TOBY-DOG, (in a frenzy) I do dare! Bow-wow-wow! Ha, cat! ha, cat!
(KIKI-THE-DEMURE, exasperated, gives a spring and hangs on the table-cloth, slowly dragging it down. A lamp and various things fall to the ground. Terrified silence. The two animals, crouching under an arm-chair, await punishment.)
HE appears at the study door, holding a pen, like a bit, between his teeth.
Thunder and blitzen! What is it now? This cursed menagerie has overturned everything! Where’s your Mistress? What a place this is to be sure! Dinner never on time!... (etc., etc., etc....)
(The two guilty ones, who well know the harmlessness of such outbursts, laugh quietly to themselves and lying flat as bed-room slippers, look at one another through the fringes of the chair. The garden gate opens.
SHE comes in carrying a basket, full of fragrant plums; her hands are sticky from their sugariness, her hair tumbled. SHE stands horrified, before the disaster.)
Oh! They’ve been fighting again, have they? (Without conviction.) Dear me, what nasty creatures! I’ll give them away! I’ll sell them!!—I’ll kill them!!! (But the cat and dog, groveling in exaggerated humility, crawl up to her, and speak together.)
Purr-rr-rr!...There you are!...It’s very late ...Toby attacked me; it’s he who’s broken everything. I believe he went mad from hunger.... You smell good, of grass and the twilight. You sat down on some wild thyme. Come!...Tell your Master to carry me on his shoulder—the meat will be overdone, I’m afraid. You’ll carve the chicken very quickly, won’t you, and you’ll keep the browned skin for me? If you wish I’ll stretch out my paw like a spoon, which knows how to take up the littlest morsels, and carry them to my mouth with that human gesture that makes you laugh so—you and He.... Come!
TOBY-DOG Hiii ... hiii ... there you are at last! I’m so unhappy when you’re away. You banished me ... you didn’t love me ... The lamp fell down all by itself ... Come! I’m awfully hungry, but I’ll gladly go without dinner, if you’ll promise to take me with you always wherever you go ... yes, even out in the twilight, though it makes me sad, I’ll willingly follow you there ... my nose close, close to the hem of your dress....
SHE, (disarmed and quite indifferent to the cataclysm)
Do look how pretty they are!
A bed-room in the country-house; autumnal sunshine filters in through closed blinds. SHE lies on a couch, apparently asleep, dressed in a white woolen gown. KIKI-THE-DEMURE makes his toilet on a narrow console-table. TOBY-DOG, on the carpet, in a sphinx-like attitude, watches HER and at the same time, is attentive to the words of his master, who is leaving the room on tip-toe.