Cat stories

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Material Information

Title:
Cat stories
Physical Description:
89, 101, 156, 4 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885
Ledyard, Addie ( Illustrator )
Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885
Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885
Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885
Roberts Brothers (Boston, Mass.) ( Publisher )
Publisher:
Roberts Brothers
Place of Publication:
Boston
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Cats -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Human-animal relationships -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pets -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1895   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre:
Children's stories
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Helen Jackson (H.H.) ; Letters from a cat, Mammy Tittleback and her family, Hunter of cats of Connorloa
General Note:
Each story has a separate title page the second dated 1897, and the third dated 1894.
General Note:
Illustrations by Addie Ledyard.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002232099
notis - ALH2489
oclc - 227209854
System ID:
UF00082975:00001


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Full Text





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LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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CAT STORIES.



B\'

HELEN JACKSON (H. H.),
ALiTH:.R *.'F P. .r,,N %" N LLL\'5 iL.E E m.iNL," '* Gi T Ci TALL;," ETC.




LETTERS FROM A CAT.

MA1MMY TITTLEBACK AND HER
FAMILY.

THE HUNTER CATS OF CONNORLOA.




WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.





BOSTON:
ROBERTS BROTHERS.
1895


.4."
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:-4,,..;














INTRODUCTION.


DEAR CHILDREN:

DO not feel wholly
S- sure that my Pussy
% \rote these letters
herself. They al-
ways came inside
the letters written
to me by my mamma, or other friends, and
I never caught Pussy writing at any time
when I was at home; but the printing







INTRODUCTION.


was pretty bad, and they were signed by
Pussy's name; and my mamma always
looked very mysterious when I asked about
them, as if there were some very great
secret about it all; so that until I grew
to be a big girl, I never doubted but that
Pussy printed them all alone by herself,
after dark.
They were written when I was a very
little girl, and was away from home with
my father on a journey. We made this
journey in our own carriage, and it was
one of the pleasantest things that ever
happened to me. My clothes and my
father's were packed in a little leather
valise which was hung by straps under-







INTR OD AUCTION.


neath the carriage, and went swinging,
swinging, back and forth, as the wheels
went round. My father and I used to
walk up all the steep hills, because old
Charley, our horse, was not very strong;
and I kept my eyes on that valise all
the while I was walking behind the car-
riage; it seemed to me the most unsafe
way to carry a valise, and I wished very
much that my best dress had been put in
a bundle that I could carry in my lap.
This was the only drawback on the pleas-
ure of my journey, -my fear that the
valise would fall off when we did not know
it, and be left in the road, and then I should
not have anything nice to wear when I







INTR OD AUCTION.


reached my aunt's house. But the valise
went through all safe, and I had the sat-
isfaction of wearing my best dress every
afternoon while I stayed; and I was foolish
enough to think a great deal of this.
On the fourth day after our arrival came
a letter from my mamma, giving me a
great many directions how to behave, and
enclosing this first letter from Pussy. I
carried both letters in my apron pocket
all the time. They were the first letters
I ever had received, and I was very proud
of them. I showed them to everybody,
and everybody laughed hard at Pussy's,
and asked me if I believed that Pussy
printed it herself. I thought perhaps my







INTRODUCTION. 9


mamma held her paw, with the pen in it,
as she had sometimes held my hand for
me, and guided my pen to write a few
words. I asked papa to please to ask
mamma, in his letter, if that were the way
Pussy did it; but when his next letter
from mamma came, he read me this sen-
tence out of it: Tell Helen I did not
hold Pussy's paw to write that letter."
So then I felt sure Pussy did it herself;
and as I told you, I had grown up to be
quite a big girl before I began to doubt
it. You see I thought my Pussy such a
wonderful Pussy that nothing was too re-
markable for her to do. I knew very well
that cats generally did not know how to







INTR OD AUCTION.


read or write; but I thought there had
never been such a cat in the world as this
Pussy of mine. It is a great many years
since she died; but I can see her before
me to-day as plainly as if it were only
yesterday that I had really seen her alive.
She was a little kitten when I first had
her; but she grew fast, and was very soon
bigger than I wanted her to be. I wanted
her to stay little. Her fur was a beautiful
dark gray color, and there were black
stripes on her sides, like the stripes on a
tiger. Her eyes were very big, and her
ears unusually long and pointed. This
made her look like a fox; and she was so
bright and mischievous that some people







