Chapter 33185706

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33185706
Full Date1900-05-12
Page Number52
Corrections0
Word Count1269
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleThe Cat's Nine Lives
article text

1

¿ {BY "AUNT MAÂT/'Î '

£ Any contributions sent forchis part of the paper should be written jw one side of the papor only and should be addressed: "Aunt Mary, WESTERN MA.«. Office; St. Geörge's-terraoe, Perth."]

THE CATS NINE LIVES. " |

BT U.C. EGERTON WARBURTON.

Chapter TH.

Then Groystreak rose, and sprang lightly on his stump. " Mr. Murina," he said, as soon as he got his balance. " We feel we were not mistaken in our estimate of your courage. Toa are one of those cats who are willing to provo what they say. Such are rare. Believe me, you will one day become a great cat. You possess courage, as your dauntless bearing, to-day proves. You have prudence j before enter- ing on a career you would find out whether it is worth your while. You have genius;

who amongst; us to-day, my friends" down j

to the youngest kitteu, does not know the ' great Murina'B prowess in the hunting ground, his strength of claw, his sharpness of tooth, his perfection in every branch of the great art of. mousing ? And -when we turn to the sister art of wagtail stalking -" But here tho M.C. whispered in. his ear: "For goodness sake stop, old cat! Young Frisk won't be able to bold the rats much longer." And Frisk certainly was having a time of it. So Greystreak ended up with : " Ah Î friends, what are empty me we ? I am overcome by my feelings, and you, I know, share my emotion. Enough ! Our esteemed friend, Miss Jean scoot, will now lead the song, ' I'm but a backyard kit;' Mr. Murina, I trust, is ready ?"

Amid deafening applause, and with the discordant yelling of Miss Jeanscoot's pupils in his ears, Murina stepped forward to tho water's edge. Then tho weight was

fastened on, the M.C. said " Now J" and he , felt himself tossed into the air, and dropped down till the awful ice-cold- ripples closed over his ears, till his feet wore jammed in the sticky bottom.

And then-"Oh! help, help! Mercy!" Oh, what a fool he bad been ! IC he had only known the water would feel like this ! And that awful sound in his ears. Couldn't

ha do anything ? In his terror it was im- possible to unloose himself.

At last his desperate strength prevailed, and his head jerked suddenly back. He %as free-free of that awful*- maddening weight. He couldn't think« but he knew he couldn't" stay. The excited'gathering

on the bank saw. a frantic disturbance in the water, and Marina-gifted, courageous, dauntless Murina-dashed wildly up the bank, and sank, spluttering and gasping, on tho ground.

For one* moment every cat stood stock still, too flabbergasted to move. Then, in one wild burst of rage and contempt, they

flunt? them uDon noor Murina. A cat.

forsooth ? Oh, the craven, the miserable, ?paltry coward, to fly thus from the water before a minute, or a half miaute, had gone. Was it for this that every cat had paid down his mouse-tail, and for a whole day left the birds and rats in peace ? Ven- geance ! "Daly let them get at him. Each cat hungered to deal the first blow. It was Fluff whisker who succeeded in doing so. Thomas and Miss Jeansooot (wh^feU into hysterics and started a series of yells) were the only ones who held back.

And what difference could they makeP Two_ minutes after the first onslaught Marina had passed ia his checks. Five minutes after, the crowd's thirst for re- venge was satisfied. They came down

upon their feet, the tumult died away, and ' there was almost silence. What had they been doing ? Every cat looked round him, and at the tom, draggled thing that had .been Mutina. There was an " Oh-bow wicked-we-are""lookoa their faces.

At last Thomas shook himself together and broke the silence. " Do you seo what you've . done ?". he demanded .fiercely.

*' You've killed him."

There was a murmur of self-defence in

the crowd, and'the president «aid defiantly, " Didn't he deserve it, slipping us up like this? And mo making speeches and all !"

" Oh, you !" said Thomas, " who was praising Murina so just now ? Why, the MC. had to stop you."

Just hero Fluff whisker pushed his way up,, with a glance round to silence them, for everybody was arguing about who had clawed tho worst.

"Ladies and gentlemen, kindly listen to ? me. I am Master of Ceremonies," he said.

"Yes; appointed by Murina," said Thomas, " and you've fulfilled your official dutipe well. You had the first scratch, and the others followed suit."

" Appointed by Murina. We must not judge him too harshly, v He failed ia what took a lot of courage to attempt. Anyhow, he has proved that no cat has nine lives."

"You battered enough to knock out ninety lives," said Thomas energetically. "I believe* you bad a grudge against

him."

"lt will be best to close the subject for ever," said Fluffwhisker hurriedly, "and the wisest way to do that" will ba to bury him straight away. The least we can do

is to give him an impressive funeral at. once. Who seconds the motion ?"

Everybody did. Every cat raised his paw and said "Eight " immediately.

They thought lt would be a sort of com . peusation-a kind of apology. They would have cheered Fluffwhisker if the occasion baxln't been such a serious one.

Well, a cal's idea of a funeral generally is to drag the subject by the tail to a con- venient hole, throw him in, and march back asain singing some appropriate song. Then they have a feast, trying to eat as many mice as the deceased demolished in his lifetime. Theso aro provided by. his

relations.

Everybody wanted to have a claw to help drag Murían, to tho pond, which they thought would be the most fitting place.

There was a universal maw of sympathy as.

.We liódy »toöd- i^^^^b^u^:9i : joy' «¿cl( :

excitement and-pride. And his dreams of fame and glory aa the mousing art hadn't come to anything^- not «yen ashes-for they wouldn't remember him more'than one week in tho barn.

Next they marched round and round the pond singing, " No more will be a-mousing go," while Fluffwbisker ordered Frisk to kill his team of rats-there being no mice handy-and bring them up for the funeral

feast at once.

Ten minutes later it began. Fluff whisker, as chief mourner, ate the largest number of rats. He was callous or philo- sophical, and could learn to control his feelings. Afterwards the president made speeches ' about the late Murina. They were just a little bit more surprising than

his former one. Then Miss Jeanscoot

started the song again, in which every- body joined, singing the first line regret- fully, " No more will he a-mousiag go," and the third, " A cruel claw has laid him low," with a shame-faced look:

But at the last verse all stopped dead.

What was that? " Sool 'em, boy ! At "em . Coasar!" The line, "Nor hunt the corn fed' rat," died away into wild mews of terror, as each and every cat sprang up and

bolted for dear life. Only the M.C. tripped - and fell as he jumped down from his stone.

And next day, from the loft window, old Thomas watched Jim peg out a grey-and

white catskin.

(THE EKD.)

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