSON.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        “Nothing better in the way of a book of adventure for
        boys.”—_Boston Herald._

    CAPTAIN JACK LORIMER. By WINN STANDISH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        Jack is a fine example of the American high-school boy.

    JACK LORIMER'S CHAMPIONS; OR, SPORTS ON LAND AND LAKE. By
        WINN STANDISH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        “It is exactly the sort of book to give a boy interested
        in athletics.”—_Chicago Tribune._

    JACK LORIMER'S HOLIDAYS; OR, MILLVALE HIGH IN CAMP. By WINN
        STANDISH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        Full of just the kind of fun, sports and adventure to
        excite the healthy minded youngster to emulation.

    JACK LORIMER'S SUBSTITUTE: OR, THE ACTING CAPTAIN OF THE
        TEAM. By WINN STANDISH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        On the sporting side, this book takes up football,
        wrestling, and tobogganing.

    JACK LORIMER, FRESHMAN. By WINN STANDISH.

        Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated         $1.50

        This book is typical of the American college boys' life
        and is a lively story.

    GABRIEL AND THE HOUR BOOK

        By EVALEEN STEIN.

        Small quarto, cloth decorative, illustrated and    $1.00
          decorated in colors by Adelaide Everhart

        Gabriel was a loving, patient, little French lad, who
        assisted the monks in the long ago days, when all the
        books were written and illuminated by hand, in the
        monasteries.

        “No works in juvenile fiction contain so many of the
        elements that stir the hearts of children and grown-ups
        as well as do the stories so admirably told by this
        author.”—_Louisville Daily Courier._

    A LITTLE SHEPHERD OF PROVENCE

        By EVALEEN STEIN.

        Cloth, 12mo, illustrated by Diantha H. Marlowe     $1.25

        “The story should be one of the influences in the life
        of every child to whom good stories can be made to
        appeal.”—_Public Ledger._

    THE LITTLE COUNT OF NORMANDY

        By EVALEEN STEIN.

        Cloth, 12mo, illustrated by John Goss              $1.25

        “This touching and pleasing story is told with a wealth
        of interest coupled with enlivening descriptions of the
        country where its scenes are laid and of the people
        thereof.”—_Wilmington Every Evening._

    ALYS-ALL-ALONE

        By UNA MACDONALD.

        Cloth, 12mo, illustrated                           $1.50

        “This is a most delightful, well-written,
        heart-stirring, happy ending story, which will gladden
        the heart of many a reader.”—_Scranton Times._

    ALYS IN HAPPYLAND. A Sequel to “Alys-All Alone.” By UNA
        MACDONALD.

        Cloth, 12mo, illustrated                           $1.50

        “The book is written with that taste and charm that
        prepare younger readers for the appreciation of good
        literature when they are older.”—_Chicago Tribune._


                                  THE
                          Little Cousin Series
                              (TRADE MARK)

           Each volume illustrated with six or more full page
        plates in tint. Cloth, 12mo, with decorative cover, per
                            volume, 60 cents

                             LIST OF TITLES

          BY MARY HAZELTON WADE, MARY F. NIXON-ROULET, BLANCHE
        MCMANUS, CLARA V. WINLOW, FLORENCE E. MENDEL AND OTHERS

                   Our Little African Cousin
                   Our Little Alaskan Cousin
                   Our Little Arabian Cousin
                   Our Little Argentine Cousin
                   Our Little Armenian Cousin
                   Our Little Australian Cousin
                   Our Little Austrian Cousin
                   Our Little Belgian Cousin
                   Our Little Bohemian Cousin
                   Our Little Brazilian Cousin
                   Our Little Bulgarian Cousin
                   Our Little Canadian Cousin
                   Our Little Chinese Cousin
                   Our Little Cuban Cousin
                   Our Little Danish Cousin
                   Our Little Dutch Cousin
                   Our Little Egyptian Cousin
                   Our Little English Cousin
                   Our Little Eskimo Cousin
                   Our Little French Cousin
                   Our Little German Cousin
                   Our Little Grecian Cousin
                   Our Little Hawaiian Cousin
                   Our Little Hindu Cousin
                   Our Little Hungarian Cousin
                   Our Little Indian Cousin
                   Our Little Irish Cousin
                   Our Little Italian Cousin
                   Our Little Japanese Cousin
                   Our Little Jewish Cousin
                   Our Little Korean Cousin
                   Our Little Malayan (Brown) Cousin
                   Our Little Mexican Cousin
                   Our Little Norwegian Cousin
                   Our Little Panama Cousin
                   Our Little Persian Cousin
                   Our Little Philippine Cousin
                   Our Little Polish Cousin
                   Our Little Porto Rican Cousin
                   Our Little Portuguese Cousin
                   Our Little Russian Cousin
                   Our Little Scotch Cousin
                   Our Little Servian Cousin
                   Our Little Siamese Cousin
                   Our Little Spanish Cousin
                   Our Little Swedish Cousin
                   Our Little Swiss Cousin
                   Our Little Turkish Cousin


                       THE LITTLE COUSINS OF LONG
                               AGO SERIES

        The publishers have concluded that a companion series to
        “The Little Cousin Series,” giving the every-day child
        life _of ancient times_ will meet with approval, and
        like the other series will be welcomed by the children
        as well as by their elders. The volumes of this new
        series are accurate both historically and in the
        description of every-day life of the time, as well as
        interesting to the child.

        Small 12mo, cloth, illustrated                       60c

    OUR LITTLE ROMAN COUSIN OF LONG AGO

        By JULIA DARROW COWLES.

    OUR LITTLE ATHENIAN COUSIN OF LONG AGO

        By JULIA DARROW COWLES.


                           THE PHYLLIS SERIES

                         _By LENORE E. MULETS_

        _Each, one volume, cloth decorated, illustrated_   $1.25

                   PHYLLIS' INSECT STORIES
                   PHYLLIS' FLOWER STORIES
                   PHYLLIS' BIRD STORIES
                   PHYLLIS' STORIES OF LITTLE ANIMALS
                   PHYLLIS' STORIES OF BIG ANIMALS
                   PHYLLIS' TREE STORIES
                   PHYLLIS' STORIES OF LITTLE FISHES

        “An original idea cleverly carried out. The volumes
        afford the best kind of entertainment; and the little
        girl heroine of them all will find friends in the girls
        of every part of the country. No juveniles can be
        commended more heartily.”—_St. Louis Globe-Democrat._



                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES


 1. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 4. Superscripts are denoted by a carat before a single superscript
    character or a series of superscripted characters enclosed in curly
    braces, e.g. M^r. or M^{ister}.





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