|Newspaper Title||Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Cat's Nine Lives|
A year went by, and the kitten-named Merina-bad grown into a young eat after - its mother's own heart, a catcher of mice, a
' stalker of willy wag-tails, and the terror of evildoers m tho'possum-line. "The finest . all-round cat in the backyard and a credit
to his "friends," sophey toasted him at the mousing club dinner. But one or two old tabbies said that, to their belief, he'd not come to any good, he was much too ad- venturous, and besides he didn't take his mother's ueath a bit to heart. "I never like to see a young cat Uko that," said one, "all he did was to purr and say he'd keep away from the kitchen in future when they had a new cook about-specially one who kept a bottle of the strange white powder. I wonder what it was? -They say she put nome into that raw meat the poor -dear fthing ate>the same morning. Ah, well, U-ell, it doesn't do to judge a human being. They can't help^being what they are, poor things."
Well, ene day yoting Merina was resting in a corner of the loft after a heavy lunch of corn-fed rat, and musing on cats and things, when he heard a slight dis- turbance in the room below. Being rather interested in human-! beings, he cocked his ears and listened. This is something like what he heard. " The men were talking about the var, and some soldiers they'd seen. «'Fine lot," said Jim. "Splendid," said old Sammy, " my sister's lad, '»wanted to go. And he would 'uv, too, if she'd let him. Fine chap, that. Takes after rae. Got thrown from his 'oree the other day. Not 'urt a bit 1 Seems to have nine lives,
like a cat ! "
Nine lives ! like a cat. Merina crouched down efose.to the crack and listened in- te itly.
"'E'asso," said Jim, "No, though! A cat has only nine lives, some seems to have ninety."
.*' Oh, Vs the dead cnt of 'is old uncle," Bftid Sammy. Then they went on talking
about other things. But Merina didn't listen-to a word-jbe lay thinking away very bard. He was in esetasies at the idea of having to live nine lives. Of course, he believed it, for he knew that human beings never tell stories unless there's someone to tell them to. "Why, I needn't brafraid of the dog or anything now," he said, de- lightedly. Then he wondered how much it .took to use up a life. " I must put it before the mousing club." , .
But when he did put it before the mousing club he was disappointed. They only laughed at him, and old Thomas who led the laugh. "Great Tails,'* he said. " what are you thinking of, old cat ? Why most likely it's only an expression ; a human being's expression.''
Merina, howevor, wasn't convinced; and what made him . angry was, that he didn't know the meaning of the word ex- pression. He arched his back and cocked his tail slightly. .
"Members of the mousing club," he began impressively, and was cut short by the cries of, *.' He's going to make a speech about it !" * Mew it out» old cat, mew it out ! " " Throe purrs for the founder of the «Nine Lives Society!'" ÄPull his tail down for him," said Thomas, and a hardy young mouser named Fluffwhisker suited* the action to tho word. Now Merino, wasn't in a very good temper, so he just turned round, raised his strong right paw, and gave Fluffwhisker what-for on the nose. Immediately there were yells find cheers. "To it."-." Who backs the f oun der." " Use your claws more and your tongues less." " £ti him from behind,
Merina." "Great Tails. Fluffwhisker's down. Give it to him, Merina." " Why you've flattenèd him." " Pick him up, Greystreak."
They jerked him up, half a dozen of them, and stood hinton his feet. " Want to fight again?" asked Merina.
" Can't, you leave mo alone, you ?" said Fluffwhisker. "What's that creature
saying? No, I don't lower myself by a round with you again. If I fight its with somebody who knows how to UBO his claws. Somebody who's as near me in strength as
can be found."
" Yah ! ho's frightened," yelled the club. "Oh, am I" said fluffwhisker.
" Yes, you are," said Merina. . " Look/it the cur." And tho club looked. Fluff- whisker concluded that it would be best to retire as soon as possible. He went out and sat down on the ladder. Merina then went on with his interrupted speech. " Members of the Mousing Club," he said, as he dropped into a sitting position-that was clufb etiquette-" I am convinced that it is my duty to resign. My career here 'seems to be a long battle with old fashioned prejudice. I happen to be more enlightened than my fellow mem- bers: I must leave you. I must go to "-he stopped again, for he wasn't quito sure where he was going to. His cjear'idea was, that when a cat has nine lives, he oughtn't to waste them. But what was he to do do ? Something useful,
but what ?
- " FeUow members," he said, at last, '* we won't dispute. But I ask your advice. You. know my capabilities. Will each member propose some useful work for me " -'All right, stop your row," yelled one; he "was suppressed by the President-"* so that. I may turn my .talents to account and not waste them." "Hasn't got any to waste," came from Fluffwhisker on the ladder.v
/Then the suggestions came in à regular shower. " Start a ' Nine Lives Society * and and I'll be president," " Society for the Reformation oMSuman Beings, and house dogs," then a, last, School of Elementary Mousing for the young."
" Great Tails ! the very thing !" ex- claimed Merina. 1
" Yah 1" said Themas, " not worth while wasting your life over. Who wants you to do anything useful ?"
"All of us are not alike," said Merina..; " If I had but one Ufe, perhaps I should not want to accomplish anything. Nine lives are valuable gifts, and should not be wasted. - Fellow members let me entreat you not to waste yours."
*' At it again !" said Thomas. *' Get your speech over before your stock of long words runs short. How are you going to prove that you've ^föt nine lives. Ah, you ought to have my experience."
(To ie Cotitiniwd.) 1