Including a Paper on the Wonderful Discovery of the Cat Language.
By Alphonse Leon Grimaldi, F.R.S.,Etc.
I. - "IT WAS THE CAT."
II. - A LITTLE INNOCENT WHO KNOWS THE FAMILY SECRETS.
III. - LIKE UNTO OURSELVES.
IV. - NELLY AND TOM.
V. - MEMORY AND INTELLIGENCE.
VI. - FRIENDS OF THE CAT.
VII. - SOME REMARKABLE, TRUE STORIES.
VIII. - HOSPICE DU CHATS.
IX. - ASTOUNDING REVELATIONS BY THE CAT.
X. - PROFESSOR GRIMALDI'S WONDERFUL DISCOVERY.
XI. - SIGNS AND SOUNDS.
XII. - DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGES.
XIII. - LANGUAGE OF DIVINE ORIGIN.
XIV. - POWER OF SPEECH IN THE FELINE.
XV. - ILLUSTRATIVE STORIES.
XVI. - SUPERIORITY OF THE CAT OVER OTHER QUADRUMINA.
XVII. - INTELLECTUAL POWER OF THE CAT.
XVIII. - SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CAT.
XIX. - GENEROSITY, CUNNNING AND CAMERADERIE.
XX. - VOWELS AND LIQUIDS PREDOMINATING.
XXI. - CAT WORDS IN COMMON USE.
XXII. - A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF WORDS.
XXIII. - A MUSICAL LANGUAGE.
XXIV. - THE IMPORTANCE OF SIGNS.
I. "IT WAS THE CAT."
When, in the fable, that humorous progenitor of the human species, according to that slicker, slyer and still more humorous, practical joker, Darwin, the monkey, cast about him in a sudden emergency for some useful utensil adequate to the purpose of pulling his chestnuts out of the fire, his selfish ambition was rewarded by the sight of no less distinguished a person than the Cat. Notwithstanding the piteous protests and flowing tears of Pussy, she was forced into the service of the monkey, and ever after there lived in the memory of man that wonderful story, from which we get the expressive saying of “making a cat's paw" of anything or anybody.
The cruelty of the act and the subsequent greed of the simian who, despite the appeals of the feline for a share in the delicious roast, gave her nothing but the smell, of which he could not have deprived her, appeals to the indignation of a just public. But the suffering and the tears and the cries of the Cat command the sympathy of all right-minded people who rest in peace under the "Banner of Freedom” and fight against oppression. The moral is demonstrative, as you will see.
The presiding genius who carries the portfolio and administers the affairs of the most important of all the divisions of the household - the culinary department - the cook; wisely appreciates the inestimable value of the Cat, and never fails to make convenient use of the animal, even employing- her upon occasions when Pussy becomes nothing short of a miracle-worker. Of course, the reader may differentiate the story with common sense, but rarely, for the word of the queen of the realm of the culinary department is as the verity of the Law and the Gospel. The mistress may wonder, and a smile of incredulity may pass over the countenance of the master of the house, but the breakage of crockery and the lavish disappearance of spirits, wine and ale, the wonderful growth of the butcher's bill, the prodigal wanderings of butter not strong enough to sustain its own weight, the overdone appearance of the breakfast steak, and the underdone appearance of the dinner joint are attributable only to the household pet, for the cook hath said "It was the Cat!" Even when the mistress sadly discovers the queen of the sacred domain, who has the power to poison the food she dispenses, lying prone upon the kitchen floor at the dinner hour, the fumes of the best brandy escaping from her stentorian lungs and her limbs limp as fresh putty, the bouquet of the spirits of 1840 comes to the sensitive nostrils of the lady laden with the murmurings of the cook, ' It was the Cat!" and the faithful mistress intuitively realizes that there has been a battle royal between the queen regent and the agent of the king of that realm where ice appeareth not, and all skating is done upon rollers.
When the extensive disappearance of the family preserves causes inquiry, and the heir of the house is questioned concerning his knowledge of the loss, he unhesitatingly and solemnly declares that "It was the Cat!" which is in the usual course of events, and always to be believed, even when it is noted by the nurse that the nose of the urchin resembles, in color, that of a man whose ways are not those of the temperate, and smelleth of strawberry jelly, and his chin resembleth that of one who has but recently been thickly coated with raspberry jam.
