Mamma brought some milk, and soon Topsy seemed to feel quite at home. She lapped the milk with her little red tongue, until there was not a drop of it left in the saucer. Then she began to purr and to rub her face against the hand of her new mistress. Finally she curled up in Alice’s lap until she looked like a shiny black ball, and began blinking at the fire with sleepy eyes.
Alice was sleepy, too. She curled up in papa’s lap, just as kitty had done in hers, and soon Topsy and she were both fast asleep.
II. HOW TOPSY KEPT WARM.
“Is that Topsy crying?” said Alice’s mamma, one morning. “Listen a moment.”
Alice stopped playing with her doll and kept very quiet. Yes, she could hear a faint meow. She ran to the outside door and opened it, but kitty was not there. She listened again, and again she heard the same sound: “Meow! meow! meow!”
“Perhaps kitty is at the other door,” said Alice’s mamma.
Alice turned the knob and pulled the door wide open; but only a rush of cold air and a few snowflakes came in.
“Where can she be, mamma? Oh, I know now! She is down cellar,” said Alice. But no kitty was there. “Maybe she is in the wood shed. I’ll run and see! No, mamma, she isn’t there, either. I don’t think she is happy, wherever she is. She doesn’t sound so. Just hear her cry!”
Both listened again to the half-smothered meow.
“No, she doesn’t sound very happy, pet,” said mamma. “She is shut up somewhere and can’t get out. We must find her.”
So the mother and the little girl began to search for Topsy. Upstairs and downstairs they went, looking everywhere. They opened all the closet doors, they looked into all the trunks and boxes. They even peeped into the baby’s hamper and lifted the lid of grandmother’s big workbasket; but no kitty did they find. Still they could hear her crying “Meow! meow! meow!” all the time.
Back to the kitchen they went. “She must be in this room,” said mamma; “the meowing sounds louder here than it does anywhere else.”
Round and round the room went Alice, peeping everywhere. Her mother looked in all the places, too. No kitty in the cupboard, no kitty in the china closet, no kitty in the washtubs, no kitty in the wood box!
At last Alice stood still, quite close to the big stove, wondering where she could look next.
“Meow! meow! meow!”
“Oh, mamma. It sounds loudest right here!”
Alice’s mother bent her head and listened. “So it does,” she said. Then she put her hand on the door of the big warming oven. She pulled it open, and—out walked Topsy, very warm indeed, but not hurt at all.
Alice caught kitty up in her arms and gave her a good hug. The poor cat’s fur was quite hot.
“It’s a good thing for pussy that we found her as soon as we did,” said mamma.