HE, (in a very low voice to the two animals)
Sh! Don’t wake her. Be good. I’m going downstairs, to write.
(He closes the door noiselessly after him.) TOBY-DOG, (to KIKI-THE-DEMURE)
What did He say?
I don’t know. Something vague. Directions, like: stay there, good-by.
He said, “’Sh!” I’m not making any noise.
They’re astonishing! They say “no noise,” and thereupon walk off with a step a deaf rat could hear two miles away.
TOBY-DOG Some truth in that. (He looks at the sleeping figure on the couch.) Her face still looks very small. She’s asleep. If you jump down from that table don’t land with a big thump.
Ah, you’re teaching me to jump now, are you? Oh, worthy counselor! (quoting) Put a beggar in your barn and he’ll make himself your heir.
Nothing. An Oriental proverb. If I wished, dog, to disturb the silence of this room I’d be clever enough to choose a rickety chair; its feet would pound out a regular tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc, in time with my tongue as I washed myself. It’s a means I’ve invented to gain my liberty. Tic-toc, tic-toc, says the chair. She happens to be reading or writing, is easily irritated, and cries, “Be quiet, Kiki!” But I go on unconscious of any wrong-doing; tic-toc, tic-toc. She jumps up distracted and opens the door wide for me: slowly, like one exiled, I cross its threshold and once outside, laugh to find myself so superior to them all.
TOBY-DOG, (who hasn’t been listening, yawns)
What a sad week, eh? I don’t know what it is to take a walk any more. I haven’t taken any pleasure in eating either, since She fell from her horse.
Heavens, one can love people and care for one’s stomach too.
TOBY-DOG, (with ardor)
Not I! When She screamed and fell from her horse, I felt the heart crack inside me.
That affair couldn’t have ended otherwise. One doesn’t go climbing up on a horse! People don’t do such things! I see nothing but extravagance around me. To begin with, a horse is a fearful monstrosity.
Did one ever hear the like!
I happen to have had the opportunity of making a very close study of one....