Now, mark the moral. We loudly censure the monkey in the fable, and smile at the charges of the others, not pausing to consider that the sufferings of the flesh are endurable, but the tortures of the mind from undeserved censure are frequently beyond endurance. The great lover of the Cat, Shakespeare, as if the wrongs of the calumniated feline in his mind aptly expresses the feelings of the Cat, when he says, through the medium of Othello:
"Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed."
"Give a dog a bad name, and you send him to" - the place not hung with icy stalactites. It is a solemn and well-known fact that one of a million dogs gets a bad name, while not one out of a million Cats gets a good one. It is out of the shadow of this cruel prejudice that I would lead the Cat, and place her upon the pedestal to which she should have been raised for the admiration of the world, long, long ago.
II. A LITTLE INNOCENT WHO KNOWS THE FAMILY SECRETS.
When a startling discovery which virtually concerns every atom of humanity has been rounded into a fact, so that the average human intellect may grasp and, after thoroughly comprehending its value, make the proper application of it, the sooner it is given to the world for the benefit of the human race, if benefit there be in the discovery, the better for the world and all that are upon it. Such a fact, and one which will go far to revolutionize society, has certainly been discovered, and, I hope, may be presented in so clear and comprehensive a manner that "he who runs may read," and readily realize its vast importance to the world, although its development will, undoubtedly, spread the greatest alarm wherever it is made known.
It will not be denied, when I make the assertion, that in every household, in the hovel of the poorest as well as in the mansion of the richest, in the storehouse, the factory, the workshop, the mill, the foundry, the newspaper office, the schoolhouse, the hospital, the theatre, the counting-room, the great libraries, the ships and the political headquarters, even in the grand capitol buildings at Washington, and penetrating, without hindrance, into the very secret Cabinet meetings at the White House, and almost everywhere throughout the whole inhabitable globe, there exists a spy upon whose ears fall the secrets of a nation, which, if breathed at some inopportune moment, might be its ruin. With an air of insouciant nonchalance, this ever-present spy meanders everywhere and, with ears alert to catch the softest whisper, gives token only of a feeling of innocuous desuetude when scenes and secrets of the most astounding character are being developed to the understanding.
From time immemorial these facts have existed with the knowledge and consent of everybody, but, strangely enough, without a thought that it might be possible for the Cat to communicate the secrets thus surreptitiously obtained through the careless confidence of humanity. The safety of such confidences lies entirely in the assumption of what has hitherto been regarded as a fact, and, although such utterances have been made in the presence of this universal spy, there was no possibility of their communication to the outer world because of its lack of power to do so. The astonishment following the recent discovery lies in the fact that this overweening confidence of man has been sadly misplaced, for I may state with the firmest faith in the proofs which have been presented to me, that, notwithstanding the belief to the contrary, the whole world has been misguided and the ever-present feline community has a language of its own, and, further, that it has become intelligible to more than one individual, myself among the number.
The importance of this startling discovery cannot be overestimated. It vitally concerns every human being in the known world, as may readily be perceived after a moment's thought. The possibility of the existence of a language as a means of communication of thoughts and ideas between animals has, for ages, been a subject of comment with many, while to those whose association with and fondness for the animal kingdom cannot but admit that there is no doubt concerning the truth. In fact, innumerable evidences of signs and verbal communications between what are incorrectly stigmatized as dumb beasts are constantly being demonstrated to the world but, unfortunately, described as evidences of instinct, although bearing every proof of thought emanating from the soul as uttered by the human being.
I may be considered as aiming too high in my declaration of what I shall procede to prove, but it is with a firm belief that I shall be fully able to substantiate my assertion and convince the reader. Such wonderful evidences of the astonishing sagacity of animals have come to the knowledge of every man and woman that, when these instances are remembered, I consider myself well on the road toward demonstrating the assertion that there is a language of communication between animals. Explain to me, if you can, why, if they do not possess souls, when shrouded in slumber, the horse will neigh and prance, the Cat will cry, the lion will roar, the monkey will chatter and the dog will bark and whine while dreaming, even as a human being will give evidence of a restless mind when the animal senses are dormant.
Some years ago I possessed a dog who learned, without instruction and with little difficulty, to turn the knob and thus gain admission through the outer door of my house to the interior. Last Winter I was in possession of two Skye terriers, to whom I frequently remarked in a quiet tone of voice, in the morning, that I would take them out for a walk in the afternoon, and, at the hour when they had been taken out by me upon previous occasions, they invariably put their noses together and communicated their ideas,. As a result of such communication first one and then the other, then both worried me
with their paws and called to me unceasingly, until I kept my word with them. These are but two of the countless instances which have come under my observation, as numberless cases have been met with by others, proving, beyond denial, that these and other animals are as fully possessed of memory as is that nobler animal, man.
