THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF POOR PUSS.
BY LUCY GRAY, Author of "The Twin Brothers", &c., &c.
EASINGWOLD: PUBLISHED BY THOMAS GILL, AMEN CORNER.
EASINGWOLD: Gill, Printer, Amen Corner.
THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF POOR PUSS.
Poor Puss, the subject of the following memoir, was the favourite companion of Widow Wales and her little girl Julia. She departed this life in her fifth year, and was interred at the bottom of the garden, last Thursday morning at half-past eight o'clock. The cause of her death proceeded from an internal disorder and shortness of breath. For a week or more it was evident that her end was fast approaching, as her strength was nearly gone, and she was unable to perform her usual duties.
The principal events in the life of poor Puss, we shall now endeavour to relate. She was born at a farm house, in the neighbourhood of Easingwold. At a very early period in life she became addicted to little petty thefts and misdemeanors, such as getting into the dairy and lapping the cream from the bowls, and stealing meat or anything that happened to be on the table, as soon as ever she had a chance. For these and other acts of transgression she frequently got a good whipping, so that she was very shy of going into the dairy again.
When she got a little older, she would frequently run about in the yard, and play with old Keeper and hide herself in his kennel, where she would remain concealed behind the door and when Keeper wanted to come in, she would spring at him, and scratch his nose, but Keeper did not like such fun as this, and so he fell quite vexed, and bit a piece of her tail end, which so frightened poor Puss that she durst not come near him for a long time to come.
The mother of poor Puss now thought it was high time that she should begin to fend for herself, and so she took her into the barn on a mousing expedition. For a long time they watched the hole of a mouse, which appeared to be the residence of a whole family, and at length the old mouse came out followed by six little ones. The old cat seized the old mouse, and killed three or four of the little ones. The young cat seized hold of one, and wanted to play with it, but it slipped into the hole and she could see no more of it. The other little mouse was running away as fast as it could, but Puss sprang at it and gave it a nip which made it quiet enough.
Puss soon became a good hand at killing mice, but her pride received a severe check, for one day a large rat was running across the barn, and Puss thinking it was a large mouse ran to seize it, but the rat turned round and seized Puss by the nose and bit her severely so that she went away to her mother, mewing very piteously with her face all swelled and covered with blood.
Puss durst not meddle with rats for a long time after this, but at length she got stronger and would kill them and many other such vermin. She had plenty of work, for there were many rats at the farm house. While pursuing a large rat one day, she set her foot into a trap which had been set to catch them, and though she was taken out very carefully by the farmer's daughters who were swinging in an old tree at the bottom of the orchard, it hurt her very much and she was lame for many weeks after.
Puss was now become a fine, healthy, good looking cat, and a smart looking Tom Cat in the neighbourhood paid his court to Miss Puss, and asked her by kind looks and gentle actions if she would become his wife. Puss scolded and scratched for some time, but at length they made a match of it, and in due time, Puss became a mother. She however, notwithstanding all her skill in concealing them, was doomed to see her small family torn from her, and share the same fate as her brothers and sisters had experienced on former occasions.
As Puss was rambling in the fields some time after her confinement, in pursuit of some birds, a number of gentlemen were coursing for hares, and when the dogs saw Puss, they immediately started after her. Puss ran as fast as she could, but the dogs ran much faster than she, and were just at her heels, when she reached a tree, and saved her life by climbing up it.
Puss was now safe from the dogs, and she remained in the tree for some time before she durst come down again. On her return to the farm house, three boys who had been to school, were playing in the fields. Each boy had a large stick on his shoulder, and as soon as they saw Puss, they ran after her. She again took refuge in a tree, but the boys threw stones at her and hit her so hard, that she at length fell senseless to the ground. One of the boys seized poor Puss; and they were going to have some rare sport as they said, by fastening the cat on a board, and then launching it on the pond, after which they would set the dogs at her, and Puss could only keep them off by scratching their noses. Everything was in readiness: Puss was bound upon the board, and they were just going to sail it into the middle of the pond, when the schoolmaster came past, and the boys were obliged, after receiving a good flogging, to set poor Puss at liberty.
Shortly after these adventures, a friend paid a visit to the farm house, and being very much in want of a good cat, he took poor Puss with him to York. Pussy's new mistress had a fine canary bird, which she was very fond of. One day the canary had got through the wires of his cage, and Puss seeing it perched on the table, could not resist the temptation; but sprang at it and seized it in her claws. The poor canary was almost eaten, when the master came into the room, and seeing what was done, he took a whip, and would have killed poor Puss, but for little Mary, who begged him to spare her life.
Puss was a good mouser, and soon cleared the house of them. She soon got acquainted with town life, such as climbing walls and houses, and jumping from roof to roof, either in gossipping with her neighbours or in search of prey. Once, while showing to some other cats how clever she was in jumping about, she fell into the street, and would have been killed, but for some fat sheep that were passing along the street at the time, and Puss had the good luck to fall upon the back of one of them, which had so much wool on it, as not at all to hurt her.
The next adventure and misfortune of poor Puss, was, to examine the contents of a pigeon cote in the neighbourhood. After climbing up a great height, she contrived to leap down on the board, and got in among the pigeons, where she made sad havoc among the young birds; but, the master hearing a great noise, went up, and Puss escaped through the door, or she would have paid the penalty with her life. Puss would no doubt feel very miserable after this wholesale murder, which she had committed among the pigeons, for she had killed about a dozen of them. She had escaped many deaths, and as she was now getting old, she thought it high time to reform. Cats have always had a bad character for stealing, and too frequently have they merited it.
The most degrading circumstance in the history of poor Puss, is the following. Puss had jumped from the gateway into the street, where an Italian was playing an organ, with a dressed up monkey by his side. The monkey at once ran after Puss, and seizing her by the tail, bit off the greatest part of it. This misfortune she took so to heart, that she never afterwards rallied. She was seldom seen in the house. She became asthmatical; and after lingering some time, she departed this life, to the great grief of her numerous friends and relatives, among whom she was highly respected.
On earth short was her stay, Her trials were severe; But she has passed away, And gone we know not where.
Gill, Printer, Easingwold.