CHAPTER II.—THE BLACK CAT AND THE WHITE DOVE.
Little Jennet watched her sister’s triumphant departure with a look in which there was far more of envy than sympathy, and, when her mother took her hand to lead her forth, she would not go, but saying she did not care for any such idle sights, went back sullenly to the inner room. When there, however, she could not help peeping through the window, and saw Susan and Nancy join the revel rout, with feelings of increased bitterness.
“Ey wish it would rain an spile their finery,” she said, sitting down on her stool, and plucking the flowers from her basket in pieces. “An yet, why canna ey enjoy such seets like other folk? Truth is, ey’ve nah heart for it.”
“Folks say,” she continued, after a pause, “that grandmother Demdike is a witch, an con do os she pleases. Ey wonder if she made Alizon so protty. Nah, that canna be, fo’ Alizon’s na favourite o’ hern. If she loves onny one it’s me. Why dunna she make me good-looking, then? They say it’s sinfu’ to be a witch—if so, how comes grandmother Demdike to be one? Boh ey’n observed that those folks os caws her witch are afeard on her, so it may be pure spite o’ their pert.”
As she thus mused, a great black cat belonging to her mother, which had followed her into the room, rubbed himself against her, putting up his back, and purring loudly.
“Ah, Tib,” said the little girl, “how are ye, Tib? Ey didna knoa ye were here. Lemme ask ye some questions, Tib?”
The cat mewed, looked up, and fixed his great yellow eyes upon her.
“One ’ud think ye onderstud whot wos said to ye, Tib,” pursued little Jennet. “We’n see whot ye say to this! Shan ey ever be Queen o’ May, like sister Alizon?”
The cat mewed in a manner that the little girl found no difficulty in interpreting the reply into “No.”
“How’s that, Tib?” cried Jennet, sharply. “If ey thought ye meant it, ey’d beat ye, sirrah. Answer me another question, ye saucy knave. Who will be luckiest, Alizon or me?”
This time the cat darted away from her, and made two or three skirmishes round the room, as if gone suddenly mad.
“Ey con may nowt o’ that,” observed Jennet, laughing.
All at once the cat bounded upon the chimney board, over which was placed a sampler, worked with the name “ALIZON.”
“Why Tib really seems to onderstond me, ey declare,” observed Jennet, uneasily. “Ey should like to ask him a few more questions, if ey durst,” she added, regarding with some distrust the animal, who now returned, and began rubbing against her as before. “Tib—Tib!”
The cat looked up, and mewed.
“Protty Tib—sweet Tib,” continued the little girl, coaxingly. “Whot mun one do to be a witch like grandmother Demdike?”
The cat again dashed twice or thrice madly round the room, and then stopping suddenly at the hearth, sprang up the chimney.