INTRODUCTION.


thought she must be part fox. She used
to do one thing that I never heard of any
other cat's doing: she used to play hide-
and-seek. Did you ever hear of a cat's
playing hide-and-seek? And the most
wonderful part of it was, that she took it
up of her own accord. As soon as she
heard me shut the gate in the yard at noon,
when school was done, she would run up
the stairs as hard as she could go, and
take her place at the top, where she could
just peep through the banisters. When
I opened the door, she would give a funny
little mew, something like the mew cats
make when they call their kittens. Then
as soon as I stepped on the first stair to







INTRODUCTION.


come up to her, she would race away at
the top of her speed, and hide under a
bed; and when I reached the room, there
would be no Pussy to be seen. If I called
her, she would come out from under the
bed; but if I left the room, and went down
stairs without speaking, in less than a min-
ute she would fly back to her post at the
head of the stairs, and call again with the
peculiar mew. As soon as I appeared,
"off she would run, and hide under the bed
as before. Sometimes she would do this
three or four times; and it was a favorite
amusement of my mother's to exhibit this
trick of hers to strangers. It was odd,
though; she never would do it twice, when






INTROD UCTIOX


she observed that other people were watch-
ing. When I called her, and she came out
from under the bed, if there were strangers
looking on, she would walk straight to me
in the demurest manner, as if it were a
pure accident that she happened to be
under that bed; and no matter what I did
or said, her frolic was over for that day.
She used to follow me, just like a little
dog, wherever I went. She followed me
to school every day, and we had great diffi-
culty on Sundays to keep her from follow-
ing us to church. Once she followed me,
when it made a good many people laugh,
in spite of themselves, on an occasion
when it was very improper for them to







INi7R OD AUCTION.


laugh, and they were all feeling very sad.
It was at the funeral of one of the profes-
sors in the college.
The professors' families all sat together;
and when the time came for them to walk
out of the house and get into the carriages
to go to the graveyard, they were called,
one after the other, by name. When it
came to our turn, my father and mother
went first, arm-in-arm; then my sister and
I; and then, who should rise, very gravely,
but my Pussy, who had slipped into the
room after me, and had not been noticed
in the crowd. With a slow and deliberate
gait she walked along, directly behind my
sister and me, as if she were the remaining







IN TR OD UCTIONI


member of the family, as indeed she was,
People began to smile, and as we passed
through the front door, and went down the
steps, some of the men and boys standing
there laughed out. I do not wonder; for
it must have been a very comical sight.
In a second more, somebody sprang for-
ward and snatched Pussy up. Such a
scream as she gave! and scratched his face
with her claws, so that he was glad to put
her down. As soon as I heard her voice,
I turned round, and called her in a low
tone. She ran quickly to me, and I picked
her up and carried her in my arms the rest
of the way. But I saw even my own papa
and mamma laughing a little, for just a







INTR OD AUCTION.


minute. That was the only funeral Pussy
ever attended.
Pussy lived several years after the
events which are related in these
letters.
It was a long time before her fur grew
out again after that terrible fall into the
soft-soap barrel. However, it did grow
out at last, and looked as well as ever.
Nobody would have known that any thing
had been the matter with her, except that
her eyes were always weak. The edges of
them never got quite well; and poor Pussy
used to sit and wash them by the hour;
sometimes mewing and looking up in my
face, with each stroke of her paw on her


I







INTR OD AUCTION.


eyes, as much as to say, "Don't you see
how sore my eyes are? Why don't you
do something for me?"
She was never good for any thing as a
mouser after that accident, nor for very
much to play with. I recollect hearing
my mother say one day to somebody, -
" Pussy was spoiled by her experience in
the cradle. She would like to be rocked
the rest of her days, I do believe; and it
is too funny to see her turn up her nose
at tough beef. It was a pity she ever
got a taste of tenderloin!"
At last, what with good feeding and
very little exercise, she grew so fat that
she was clumsy, and so lazy that she did







