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The Cat

The Cat image
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There ! nothing very funny in th mewing of a cat, and "under ordinary circumstances t reoeives no other attention thaa an oxpletive or two, with possibly an old boot or a boot-jack fchrown in- or thrown out, to speak inore accurately. But there are times when the voice of (irimalkin seis everybody on thegrin or rtie giggle, a?oording as tbey belong to the gnnning or the giggling sex. You are seated in the stearn car, for instanee. Everything is quiet, or as quiet as anything can be whieh is pounding along at the rate of thirty miles an hour. The passengers are reading their newspapers or their novels, or sleeping over the funny books forwhkh they have foolishly parted with their dimes, when a sudden "miaou" pieróea the startled air. Instan tly e very eye is open, sniiles take the place of frowns and solemnity, andan hysterical giggle comes f toni the two young 1 ad i es in the rearseat The sound arises soaiewhere about midcar, and the headsof the passengers in front swing about in unisón, as if moved by machinery, while the heads of in the rear seats are crancd forward toward the cotninou center of interest. A wumau lili a basket in her lap and a bluh all over her face sits beside a man, apparenlly her husband, while upon the seat fac-ing theui are a little girl and a small boy. The woman is what sho would cali "so flustrated," and holds on to the cover of the basket with the desperation with which a drowning man is said to cling to a straw. Why a drowning man should cling to a straw wheu there are so many things which might prove more eöectual life preservers is not easily explained; however, that is nothingto do rwith the cat, whose head pushes up the cover of the basket, showing two eyes full of wonder and affright, and a mouth that opens at regular intervals to emit a plaintive "miaou." The man pretends not to see or hear the cause of all the commotion. He would have the passengers think him a stranger, not ouly to the cat, but to the woman at his side and the children in front of hira. It is hard, almost impossible, for a man not to be a coward under such circumstances. But his dissembling is a dismal failure. Selfconsciousness is written in every feature of bis agonized visage. His very thoughts, werc it not wicked to do so, could be read by the least discerning passenger in the car. But the children, the little nuisances, they sympathize not with their distressed parents. The diversion is a boon to them. The ride had become monotonous, and the voice of puss is to them a glad evangel. "Pussy, pussy, poor pussy!" says the little girl, coaxingly, reaching forward to caress the house pet. "Be still, Nellie!" says her mother under her breath, at the same time pushing the cat's nose from view and holding ou to the cover tighter than ever. Nellie tries to peer through the chinks of the basket, while Johnny pipes out in his highest treble: "Pa, I want to hold kittv, and ma won't let us look at her! fcit-kit-kit." Pa frowns, says "Johnny" in an authoritative way, and then fixes his eye on the hole through which the bellrope passes over the front door, as though that were tlie only ihlng in thio world which at all interested him. Presently there is a scratching; a bustle, a struggle and "O, ma, kitty's got out!" Au though ma didn't know it ! Tb3 car is alive with excitement. Everjbody is tajking with everybody else, as though they had been scquainted all their lives. "Therft sheis." "Ain't she cuuning?" "Uid you ever?" Such are a few of the more common remarks which are heard on cvery side. Pa, when the cat got out of the basket, was forced to let the cat out of the bag. He was compelled to own his connection with the disturbing element. He junips from his seat, scurries about the car, running this way and then that, chasing puss down the aisle then up again, now reaching under a seat, and now feeling behiud the stove, until he finally grabs puss by the tail, and pulling her in as he would a very heavy tish, he folds her firmly in his arms, and svveating and puffing from his unwonted exercise, he shoves her into the basket with a desperate lunge; and if the ears of the passengers in the seat behind do not deceive them, he says soraething whieh sounds like "Jam the cat!" although that is not exactly what it sounds like, either. Then father, mother and the children sit silent for the rest of the journey. They looked as though some great sorrow had fallen upon the faniily, or as if some great crime had beon committed by some one. Vhen they reached their station they are the cynosure of all eyes. They walk out like crimináis bound for the scaffold. Nobody laughs now. The sceno is too solemn. But none present in tho car will ever forget that cat, and whenever he thinks of her, a smile will come to his face, though he be at the time sufferinsr from anv or all the ills which


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News