Call it instinct, if you will, but is that not to be considered as more than instinct which prompts the Cat to distinguish between the friend and the enemy of its master and mistress, and even to protect them from the attacks of an enemy at the risk of the life of the animal? The number of such instances is legion. Surely the faithfulness of our domestic animals cannot be doubted, but we may doubt the humanity of man to the animal kingdom when the evidence of the same senses in what are termed the lower animals is said to be instinct, while in the human it is called soul and mind.
It has frequently been remarked by those who have made a study of the animal kingdom that the intelligence of the lower animals, in many matters, is far superior to that possessed by human beings. For instance, the natural, living, breathing barometer is a Cat, and there are none better. When a Cat washes herself in the ordinary manner, we may be sure of bright, sunshiny weather, but when she licks herself against the grain of her fur or washes herself with her paw over the ear, or sits with her tail to the fire, there will be a storm.
III. LIKE UNTO OURSELVES.
At certain stages in our great journey we sit down and take a retrospect, going over, hand in hand with memory, the old road and carefully treading in the same footsteps, looking upon the same scenes, suffering the old pains and rejoicing in the same joys. At such times we wonder at the misplaced confidences and our unexplainable, as well as our unjust prejudices. We admit our proneness to go with the current when in the swim, and the natural lassitude which prompts us, rather than argue a point or spur ourselves to the task of disproving what may be false, which means work, to take for granted the theory of another. We often excuse ourselves upon the plea that one cannot find time, in this short life, to prove everything, and we must necessarily take for granted many things, perhaps upon the guarantee of those in whom we have confidence, sometimes because it has passed into a proverb and at other times for the reason that we are too tired to go against the current and set ourselves up for oddities or cranks. But we do stop and wonder at our prejudices, more particularly because we have had occasion so many times to completely reverse our opinions, wondering, at the same time, how we ever could have jumped at the conclusion that because a nut has a sour rind it must necessarily have a sour kernel, or that the bristling appearance of the prickly outside denoted that it was prickly all through, and for this reason to be avoided. We hear a man derided by the mob and follow the crowd - we discriminate when a woman is talked about derogatively and avoid her because it is the rule - then, perhaps, it is in after years, when the object has lived down the false assertions, at some certain stage in our journey, we look back, wonderingly, commiserate the sufferings of one and another and say that it was nothing but prejudice, and then what? Then we go on our way and do the selfsame thing over and over again.
How easy it is to do all these things we people of experience can testify. We say, "Give a dog a bad name," and so on, but how singular it would sound if one should say, "Give a Cat a bad name!" Why, the Cat has it, already! Are you sure that the almost universally bad name of the Cat is not pure and unadulterated prejudice, and, considered as a generality, with the least foundation in fact?
You say that the Cat is treacherous, a thief and a lover of places, not persons. This is the sum and substance of humanity's grievances against the feline. I know of no other despicable attributes ascribed to the Cat, and admit that these would be enough to condemn her, were they true. But they are not true, saving only in exceptional cases. Providentially for the Cat, she is provided with natural means of defence and uses her claws at times and very justly when imposed upon. I never knew, or heard of, a Cat who deliberately and out of pure viciousness, scratched or fought a person whom she might have reasonably supposed to be her friend. Be just and admit this fact.
Concerning the charge of thievery, I admit that Pussy's derelictions have been proven in exceptional cases, but plead, in partial justification, the neglect of master or mistress to properly provide for her, and that her food was due to her for labor performed, upon the principle that "the workman is worthy of his hire." Consider that Pussy has ridden your house of mice and rats, and continues, day by day, to perform her duty of keeping the thieves from your dwelling - that if you profit by her prognostications, she tells you. far better than a barometer, the truth about the weather, long before there comes a change - that she even guards your home from intruders - that she is the first, if permitted to do so, to welcome your home-coming - that she is ever ready, with her gentle purr, to express her love for you and with her soothing song - the gentlest ever heard - to calm your troubled mind. Think for a moment how her winning ways and pretty playfulness have amused you for many an hour and won a warm place in your heart for the little household pet, then justify her for helping herself when you either forgot or refused to give her the nourishment she had so richly earned. This is by way of justification of the feline, in the exceptional case, when she takes what may not be regarded as technically her own, although the equivalent of the same is rightfully her due. Ask yourself if, when you walk into your landlady's larder and help yourself to the viands there because your luncheon is not ready on time, you are not as great a criminal as Pussy, who has been equally neglected. Concerning the accusation that she is fond of places and not of persons, I will have something definite to say further on.