INTRODUCTION.


not want to do any thing but lie curled up
on a soft cushion.
She had outgrown my little chair, which
had a green moreen cushion in it, on
which she had slept for many a year, and
of which I myself had very little use,- she
was in it so much of the time. But now
that this was too tight for her, she took
possession of the most comfortable places
she could find, all over the house. Now it
was a sofa, now it was an arm-chair, now. it
was the foot of somebody's bed. But wher-
ever it happened to be, it was sure to be
the precise place where she was in the way,
and the poor thing was tipped headlong
out of chairs, shoved hastily off sofas, and







INTR OD AUCTION. 19


driven off beds so continually, that at last
she came to understand that when she saw
any person approaching the chair, sofa, or
bed on which she happened to be lying,
the part of wisdom for her was to move
away. And it was very droll to see the
injured and reproachful expression with
which she would slowly get up, stretch all
her legs, and walk away, looking for her
next sleeping-place. Everybody in the
house, except me, hated the sight of her;
and I had many a pitched battle with the
servants in her behalf. Even my mother,
who was the kindest human being I ever
knew, got out of patience at last, and said
to me one day:-







INTRODUCTION.


Helen, your Pussy has grown so old
and so fat, she is no comfort to herself,
and a great torment to everybody else.
I think it would be a mercy to kill
her."
"Kill my Pussy!" I exclaimed, and
burst out crying, so loud and so hard
that I think my mother was frightened;
for she said quickly: -
Never mind, dear; it shall not be
done, unless it is necessary. You would
not want Pussy to live, if she were very
uncomfortable all the time."
She isn't uncomfortable," I cried;
" she is only sleepy. If people would
let her alone, she would sleep all day.







IA TR OD UCTION.


It would be awful to kill her. You might
as well kill me!"
After that, I kept a very close eye on
Pussy; and I carried her up to bed with
me every night for a long time.
But Pussy's days were numbered.
One morning, before I was up, my mamma
came into my room, and sat down on the
edge of my bed.
Helen," she said, I have something
to tell you which will make you feel very
badly; but I hope you will be a good
little girl, and not make mamma unhappy
about it. You know your papa and
mamma always do what they think is
the very best thing."







INTR OD AUCTION.


What is it, mamma ? I asked, feel-
ing very much frightened, but never think-
ing of Pussy.
You will never see your Pussy any
more," she replied. "She is dead."
Oh, where is she ?" I cried. What
killed her? Won't she come to life
again? "
No," said my mother; she is
drowned."
Then I knew what had happened.
"Who did it?" was all I said.
Cousin Josiah," she replied ; and
he took great care that Pussy did not
suffer at all. She sank to the bottom
instantly."







INTR OD AUCTION.


"Where did he drown her?" I asked.
"Down by the mill, in Mill Valley,
where the water is very deep," answered
my mother; we told him to take her
there."
At these words I cried bitterly.
"That's the very place I used to go
with her to play," I exclaimed. I '11 never
go near that bridge as long as I live, and
I '11 never speak a word to Cousin Josiah
either never "
My mother tried to comfort me, but
it was of no use; my heart was nearly
broken.
When I went to breakfast, there sat
my cousin Josiah, looking as unconcerned






INTRODUCTION.


as possible, reading a newspaper. He was
a student in the college, and boarded at our
house. At the sight of him all my indigna-
tion and grief broke forth afresh. I began
to cry again; and running up to him, I
doubled up my fist and shook it in his face.
I said I 'd never speak to you as long
as I lived," I cried; "but I will. You 're
just a murderer, a real murderer; that's
what you are! and when you go to be a
missionary, I hope the cannibals '11 eat
you! I hope they'll eat you alive raw,
you mean old murderer!"
Helen Maria!" said my father's voice
behind me, sternly. "Helen Maria! leave
the room this moment!"







INTR OD AUCTION.


