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cats A Feline Fantasy

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I've a very great longing for a sweet juicy robin; what do you say to catching one or two, you old moon-gazer?"

Whitey gave Mr. Twinkletoes Black a playful chuck under the chin, skipped gleefully across the moonlit roof and back, and sat down sociably by him, before that leisurely pussy turned his head to look scornfully at the youthful—I almost said "speaker," but as all of their conversation is in cat language perhaps "mewer" would be more exact.

"You foolish kitten! Who ever caught a robin in December?"

"My dear boy!"—Twinkletoes' tone made Whitey think he was anything but a dear boy—"When you've lived three years as I have (Whitey was just ten months old) you'll know December when you—er—feel it! It's apt to be cool, and snow—Ugh! Horrid stuff, it is; white—sticks to your feet you know; wet!—" The fussy Mr. Black shook a dainty paw at the very thought, while Whitey listened eagerly, so that the next time he would know how December felt.

"There's one nice thing about it," added Twinkletoes: "the nights are long, and one has time to sing—and sing! One could—"

"Why can't one, Twinky?" asked Whitey hopefully.

"Oh, we might try, but—er—well, bootjacks, you know, hair-brushes, old shoes!—but it's very good exercise, this dodging."

"You said singing," corrected Whitey, rather puzzled. He didn't "know," but never having sung on roofs it was new and sounded thrilling. "Come on," he urged; "let's!" They started in, and their voices rose into awful sleep-destroying discords: "R-r-r-i-ah—M-m-r-r-riee—Mer-r-r-row!" Louder and more banshee-like grew the noise till the expected missiles began to arrive.

Twinkletoes Black was an expert dodger and skipped gracefully from place to place, avoiding the brushes and bottles that dropped from the windows of the tall apartment house next door.

Whitey had retired, silent, after the first old slipper landed heavily on his tail; but he was admiring Mr. Black's prowess with his whole heart. Nevertheless he was glad when the excitement was over with the "song," and they settled down by the chimney once more. The crisp air made him hungry, and again his thoughts turned birdward.

"Let's get some sparrows then," he said, as if there had been no interruption since birds were spoken of. "The early bird, you know, and it will

be 'early' if we sit up much later. I never saw an early bird myself, but I suppose there are such things. I prefer a morning nap after these nights on. Haven't much use for early birds, usually." (To hear Whitey talk one would have thought he spent every night singing to the moon—this was his first!)

"Not a bad idea, for a youngster," said Twinkletoes pleasantly.

The two edged a little nearer the warm bricks and waited, purring a bumble-y duet to pass the time. "Just look at that moon!" sighed Twinkletoes, still musically inclined. "Got whiskers or something, hasn't it?" asked Whitey staring curiously at the illuminated clock-face. Where he sat the moon was hidden by the chimney and invisible to him.

"And it's sitting down on the tower!"

Stretching his neck excitedly that he might better see what made it act so, he caught sight of the real moon and instantly subsided into the meekest pussy that ever roamed a roof. "I—I don't understand December moons very well," he apologized.

"So I see," Twinkletoes replied. "But how about your early birds? Hello! Your moon's whiskers say that it's after five o'clock, and that's not early for birds. Now that I think of it, I don't believe they get up till later—at least in December." Whitey was tired—this was the "last straw." "Early birds!" he snorted, "early fiddlesticks! after five o'clock—just shows how much a cat may believe!" And he started home. Mr. Twinkletoes followed lazily, observing calmly, "I think the early milkman will be good enough for me!"

The cats had just been punished for trying to catch the canary and were cross because of it.

On their way downstairs Topsy, without meaning to, brushed against Pan—properly named Great Panjandrum because of his superior manner—who promptly spat at her. As a return compliment, Topsy boxed his ears, then scuttled off to the living-room.

Pan stalked into the library and choosing, cat-like, the one spot he should have kept away from, curled up on a handsome book that was lying open on the table and forgot his troubles in sleep. For some time Topsy wandered aimlessly from room to room; then preferring Pan's society to no society at all—she did not feel kindly towards human beings since her late whipping—she leaped lightly on to the table and curled up near him. For fully half an hour she sat idly with half-closed eyes, while Pan slept on, a perfect picture of innocent slumber. Then his paws began to jerk excitedly; his mouth twitched, and the tip of his tail waved like a pennant in a stiff breeze. Topsy eyed him coldly.

M'yow! m'yow-yow!" he gasped; his paws slipped from the book to the table; and he awoke with a start.

"Pretty faces you've been making!" snapped Topsy. "And such talk—"

Pan seemed surprised; then he remembered that Topsy had had the worst of the punishment and suddenly felt very forbearing. (He'd had a delightful "cat-nap," and we all know how refreshing those are!)

"I dreamed—" he began; then paused impassively for questions.

"Guess you did," sniffed Topsy. "You acted like it!"

Pan looked grieved but remembered—it was such a good nap he had!—that when cats have trouble they are apt to be "catty."

"Dreamed"—he went on calmly—"that I had that yellow squalling thing on the floor, and I was just going to put my paw on its soft feathers when I awoke." He licked his chops dreamily at the thought.

My!" sympathized Topsy, at last interested.

"Come to think of it, Tops, I'm hungry! And er-er—well, you know Mistress doesn't always feed us heartily after—um—well—after, you know."

Topsy bobbed the end of her tail understandingly, and Pan grew confidential. "I know where's a dish of cream! It's down—"

The rest of the sentence was whispered so low that I really couldn't tell you what it was; but Topsy understood, and the two hurried away as noiselessly and gracefully,—yes, and as dignifiedly as only cats can hurry.

The desired cream they found on a high shelf in the shed. They were supposed never to enter this place, so Cook had thought it a safe spot in which to set the cream.

A strong jump was needed to reach the shelf; but after several attempts they managed it and lapped, lapped, lapped to their full content.

As they sat blissfully purring after this unusual treat they heard a plaintive "Mew" from the ground close by, and peering down saw a strange cat that had evidently entered through the open window, as they had done. He looked hungry and wistful, while they had just had a delicious meal and were correspondingly pleasant.

"Mrr-ow! Come on up; it's good!" called Pan.

Possibly hunger made the leap easier for this new-comer than for the well-fed cats; possibly he was more agile than they, for with one spring he landed by the saucer and dipping his head eagerly lapped long and fast before he once raised his eyes

 

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