There is one undeniable fact concerning animals, which is that when associated with man they acquire his ways and imitate his habits. Thus the Cat, but, in a more delicate manner, soon takes upon herself the temper, mannerisms, actions and ways of her mistress, and in her life imitates the actions of the one who is her admiration and involuntary teacher. Cats, in short, are like ourselves, and are subject to the same rules that govern all humanity throughout the habitable globe. I cannot better illustrate and prove this fact than by relating a story that came under my observation, and from which, while I vouch for the truth of it, you may draw your own conclusions.
IV. NELLIE AND TOM.
I was a boy of eighteen years of age when my mother brought home with her, all the way from the State of Maine, a Maltese Pussy, of full breed. We called her "Nellie." After mother had buttered Nellie's feet, a process which she said would always keep a cat from running away from home, the aristocratic Nellie became an important member of our household, and .never deserted us.
One day I brought home to Nellie a companion who had been presented to me by a friend, "Tom," as we called the boy, was a pure Maltese, and a giant of his kind, a cheerful, clever and peaceable fellow and an ornament and pet, for he was admired by everybody who saw him. His feet were also buttered, and after a little spat with Nellie, who, at first, could see no just reason why Tom should encroach upon her domain, the two became fast friends, and finally married and raised several litters of pure Maltese kittens, all of whom we gave to longing friends save one, which we kept for Nellie's sake.
Tom remained true to his marriage vows for a long time, but one day, about six months after his advent in the household, he was missing, and the neighborhood was searched for Tom. He remained away until the following afternoon, when he returned, looking sheepish, while his appearance bore unmistakable evidence of his having been indulging in a debauch. Tom was very crestfallen and expressed his sorrow to his spouse Nellie, who would have nothing to do with him for several days. Poor Tom was disconsolate, and applied to me for sympathy. Of course every member of the family reproved Tom for his waywardness, but the story of the "Prodigal Son" and his return, in tatters, was not forgotten, although the fatted calf was omitted, and I was the first to forgive and console Tom. I used my influence so successfully with Nellie, who was very fond of me, that once more Tom was taken into Nellie's favor and everything went on as usual, excepting that Nellie gave every evidence of keeping a close eye upon her erring liege-lord, who was not fully restored to her confidence.
Some five weeks after, while Nellie was nursing a new brood of kittens, Tom turned up missing again. We did not go to any trouble that time to search, for him, nor did we feel any anxiety concerning the wandering minstrel, knowing from our former experience that he was big enough and old enough to take care of himself. Three weary weeks for Nellie went by while she was worrying for her Romeo, although she tried to conceal her anxiety behind an appearance of unconcern, while lavishing her affections upon her infants. At the end of the third week Tom leisurely strolled into the house and sought Nellie's presence. He bore an air of bravado which seemed to say that he was lord and master of his own family, that he had a right to go whither, and stay there as long as he pleased. But he was battered and torn, almost beyond recognition. One eye was completely closed, much of his fur was gone, he limped when he walked, one ear was entirely bitten through and a portion of it missing, and his head was covered with bloody wounds, while his general appearance was emaciated, tattered and forlorn. Nellie's tail was a, sight to behold when she spied Tom, and she raised herself to a sitting posture and threw upon the debauchee a withering look of contempt which sent his tail between his legs in less time than it takes to tell it, while he completely lost his braggadocio air and slunk off to a corner of the room and Nellie returned to her babies.
After the tramp had received a scolding from each one of the family, and been thoroughly cleansed and his wounds dressed, he sat down a few feet from his lawful wife and moaned and cried for an hour or more, without once attracting a look of pity from her. After that he approached Nellie and attempted to ask her forgiveness for his absence upon some fictitious ground, but that faithful one raised herself upon her hind legs, spat upon the battered tramp and then deliberately beat him with her paws and scratched him with her claws until he slunk out of the room, a well reproved if not a better Cat. For more than a week, every time Tom made overtures looking toward a reconciliation, Nellie repeated her chastisement, and I fully believe if any other Maltese Tom had presented himself during that time, she would have taught Tom a lesson which he would have remembered to the end of his life, by adopting him in Tom's place, and, with his assistance, driven out upon the charity of a cold world, her wayward and presumably unfaithful consort. But, although we refused to intercede for him with Nellie, in the course of time Tom was partly forgiven and was again kept under the watchful eye of Nellie.