I went away sullenly, muttering, I
don't care, he is a murderer; and I hope
he'll be drowned, if he isn't eaten! The
Bible says the same measure ye mete shall
be meted to you again. He ought to be
drowned."
For this sullen muttering I had to go
without my breakfast ; and after break-
fast was over, I was made to beg Cousin
Josiah's pardon ; but I did not beg it
in my heart--not a bit only with my
lips, just repeating the words I was told
to say; and from that time I never spoke
one word to him, nor looked at him, if I
could help it.
My kind mother offered to get another







26 INTR OD AUCTION.


kitten for me, but I did not want one.
After a while, my sister Ann had a present
of a pretty little gray kitten ; but I never
played with it, nor took any notice of it
at all. I was as true to my Pussy as she
was to me; and from that day to this, I
have never had another Pussy












LETTERS FROM A CAT.


I.
MY DEAR HELEN:
That is what your mother calls
you, I know, for I jumped up on
her writing-table just now, and
looked, while she was out of the
room; and I am sure I have as
much right to call you so as she
has, for if you were my own little
kitty, and looked just like me, I
could not love you any more than






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


I do. How many good naps I
have had in your lap! and how
many nice bits of meat you have
saved for me out of your own din-
ner Oh, I '11 never let a rat, or a
mouse, touch any thing of yours so
long as I live.
I felt very unhappy after you
drove off yesterday, and did not
know what to do with myself. I
went into the barn, and thought I
would take a nap on the hay, for
I do think going to sleep is one of
the very best things for people who
are unhappy; but it seemed so
lonely without old Charlie stamping
in his stall that I could not bear it,


















































"I felt very unhappy after you drove off yesterday."
PAGE 28.






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 29

so I went into the garden, and lay
down under the damask rose-bush,
and caught flies. There is a kind
of fly round that bush which I like
better than any other I ever ate.
You ought to see that there is a
very great difference between my
catching flies and your doing it. I
have noticed that you never eat
them, and I have wondered that
when you were always so kind to
me you could be so cruel as to kill
poor flies for nothing: I have often
wished that I could speak to you
about it: now that your dear mother
has taught me to print, I shall be
able to say a great many things to





LETTERS FROM A CAT.


you which I have often been un-
happy about because I could not
make you understand. I am en-
tirely discouraged about learning to
speak the English language, and I
do not think anybody takes much
trouble to learn ours; so we cats
are confined entirely to the society
of each other, which prevents our
knowing so much as we might; and
it is very lonely too, in a place where
there are so few cats kept as in
Amherst. If it were not for Mrs.
Hitchcock's cat, and Judge Dickin-
son's, I should really forget how to
use my tongue. When you are at
home I do not mind it, for although






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


I cannot talk to you, I understand
every word that you say to me, and
we have such good plays together
with the red ball. That is put away
now in the bottom drawer of the
little workstand in the sitting-room.
When your mother put it in, she
turned round to me, and said, "Poor
pussy, no more good plays for you
till Helen comes home!" and I
thought I should certainly cry. But
I think it is very foolish to cry over
what cannot be helped, so I pretend-
ed to have got something into my
left eye, and rubbed it with my paw.
It is very seldom that I cry over
any thing, unless it is "spilt milk."






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


I must confess, I have often cried
when that has happened: and it
always is happening to cats' milk.
They put it into old broken things
that tip over at the least knock, and
then they set them just where they
are sure to be most in the way.
Mary's the time Josiah has knocked
over that blue saucer of mine, in the
shed, and when you have thought
that I had had a nice breakfast of
milk, I had nothing in the world
but flies, which are not good for
much more than just a little sort
of relish. I am so glad of a
chance to tell you about this,
because I know when you come

















It IJII -______________________


" I hope you found the horse-chestnuts which I put in the carriage for you, I had
a dreadful time climbing up over the dasher with them." PAGE 33.






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 33

home you will get a better dish
for me.
I hope you found the horse-
chestnuts which I put in the bot-
tom of the carriage for you. I
could not think of any thing else to
put in, which would remind you of
me: but I am afraid you will never
think that it was I who put them
there, and it will be too bad if you
don't, for I had a dreadful time
climbing up over the dasher with
them, and both my jaws are quite
lame from stretching them so, to
carry the biggest ones I could find.
There are three beautiful dan-
delions out on the terrace, but I






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


don't suppose they will keep till
you come home. A man has been
doing something to your garden, but
though I watched him very closely
all the time, I could not make out
what he was about. I am afraid it
is something you will not like; but
if I find out more about it, I will
tell you in my next letter. Good
by.
Your affectionate Pussy.



