KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (as soon as there’s question of himself)
HE, (tenderly and eagerly)
Come my beautiful Kiki, my imprisoned one, come. You shall have cold roast-beef and some breast of chicken ...
(He opens the prison basket and KIKI puts forth his head, flattened on top like that of a serpent; then his long, striped body, cautiously, and so very slowly that one begins to think it’s coming out by the yard.)
Ah, there you are, cat! Well, now, proclaim your freedom!
(KIKI, without replying, smoothes his ruffled fur.)
Proclaim your freedom I tell you! It’s the custom. Whenever a door is opened one must run, jump, twist oneself into half circles and cry out.
One? Who’s one, pray?
KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (seated and very dignified)
Would you have me bark, too?... We have never followed the same rules of conduct, that I know of.
Oh very well, I don’t insist. How do you like this carriage?
KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (sniffing fastidiously)
It’s frightful.—However, the cushions are rather good for one’s nails.
(He suits the action to the word.)
Now if I did that ...
KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (continuing to scratch the upholstery)
Hon! May this spongy, gray cloth soothe my rage!... Since morning, the whole universe has been in a state of monstrous revolt. He whom I love, and who venerates me, made not the least effort to defend me. I’ve submitted to humiliating contacts, been jolted to death, piercing whistles have shot through my head from ear to ear. Ho, ho, how good it is to relax the nerves and to imagine that, with gleeful claws, one tears the enemies’ flesh in bloody shreds! Ho, ho! S-c-r-a-t-c-h, and lift the paws on high! Lift them high as possible! It’s a supremely insolent gesture....
I say, Kiki, when are you going to stop that?
HE, (Indulgent and admiring)
Let him alone. He’s doing his nails.
He has spoken for me. I forgive him. But since it’s allowed, I don’t care any more about tearing the cushions ... When will I get out of this? Not that I’m afraid; they are both there, and the dog too, with their everyday faces ... I’ve twinges in my stomach.
(He yawns. The train stops. A conductor on the platform cries, “Aw-ll a-bor! Aw-ll a-b-o-r-r!!")