Hard luck! No one wants to talk to me. I’m bored and what’s more, I don’t know this carriage well enough. I’m tired out. They woke me very early this morning. I amused myself by running all over the house. They had hidden the chairs under sheets, wrapped up the lamps, rolled up the rugs. Things were white and changed and awful. There was a horrid smell of camphor everywhere. My eyes filled with water, I sneezed under the chairs and slid on the bare floor in my haste to follow the maids’ white aprons. They bustled about among trunks with such unwonted zeal, that I was sure something exceptional was going to happen. At the last minute just as She came in, calling: “Toby’s collar and the cat’s basket! Quick! put the cat in his basket!”—just as she was saying that, my chum disappeared. It was indescribable! He, terrible to see, swore by all the gods, and struck the floor with his cane, furious because they had allowed his Kiki to get away. She called “Kiki!” at first supplicatingly, then in threatening tones, and the maids brought empty plates, meant to deceive, and yellow paper from the butcher’s. I really thought my chum had left this world, when suddenly—there he was perched on top of the book-case, looking down on us with an expression of contempt in his green eyes. She put up her arms: “Kiki will you come down immediately! You are going to make us lose the train!” But he didn’t come down and it made me dizzy—though I was on the ground—to see him way up there walking and turning about and miauling shrilly to tell us how impossible he found it to obey. He was about frantic and kept saying: “Heavens, he’s going to fall.” But She smiled skeptically, went out of the room and came back armed with the whip. The whip said, “crack!” twice only; then a miracle happened I think, ’cause the cat leaped to the floor, softer and more bouncey than our plaything, the ball of wool. I would have broken to pieces falling like that!... He has been in this basket ever since.... (TOBY goes to the basket.) Ah! here’s a little peek-hole.... I see his whiskers ... they’re like white needles. Whew! What eyes! (He jumps back.) I’m rather afraid. One can’t really shut a cat up; he always manages to get out somehow. ... He must suffer, poor fellow! Perhaps if I speak kindly to him ... (he calls very politely) Cat!
KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (spitting furiously)
TOBY-DOG, (jumping back)
Oh, you said a bad word! You look awful! Have you a pain anywhere?
Go away! I’m a martyr.... Go away I tell you, or I’ll blow fire at you!
Why!—Because you’re free, because I’m in this basket, because the basket’s in a foul carriage which is shaking me to pieces, and because the serenity of those two exasperates me.