Three months later the vagabond again forgot his marriage vows and disappeared. This time we gave him up for lost, as he did not return for a month. Considering him a thing of the beautiful past, I bought another Tom and brought him home to Nellie. Singularly enough, the two did not fraternize, although it was not the fault of the new Tom, and Nellie remained, as she supposed, a widow, with her kittens as her constant care.
Upon them she lavished all of her affections, spitting at and boxing the new Tom whenever he approached them. One fine day, to our utter astonishment, the scoundrel, Tom strolled in upon the scene as nonchalantly as if he had not been off on a long protracted cruise. But this time he was covered with sores, and had, in addition, the mange. He was a sorry-looking Tom, and an animal to avoid. Even in that condition, I am sure, Nellie would have nursed him and doctored him until he recovered, had he been faithful to her. But there was no hope of it now. She had evidently been thinking deeply about the newcomer, and was making comparisons.
At first he showed contrition, but when he discovered the new Tom, who he supposed had assumed his duties in the household, he did not become an Enoch Arden, but, with fire in his evil eye and without making proper inquiries concerning Nellie's unexceptionable conduct, with a great bologna sausage of a fuzzy tail and a fearful shriek for vengeance, he made for Tom Number Two with the speed of lightning, in the stereotyped manner of an outraged husband whose lapses of fealty and so on are forgotten in the greater sin of an interloper.
What might have become of the innocent new fellow was illustrated in the story of the Kilkenny cats, with this difference, that one of the two would have been left on the earth, and it wouldn't have been the new fellow, for Tom was the maddest Cat you ever saw. When the tocsin of war was sounded by the mangy deserter, Nellie sprang for him and there ensued a battle royal. There was war to the knife, from the point to the hilt. The screams of the combatants were terrific, and the dining room floor was covered with a constantly accumulating mass of Maltese fur. In both the new Tom and Nellie, who, alone, was a host in herself, the mangy Tom found more than his match, and he was beaten, torn, wounded at every point, and a total wreck when he scurried out of the house and took his sorrowful way down the street, toward the dock at the foot of Hubert street. Whether or not he did the best thing he could have done under the circumstances, and went and drowned himself, is more original Tom, by the side of Nellie, never knew him more, for the new fellow thereafter succeeded to his lares and penates and Nellie and he lived happily together until Tom number two was shot by some cruel person. After that Nellie mourned his loss and refused to be comforted with another, although, of course, there were many Toms who would have lain down and died for her. She lived but a short time after the death of her second husband, and died regretted by all of us.
V. MEMORY AND INTELLIGENCE.
We find, upon looking closely and impartially into our natural gifts, that it is memory that fails and proves treacherous to us more frequently than any other faculty, and as we go on with life, the fact becomes more and more apparent. With the Cat, memory never fails her. The dog may fail to find his way home, particularly the little dog, but the Cat, never.
No more conclusive testimony concerning the memory and intelligence of the Cat can be given to a doubting world than that contained in the following story from the columns of the New York Press. It is also illustrative of the love of persons as well as places, by the feline. It is recited in a straightforward manner, and I have no doubt of its truthfulness. At any rate, if the reader has his doubts, he can readily, at the cost of a few cents, paid to Uncle Sam in postage stamps, satisfy himself concerning the story, for names are given and the address is plain. "Fritz Heath," says the narrator, "is the noble son of a worthy mother, and lives in Syracuse, N. Y. Fritz is a large gray and white tomcat. Fritz and his mother are the proteges of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Heath. Mr. Heath is a telegraph operator in the employ of the New York Central Railroad. Both Fritz and Gyp are cats of unusual size and beauty. Fritz will roll over, jump through a hoop and turn somersalts at command. He also has the habit of jumping up to catch the smooth top of the dining-table with his paws and swinging suspended, while he surveys the prospects of his coming dinner. Two years ago there was mourning in the home of Heath. Fritz had suddenly disappeared. At night Gyp came into the house, sniffed at the basket, which –she and Fritz had occupied together since the latter's kittenhood, and walked disconsolately away. The Heath family searched diligently, but Fritz could not be found.
