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Mark Twain’s Cat Story.

A GOOD ONE NOT IN ANY OF HIS COLLECTIONS. I knew by the sympathetic glow upon his bald head—l knew by the thoughtful look upon his face—l knew by the emo" tional flush upon the strawberry end of the old free-liver’s nose, that Simon Wheeler’s memory was busy wi:h the old time. And so I prepared to leave, for all these were symptoms of a reminiscence—signs that he was going to be delivered of another of hia tiresome personal experiences—but I was too slow ; he got the start of me. As nearly as I can recollect, the infliction was couched in the following language : “ We were all boys then, and didn’t care for nothing, and didn’t have any trouble, and didn’t worry about nothing only to shirk school and keep up a revivin’ state of devilment ail the time. This yah Jim Wolf 1 was talkin’about was the ’prentice, and he was the best hearted feller, lie was, and the most forgivin’ and onsellish I ever see—well, there could not be a more bullior boy than he was, take him how you would, and sorry enough was I when I see him for the last time.

“ Me and Henry was always pestering him, and plastering horsebills on his hack and putting bumble bees in his bed, and so on, qnd sometimes we’d crowd in and bunk with him, notwithstanding his growling, and then we’d let on to get mad and fight across him, so as to keep him stirred up like. Ho was nineteen, he was, and long, and lank, and bashful, and we was fifteen and sixteen, and tolerably lazy and worthless.

“ So, that night, yon know, that my sister Mary gave a candy pullin’, they started us to bed early so as the company could have full swing, and we run in on Jim to have some fun. “ Our winder looked out onto the roof of an ell, and about ten o’clock a couple of old tom cats got to runnin’ and chargin around it, and carryin’ on like mad. '1 here was four inches of snow on the roof, and it was frozen, so that there was a right smart crust of ice on it, and the moon was shinin’ bright and we could see them cats like daylight. First they would stand off and e-yow, yow, yow, just the same as they was scoldin’ one another, you know, and how up their hacks and push up their tails and swell round and spit ; then all of a sudden the grey cat ’ud snatch a handful of hair from the yallow cat’s ham, and spin round him like the button on a barn door. But the yaller cat was game, and he’d come and clinch, and the way they’d make the fur fly W'as powerful. “ Well, Jim, he got disgusted with the row, and ’lowed he’d climb out there and shake ’em ofl’n that roof. He hadn’t reely no intention of doin’ it, likely, but we everlastin’ly dogged him, and bullyragged him, and ’lowed he’d always bragged how he would not take a dare, and so on, and lo and behold yon, he went—went exactly as he was—nothin’ on but a shirt, and that was short. But you ought to see him. You ought to see him creeping over that ice, and diggin’ his toe nails and finger nails in to keep from slippin’, and ’bove all you ought to have seen that shirt-tail a-flappin’ in the wind, and them long, ridiculous shanks of his a glistenin’ in the moonlight. “ Them company folks were down there under the eaves, the whole squad of them under the ornery shed of old Washin’ton Bower vines—all sett’n round about two dozen sassers of hot candy, which they’d set in the snow to cool. And they was laughin’ and talkin’ lively ; but bless you, they didn’t know nothin’ about the panorama that was goin’ on over their heads. Well, Jim, he went a sneakin’ up unbeknown to them cats—they was a swishin’ their tails and yow-yowin’ and threatenin’ to clinch, you know, and not payin’ any attention—he went a sneakin’ right up to the comb of the roof, till he was in a foot and a half of ’em, and then all of a sudden he made a grab for the yaller cat ! But bj r gosh, he missed fire and slipped his holt, and his heels flew up and he flopped on his back, and shot ofl”n that roof like a dart, went a slashin and a crushin’ down through them old rusty vines and landed right in the dead centre of them company people—sot down like a ycarthquake in them two dozen sassers of red-hot candy, and let of a howl that was hark f’m thetonih ! Them gals—well, they looked you know. They sec ho wasn’t dressed for company, and so they left. All done in a second, it was just one little war ■whoop, and a swish of their dresses, and nary the wench of ’eiu w'as in sight anywhere. “ Jim, he was a sight. He was gormed with that bilin’ hot molasses candy clean down to his heels, and had more busted sassers bangin' to him than if he was an Injun princess—and he came a prancin’ up stairs just a whoopin’ and ragin’, and every jump he gave ho shed some china, and every squirm he fetched he dropped some can cl v !

“ And blistered ! Why bless your soul, that poor cretur’ couldn’t rcely set down comfortable for as much as four weeks. ”

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Bibliographic details

Mark Twain’s Cat Story., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 16, 1 November 1879

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Mark Twain’s Cat Story. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 16, 1 November 1879