[Illustration: WHAT DESPERATE MURDERS HE MIGHT COMMIT!]
It was headed from the cat-show secretary’s office. Why, of course, that charming twin had got first prize, no doubt. Let us see. “Dear Madam,” so ran the official note, “I beg to call your attention to what I imagine must, in some way, have been an oversight. Your cat, described on the entrance form as ‘a black male, named Beauty,’ which was, on the evening of its arrival, placed in the class pertaining to the descriptive form, was found this morning to have presented us with four remarkably fine kittens. This, of course, necessitated the family’s removal from the male cat class. I have much pleasure in being able to inform you that both mother and kittens are in the best of health, and will be carefully attended upon. If you will kindly forward your instructions respecting their disposal, I shall be greatly obliged.” That was the note, and wildly did the letters dance before my eyes.
[Illustration: FOUR REMARKABLY FINE KITTENS.]
[Illustration: GASPING FOR BREATH.]
Having saved myself from fainting by finishing the B. and S., I sat for some minutes gasping for breath. Then I rubbed my eyes and reread that awful epistle. Yes—it was so—in solemn, sober black ink! Beauty’s twin had got four fine kittens! Great Jehoshaphat! How could I ever get over those confounded kittens! It was too late to murder them. And my aunt—but stop! Let me read her letter; it might suggest something—some feline legerdemain method of conjuring four fine kittens into a first prize black male cat. So here goes. And this is how it went: “I always considered you to be a fool, Samuel, but nothing worse, until now. Unless the enclosed letter is immediately fully explained, and the matter set right, I shall plainly let you know what I do think of you now, and act accordingly. See the secretary, and telegraph me the result at once.” Not much hope in that, worse luck; only a limited respite.
[Illustration: WENT FISHING.]