Ah, but what delirious joy when the capricious wooden shoes turn again toward the house, hurrying to rejoin Him whom we’ve left scratching paper! They don’t go half fast enough for me then! I jump ’round her, barking with delight to see the hill diminishing, our climb at an end, to smell the good stable smell and that of burning wood as we near the house. At last you shine forth, O Fire, O Sun, through the misty window pane!... I shall hardly have crossed the threshold when an overpowering sleepiness will dash me to the floor in front of you—you, who will reduce the mud on my belly to fine powder and change the water of the roads to smoky vapor.
KIKI-THE-DEMURE A delightful glow penetrates my coat to the silky down, the impalpable colorless threads which protect my delicate skin. I feel myself swelling like a cloud. I must quite fill the room. My whiskers seem charged with electricity—a sign that I will sleep—but for the time being, the contemplation of your splendor and thoughts of the coming season keep me awake. It’s raining. I shall not go out. I’ll wait for the sun, or the dry wind, or better still, the frost. Ah, how the biting cold stimulates me! It lashes my lungs with handfuls of needles, and makes a bonbon glace of my charming nose. The rollicking frost-sprite will blow his madness into me. She’ll laugh and He too, leaving his scratching-paper, to see me vie with the leaves in bounds, leaps and wild whirlings, resembling a floating flurry of gray smoke rather than a Cat. To the top of a tree! Down again! Then seven turns after my tail! A perilous backward leap! A vertical jump, with aerial danse du ventre! Girations, sneezes, careering from the real to the dream, until in terror of myself, I come to a sudden stop.... Everything turns before my eyes. I’m the center of a strange, spinning world ... In my bewilderment (half-feigned) I’ll make a little moo, like a cow, which will bring them both running to me,—She laughing, and He fearing something wrong. That will suffice to sober me, and with a bold front and noble mien, I’ll regain this cushion near your altar, O Fire!
This hearth-stone burns the horny pads of my feet. What shall I do? Move away? never! I’ll toast to death rather than give up this redoubtable bliss. Heaven prevent Her coming, now! I’ve reason to fear the lash of the whip, and the magic words which mean exile: “Toby! that’s stupid! I forbid you to roast yourself. You’ll have sore eyes, and catch cold when you go out.” That’s what She says, while I regard her with a stupid look of utter devotion. But She’s never duped by it. I hear noises upstairs, her step coming and going ... I wonder is her vagabond fancy wearied at last? This morning She whistled to me and in my haste to obey her, I rolled to the bottom of the stairs—being low and thick-set, with short legs, no nose, and almost no tail to balance