''When two years had passed by, all but Gyp had nearly forgotten the missing member of the household. She could not be induced to go near her basket, which was still kept beside the fire, and persistently refused to be comforted. One night recently Gyp jumped into her basket and, nestling down, began to purr contentedly. A few days afterward the Heaths, returning from an evening call, saw a cat which, in the darkness, they supposed to be Gyp, lying on the doorstep. When the door was opened the cat ran into the hallway and out again as quickly. A short time later Mrs. Heath heard the crying at the door and went down to bring in the homeless cat and give it something to eat. As soon as she opened the door the cat darted inside. When it came to the lighted apartments, Mrs. Heath exclaimed, 'Why, Tom, that's Fritz!' Hearing his name, the overjoyed Fritz bounded into Mrs. Heath's lap, from hers to her husband's, turned somersaults, rolled over and performed all the tricks he had been taught, as if to thoroughly establish his identity or express his pleasure at getting home.
" It surely is Fritz,' thought the Heaths, and they examined the cat's right ear. It was split. There was little doubt now, but to make assurance doubly sure, a small stick was thrown down the stairs, into the dark hallway.
" 'Go get it, Fritz’ said Mr. Heath, and the cat darted down stairs, returned triumphantly with the stick balanced in its mouth, a trick, by the way, common enough with retrievers, but which few cats have ever been taught to perform. After a good supper, the reclaimed Fritz went straight to his basket behind the stove and cuddled down contented.
"Gyp at first gave the intruder a sharp rap with her paw, but at once recognized her prodigal son, fell on his neck and kissed him. Fritz now stays very closely at home, for his two years' absence seems to have given him an increased regard for the family roof-tree."
This wonderful power of memory in the Cat has seldom been surpassed by any other attribute in the feline, but there came under my personal observation the following astonishing proof of the intelligence and motherly love of the Cat for her young, the relation of which will undoubtedly find an echo in the memories of many of my readers.
While residing on Lexington avenue near Twenty-fourth street, New York, I had a Pussy who presented the world with a litter of three as pretty kittens as ever were seen. Their beauty, however, did not compensate for their burden upon the household, because there was no yard to the house. I kept the little ones until they were a month old and had grown to be attractive, and offered them to friends and neighbors, all of whom admired, but regretted that they had neither use nor room for them. So, one day I tied about the neck of each cunning little kitten a bright ribbon, to improve their appearance, and having secured the mother cat in the kitchen, I took her babies in my overcoat pockets and carried them to the Twenty-first street side of Gramercy Park, where I deposited two of them inside the enclosure. I then went around to the other side of the great iron fence and placed the other baby in the park and returned to the house. The day was a cold one in Winter, and the avenue is a very busy one during the day, being well travelled by pedestrians and vehicles, and the park a considerable distance from my residence. Within an hour the mother, who was supposed to be securely imprisoned in the kitchen, was heard by the servant crying in the front area, and upon opening the basement door, I discovered the Cat with her three beautiful kittens, all safe and sound, returned and claiming my protection. How the Cat released herself from her imprisonment in the kitchen, and by what wonderful power she found the kittens, whom she must have brought through the street, at the risk of her life, one by one, is more than I could surmise, and there they were. My admiration of her was such that I took in the brood and continued to care for them a month longer, all the while endeavoring to find homes for the little ones, but with no success. Finally, recognizing the necessity of getting rid of the kittens, I carried out the babies, once more, in my pockets, and deposited them in an area of a house, ten blocks away, in a busy part of the city, near Fourth avenue. This time I made sure of the mother by locking her in a room, but, on returning to the house, two hours later, I found the three kittens there, and the mother looking at me appealingly. Although much disgusted at the determination of the mother, I kept her kittens until I had induced some friends to take them, after telling the story and persuading them that the children of such a mother must necessarily become wonderful Cats.
Illustrative also of the intelligence, as well as the praiseworthy liberality and charitableness of the Cat, is the story in the Sun of Baltimore, Md., of June 22d, 1892, as follows:
"Mr. James Forwood of Darlington, Hartford County, has a cat which has developed an interesting trait. Being kittenless, she adopted as her own a brood of motherless young chickens, which come to her when she purrs, and follow her around wherever she goes. When any of the brood stray into a neighbors premises the cat follows, and, picking up each. chick carefully by the back of its neck, as if it were a kitten, and in the same manner in which she had been carried when a kitten herself, deposits it safely upon its own premises. Calling the chicks to her, the cat lies down and hovers over them as tenderly and as carefully as their feathered mother would have done. The chicks appear to accept the situation and are thriving."