7. --. :,_
















I do wish that you and your
father would turn around directly,
wherever you are, when you get this
letter, and come home as fast as you
can. If you do not come soon there
will be no home left for you to
come into. I am so frightened and
excited, that my paws tremble, and I
have upset the ink twice, and spilled
so much that there is only a little
left in the bottom of the cup, and






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


it is as thick as hasty pudding; so
you must excuse the looks of this
letter, and I will tell you as quickly
as I can about the dreadful state of
things here. Not more than an
hour after I finished my letter to
you, yesterday, I heard a great noise
in the parlor, and ran in to see what
was the matter. There was Mary
with her worst blue handkerchief
tied over her head, her washing-day
gown on, and a big hammer in her
hand. As soon as she saw me, she
said, "There 's that cat! Always
in my way," and threw a cricket at
me, and then shut the parlor door
with a great slam. So I ran out






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


and listened under the front win-
dows, for I felt sure she was in
some bad business she did not want
to have known. Such a noise I
never heard: all the things were
being moved; and in a few minutes,
what do you think out came the
whole carpet right on my head! I
was nearly stifled with dust, and felt
as if every bone in my body must
be broken; but I managed to creep
out from under it, and heard Mary
say, "If there isn't that torment of
a cat again! I wish to goodness
Helen had taken her along!"
Then I felt surer than ever that
some mischief was on foot; and I






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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



























g
~~i-2 ~
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*n~k~jLs 3:~.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 39

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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














































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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






42 LETTERS FROM A CAT.

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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

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







-- 0^: -.i--'






III.

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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













-='I-- -
I/'



'a''

i~4:z-~.-


I,., '.:
.- ~-t----


" They have brought with them a splendid black cat whose name is Casar, and everybody is talking
about him. He has the handsomest whiskers I ever saw." PAGE 46.

1


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;a 4~"~"~-~:
~t













IV.

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


enough to be sorry that I should
have had such a terrible fright for
nothing.
It went on from bad to worse
for three more days after I wrote
you. Your mother did not come
home; and the awful Irishwoman
was here all the time. I did not
dare to go near the house, and I do
assure you I nearly starved: I used
to lie under the rose-bushes, and
watch as well as I could what was
going on: now and then I caught
a rat in the barn, but that sort of
hearty food never has agreed with
me since I came to live with you,
and became accustomed to a lighter





LETTERS FROM A CAT. 49

diet. By the third day I felt too
weak and sick to stir: so I lay still
all day on the straw in Charlie's
stall; and I really thought, between
the hunger and the anxiety, that I
should die. About noon I heard
Mary say in the shed, "I do believe
that everlasting cat has taken herself
off: it's a good riddance anyhow,
but I should like to know what has
become of the plaguy thing! "
I trembled all over, for if she
had come into the barn I know one
kick from her heavy foot would
have killed me, and I was quite too
weak to run away. Towards night
I heard your dear mother's voice






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT


room, which looks just as nice as
the sitting-room. After breakfast
Mrs. Hitchcock came in, and your
mother said: "Only think, how for-
tunate I am; Mary did all the
house-cleaning while I was away.
Every room is in perfect order;
all the woollen clothes are put
away for the summer. Poor pussy,
here, was frightened out of the
house, and I suppose we should
all have been if we had been at
home."
Can you imagine how ashamed
I felt ? I ran under the table and
did not come out again until after
Mrs. Hitchcock had gone. But now


























































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


__












































































































































































































*111 I''
















_______ _________ '


SI knew that there was no time to be lost if I meant to catch that robin, so I





ran with all my might and tried to jump through." PAGE 55.






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT 57

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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

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



_ky~~S













V.

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


so unhappy. But now that it is all
over, and I am in a fair way to be
soon as well as ever, I think you
will like to hear the whole story.
In my last letter I told you
about the new black cat, Caesar,
who had come to live in the Nelson
house, and how anxious I was to
know him. As soon as my nose
was fit to be seen, Judge Dickin-
son's cat, who is a good, hospitable
old soul, in spite of her stupidity,
invited me to tea, and asked him
too. All the other cats were asked
to come later in the evening, and we
had a grand frolic, hunting rats
in the Judge's great barn. Caesar



























..". I
-'- ], .,..

















