I am a Cat and therefore aware of all that you bring in your train, O Fire! I foresee winter; its coming both troubles and pleases me. I’ve already begun to thicken and embellish my fur-coat in its honor, the darker stripes are becoming black, my white tippet swells into a dazzling boa, and the fur on my belly surpasses in beauty anything that has ever been seen. What shall I say of my tail, broad as a club, with alternate rings of fawn-color and black, or of the sensitive, priceless aigrettes which spring from my ears? My ear-rings She calls them.... What cat could resist me! Ah! the January nights, the serenades under a frosty moon, the dignified wait on the pinnacle of a roof, the encounter with a rival cat on the narrow top of a wall!... But I feel quite sure of my superior strength. I’ll swish my tail, put back my ears, sniff tragically as one does before vomiting, and then lift up my voice—its modulations are infinite. I’ll make it strong enough to waken all the sleeping Two-Paws. I’ll vociferate, I’ll whimper, pacing up and down the garden, my body distended, my legs bent outward, feigning madness to terrify the tom-cats!
I know something of the changes and pleasures you foretell, Fire—for I’m a Dog. Already, it is raining in the garden. I suppose it’s raining on the road too, and in the woods. The falling drops are not warm, as they were in the summer storms when my truffle, gray with dust, delighted in the damp smell that came from the west. The sky is troubled and the wind has grown strong enough to blow my ears out straight, like little flags. A sharp cry, such as I make when I beg, comes under the door. You’ll be shining here every day, Fire; but I’ll have to suffer for the right to worship you. For She’ll continue to wander about, her head covered with the pointed hood which changes her so, that it frightens me. She’ll put on wooden shoes too, and carelessly crush the puddles, the little heaps of mud, and the weeping mosses. I’ll follow her, since I’ve promised to do so my life long (and also because I can’t help it), I’ll follow her, a forlorn and piteous object, shining wet, my belly covered with mud, until, through very excess of misery I’ll forget, and ramble in the coppice, interested in every undulation of the grass, eager to revive the drowned scents in it.... She’ll become communicative when she sees me hurrying along and we’ll talk: “Ha, Toby-Dog,” she’ll say, “ha! ha! a bird! There on the branch! Look! you booby! Now he’s gone.” She’ll condole with me then, until I’m on the verge of tears. “Oh, my little black boy, my sympathetic cylinder, my batrachian love, how cold you are, how wet, how sad, how you suffer, oooo!” And before I’m able to judge of the sincerity of her pity, the tears will overflow, my throat contract, and we’ll wail in unison....