VI. FRIENDS OF THE CAT.
The unjust prejudice concerning Pussy extant in the United States and England is not common in other lands. In fact, nowhere outside of the two great countries named is the prejudice tolerated. In Arabia, the Cat is worshiped and treated with tenderest care and the consideration which is her due for duties well performed and properly appreciated. Arabians, who have always expressed a great fondness for the feline, in their legends trace back the origin of the Cat to the time of building the great ark by Noah, and they have a fiction that Pussy was sneezed out of the nostrils of the king of beasts, the lion.
Whatever may be the origin of the Cat, one fact is undeniable, which is that she is not indigenous to America. Some naturalists declare that Pussy was brought over to America in a ship, and others have arrived at the conclusion that it was the wildcat that took passage to our shores on a sailing vessel, and our kind little household pet has evoluted from the wild beast of the denser forests. The tutelary deity of the Cat is Diana, or Pacht, and, according to Plutarch, Pussy was not only sacred to the moon, but an emblem of it, and a figure of a Cat, fixed upon a sistrum, denoted the moon, just as a frog on a ring denoted a man in embryo. Hence Cats were treated with peculiar consideration in Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs. Throughout Egypt, upon the death of the family pet, the entire household went into mourning, and the Cat's funeral was invariably celebrated with great pomp and impressive ceremonies. The bereaved owners of the deceased feline testified their sorrow and respect for the memory of the lost pet by shaving off their eyebrows. The body was always embalmed, and after the funeral placed in the temple of Babistis, where it was visited at stated intervals by members of the household and mourned over as one of the family.
In the days of Moses and the prophets it was a very serious thing to kill a cat. Diodorus relates a story of a Roman soldier, a man of bravery, who accidentally killed a Cat and was tried, convicted and condemned to die. This sentence was executed as religiously as if the Cat had been a human being. It was, in those days, a common thing to mete out severe punishment for injuries done to the feline, and it is to be regretted that some of the stern laws of the Egyptians, relating to outrages perpetrated upon the innocent animals, have not descended to this land and generation, for the better protection of the person of an innocent animal that harms no one and is of inestimable value to mankind.
The Arabs continue to venerate the Cat. Just out of Cairo stands a mosque, where, in modern times, Sultan El Daher provides all the Cats of Cairo and its vicinity in need of sustenance with a plentiful daily repast. From flat roof and from terrace, from the dusty streets and the multitudes of filthy alleys of the city, and from their thousands of hiding places, the hungry felines come, at the hour of prayer, to get their never-forgotten allowance of food, furnished by their ever-faithful friend of the Orient. It has been declared to be an outgrowth of superstition, but there is justice in the remark, " 'tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis, 'tis true," that the superstition exists only in the nobler breast of Sultan El Daher, who feeds his pets, the poor, needy and neglected waifs of other households, then, with a happy heart filled with the glow of a deed of charity well performed, he turns his face to the setting sun and prays for the blessing so richly earned.
Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have hated a Cat with as great a fervor as was expressed by him for his Austrian and Russian foes. In him we have a strong contrast to the great Sultan, although the ridiculous superstition of the great soldier of France has gone into a proverb. Even Shylock, with all his sins and hardness of heart, had a good word for Pussy, and expressed his disgust of a cowardly man by saying, ''Some men there are that are mad if they behold a cat - a harmless, necessary cat."
France's greatest Cardinal, Richelieu, was of an opposite temperament to Napoleon, for he dearly loved the Cat. Mahomet possessed a strong passion for the feline, which has seldom been equaled. It is recorded of the immortal prophet that upon one occasion, when a particular favorite was lying asleep upon his sleeve, he cut off the sleeve and left Pussy in a peaceful slumber rather than disturb her rest. Horace Walpole had a favorite Pussy, and when she died he mourned her loss so much that the ever-living author of "Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard" wrote an ode on the death of Salina, the lovely Tabby of his friend. Many world-renowned people of all ages have been noted for possessing large families of Cats, a fact due, in some cases, to a superstition, but generally from an intense love for the innocent, beautiful and useful animal. The author of "The Doctor," Robert Southey, when he lived at Greta, near Keswick, possessed a large number of plump and healthy Cats, which the kitchen-maids nursed and the Keswick apothecary dosed.