"Judge Dickinson's cat, who is a good hospitable old soul, in spite of her stupidity, invited
me to tea, and asked Casar too." PAGE 60.














































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






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 61

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






62 LETTERS FROM A CAT.

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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


64






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 65

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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


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









































































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


__






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


who came running out of her bed-
room with her tin candlestick and a
chair in her hand, thinking that rob-
bers were breaking in. At last your
dear mother said, Poor pussy, it is
too bad to laugh at you, when you
are in such pain" (I had been think-
ing so for some time). "Mary,
bring the small washtub. The only
thing we can do is to wash her."
When I heard this, I almost
wished they had left me to drown
in the soft soap; for if there is any
thing of which I have a mortal
dread, it is water. However, I was
too weak to resist; and they plunged
me in all over, into the tub full of ice-






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


cold water, and Mary began to rub
me with her great rough hands, which,
I assure you, are very different from
yours and your- mother's. Then
they all laughed again to see the
white lather it made; in two min-
utes the whole tub was as white as
the water under the mill-wheel that
you and I have so often been together
to see. You can imagine how my
eyes smarted. I burnt my paws
once in getting a piece of beefsteak
out of the coals where it had fallen
off the gridiron, but the pain of that
was nothing to this. You will
hardly believe me when I tell you
that they had to empty the tub and






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


fill it again ten times before the soap
was all washed out of my fur. By
that time I was so cold and ex-
hausted, that I could not move, and
they began to think I should die.
But your mother rolled me up in
one of your old flannel petticoats,
and made a nice bed for me behind
the stove. By this time even Mary
began to seem sorry for me, though
she was very cross at first, and hurt
me much more than she need to
in- washing me; now she said,
" You're nothing but a poor beast
of a cat, to be sure; but it's mesilf
that would be sorry to have the little
mistress come back, and find ye






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


kilt." So you see your love for
me did me service, even when you
were so far away. I doubt very
much whether they would have ever
taken the trouble to nurse me
through this sickness, except for your
sake. But I must leave the rest for
my next letter. I am not strong
enough yet to write more than two
hours at a time.
Your affectionate Pussy.














VI.

MY DEAR HELEN:
I will begin where I left off in
my last letter.
As you may imagine, I did not
get any sleep that night, not even
so much as a cat's nap, as people say,
though how cat's naps differ from
men's and women's naps, I don't
know. I shivered all night, and it
hurt me terribly whenever I moved.
Early in the morning your grand-






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


father came downstairs, and when
he saw how I looked, he swore
again, that same oath: we all know
very well what it means when he
swears in that way: it means that
he is going to do all he can for you,
and is so sorry, that he is afraid of
seeming too sorry. Don't you re-
member when you had that big
double tooth pulled out, and he gave
you five dollars, how he swore then ?
Well, he took me up in his arms,
and carried me into the dining-room;
it was quite cool; there was a nice
wood fire on the hearth, and Mary
was setting the table for breakfast.
He said to her in a very gruff voice,






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 75

"Here you, Mary, you go up into
the garret and bring down the
cradle."
Sick as I was, I could not help
laughing at the sight of her face.
It was enough to make any cat
laugh.
"You don't ever mean to say, sir,
as you're going to put that cat into
the cradle."
You do as I tell you," said he,
in that most awful tone of his, which
always makes you so afraid. I felt
afraid myself, though all the time
he was stroking my head, and saying,
"Poor pussy, there, poor pussy, lie
still." In a few minutes Mary






76 LETTERS FROM A CAT.

came down with the cradle, and set
it down by the fire with such a bang
that I wondered it did not break.
You know she always bangs things
when she is cross, but I never could
see what good it does. Then your
grandfather made up a nice bed in
the cradle, out of Charlie's winter
blanket and an old pillow, and laid
me down in it, all rolled up as I was
in your petticoat. When your
mother came into the room she
laughed almost as hard as she did
when she saw me in the soft-soap
barrel, and said, "Why, father, you
are rather old to play cat's cradle!"
The old gentleman laughed at this,
























































Then your grandfather made up a nice bed in the cradle, and laid
me down in it." PAGE 76.


