He was never allowed to fly about the dining room during meals, and the table maid drove him out before she set the table. It always annoyed him, and he perched on the staircase, watching the door through the railings. If it was left open for an instant, he flew in. One evening, before tea, he did this. There was a chocolate cake on the sideboard, and he liked the look of it so much that he began to peck at it. Mrs. Montague happened to come in, and drove him back to the hall.
While she was having tea that evening, with her husband and little boy, Barry flew into the room again. Mrs. Montague told Charlie to send him out, but her husband said, “Wait, he is looking for something.”
He was on the sideboard, peering into every dish, and trying to look under the covers. “He is after the chocolate cake,” exclaimed Mrs Montague. “Here, Charlie, put this on the staircase for him.”
She cut off a little scrap, and when Charlie took it to the hall, Barry flew after him, and ate it up.
As for poor, little, lame Dick, Carl never sold him, and he became a family pet. His cage hung in the parlor, and from morning till night his cheerful voice was heard, chirping and singing as if he had not a trouble in the world. They took great care of him. He was never allowed to be too hot or too cold. Everybody gave him a cheerful word in passing his cage, and if his singing was too loud, they gave him a little mirror to look at himself in. He loved this mirror, and often stood before it for an hour at a time.
* * * * *
MALTA, THE CAT
The first time I had a good look at the Morris cat, I thought she was the queerest-looking animal I had ever seen. She was dark gray—just the color of a mouse. Her eyes were a yellowish green, and for the first few days I was at the Morrises’ they looked very unkindly at me. Then she got over her dislike and we became very good friends. She was a beautiful cat, and so gentle and affectionate that the whole family loved her.
She was three years old, and she had come to Fairport in a vessel with some sailors, who had gotten her in a far-away place. Her name was Malta, and she was called a maltese cat.
I have seen a great many cats, but I never saw one as kind as Malta. Once she had some little kittens and they all died. It almost broke her heart. She cried and cried about the house till it made one feel sad to hear her. Then she ran away to the woods. She came back with a little squirrel in her mouth, and putting it in her basket, she nursed it like a mother, till it grew old enough to run away from her.
She was a very knowing cat, and always came when she was called. Miss Laura used to wear a little silver whistle that she blew when she wanted any of her pets. It was a shrill whistle, and we could hear it a long way from home. I have seen her standing at the back door whistling for Malta, and the pretty creature’s head would appear somewhere—always high up, for she was a great climber, and she would come running along the top of the fence, saying, “Meow, meow,” in a funny, short way.