_ ~~ ___






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 77

till the tears ran down his red cheeks.
"Well," he said, "I tell you one
thing; the game will last me till
that poor cat gets well again." Then
he went upstairs, and brought down
a bottle of something very soft and
slippery, like lard, and put it on my
eyes, and it made them feel much
better. After that he gave me some
milk into which he had put some
of his very best brandy: that was
pretty hard to get down, but I
understood enough of what they
had said, to be sure that if I did
not take something of the kind I
should never get well. After break-
fast I tried to walk, but my right






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


paw was entirely useless. At first
they thought it was broken, but
finally decided that it was only
sprained, and must be bandaged.
The bandages were wet with some-
thing which smelled so badly it
made me feel very sick, for the first
day or two. Cats' noses are much
more sensitive to smells than people's
are; but I grew used to it, and it
did my poor lame paw so much
good that I would have borne it if
it had smelled twice as badly. For
three days I had to lie all the time
in the cradle: if your grandfather
caught me out of it, he would swear
at me, and put me back again.






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


Every morning he put the soft white
stuff on my eyes, and changed the
bandages on my leg. And, oh, my
dear Helen, such good things as I
had to eat! I had almost the same
things for my dinner that the rest
of them did: it must be a splendid
thing to be a man or a woman! I
do not think I shall ever again be
contented to eat in the shed, and
have only the old pieces which no-
body wants.
Two things troubled me very
much while I was confined to the
cradle: one was that everybody who
came in to see your mother laughed
as if they never could stop, at the






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


first sight of me; and the other was
that I heard poor Caesar mewing
all around the house, and calling me
with all his might; and I knew he
thought I was dead. I tried hard
to make your kind mother notice
his crying, for I knew she would be
willing to let him come in and see
me, but I could not make her under-
stand. I suppose she thought it
was only some common strolling cat
who was hungry. I have always
noticed that people do not observe
any difference between one cat's
voice and another's; now they really
are just as different as human voices.
Caesar has one of the finest, deepest-












































" One day he slipped in between the legs of the butcher boy, but before I had time to say a
word to him, Mary flew at him with the broom." PAGE SI.






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


toned voices I ever heard. One
day, after I got well enough to be in
the kitchen, he slipped in, between
the legs of the butcher's boy who
was bringing in some meat; but
before I had time to say one word
to him, Mary flew at him with the
broom, and drove him out. How-
ever, he saw that I was alive, and
that was something. I am afraid
it will be some days yet before I
can see him again, for they do not
let me go out at all, and the band-
ages are not taken off my leg.
The cradle is carried upstairs, and
I sleep on Charlie's blanket behind
the stove. I heard your mother






LETTERS FROM A CAT.


say to-day that she really believed
the cat had the rheumatism. I do
not know what that is, but I think
I have got it: it hurts me all over
when I walk, and I feel as if I
looked like Bill Jacobs's -old cat,
who, they say, is older than the old-
est man in town; but of course that
must be a slander.
The thing I am most concerned
about is my fur; it is coming off in
spots: there is a bare spot on the
back of my neck, on the place by
which they lifted me up out of the
soap barrel, half as large as your
hand; and whenever I wash my-
self, I get my mouth full of hairs,






LETTERS FROM A CAT. 83

which is very disagreeable. I heard
your grandfather say to-day, that he
believed he would try Mrs. Some-
body's Hair Restorer on the cat, at
which everybody laughed so that
I ran out of the room as fast as I
could go, and then they laughed
still harder. I will write you again
in a day or two, and tell you how
I am getting on. I hope you will
come home soon.
Your affectionate Pussy.







V1 .
: I'
__ ,l .t_..- _- ..._. --| '- I




VII.

MY DEAR HELEN:
I am so glad to know that you
are coming home next week, that
I cannot think of any thing else.
There is only one drawback to my
pleasure, and that is, I am so
ashamed to have you see me in such
a plight. I told you, in my last
letter, that my fur was beginning to
come off. Your grandfather has
tried several things of his, which are