In fact, from time immemorial Pussy has been a companion of the learned. Petrarch had his pet embalmed and Andrea Doria, one of the rulers of Venice, not only had his dead Cat's portrait taken, but also preserved her skeleton among his choicest mementos. The Cat of Cardinal Wolsey sat by his side when he gave audience or received princes. Rousseau loved Cats, and it is said of Sir Isaac Newton that he cut a large hole in his barn
for his old cat and a smaller one, beside it, for the young kittens. Edgar Allen Poe wrote a thrilling tale of a black Cat, and even the ambitious, bloodthirsty Lady Macbeth alludes kindly to the household pet. Dr. Johnson had a Cat upon which he doted, and being seemingly desirous of perpetuating her fame, he taught her to eat oysters, a feat never recorded of any other Cat in history. Henry James, the novelist, wrote with his Cat upon his shoulder. The effusively polite, sensitively dilettante, conscienceless and steel-hearted Chesterfield had one redeeming trait, which was his love for Pussy, if such a cold-blooded man could be possessed of the faculty of loving. When he died, he left a pension to his Cats and their posterity after them. Paul de Kock, the French novelist, had a family of thirty Cats, and De Musset wrote apostrophes to Cats, in verse.
Chateaubriand was passionately fond of Cats, and when he was sent as an ambassador to the Pope, the latter could think of no more suitable present for the devoted son of the Church than his predecessor's favorite Cat, which present greatly pleased Chateaubriand and cost the great prelate nothing. There is no more familiar figure in the memory of an Englishman than Whittington, once Lord Mayor of London, with his Cat.
The Greek monks of the Island of Cyprus used to train the Cats to hunt and kill the serpents with which they were plagued. In Sicily the Cat is sacred to Saint Martha, and whoever, either by design or accident, kills one, it is believed, undergoes seven years of punishment. In Hungary they believe that a Cat must necessarily be a good mouser, and she is highly prized there for her inestimable qualities.
VII. SOME REMARKABLE TRUE STORIES.
The delicate movement, characteristic reserve and native modesty of the Cat may account for the supposition of the ignorant and unappreciative that Pussy is stupid. This foolish supposition has been refuted by innumerable instances of her intelligence, which, in many cases on record and thoroughly authenticated, are marvelous in the extreme. I will not delve into ancient, history for proofs of the astonishing intelligence of the Cat and relate what is already patent to the world, but will give some of the best authenticated incidents which have occurred within a few years in our own land. Very recently the New York Sun gave an authenticated account of a Cat owned by Mr. Chester F. Hall, of Danville, Ind., who, when she desires to enter the house, invariably rings the bell of the front door and is admitted by the servants. This, I imagine, is an expression of more intelligence than is often evinced by many of the Cat's traducers among the country bumpkins who, with the bell handle under their noses, have frequently been known to knock upon the door for admission to the house.
The camaraderie of dogs and Cats, in every land, has been significantly narrated in every tongue, innumerable times. It has always been noticed that in such associations the dog have always bossed the Cat, demonstrating his arrogant spirit, resulting from his appreciation of the fact that he is the stronger animal and that "might makes right." But within my personal observation this bossism is of a good-natured character, and often amusing. Frequently, too, the canine in the full knowledge of his superior strength, uses it generously for the protection of the weaker comrade, and I propose to give an instance of this fact, together with an illustration of the characteristic insouciance of Pussy, and the sense of order and the amenities of private life as manifested by the stronger comrade.
Some years ago my Skye terrier, "Gyp," had a litter of puppies, and we saved one of them, "Jessie," who was brought up with a pretty little kitten. From Jessie's birth she manifested a great liking for Kitty, and played with her as good-naturedly and freely as if she had been a dog. It is true that Gyp, the mother of Jessie, looked upon this fraternizing with disapprobation, often telling her puppy that she was lowering herself by such close
intimacy with the Cat, but the intimacy went on and on. One never saw Kittie scratch or hurt Jessie, nor did the latter ever injure, nor even anger, the Cat. Pussy permitted Jessie to play all sorts of pranks with her tail, and the laughter of the entire household has often been provoked by the seeming cunning little ways of both. Jessie would hide behind the door, and as Pussy came gingerly along in search of her playfellow suddenly dash out upon Kittie, to her palpable consternation, and the two would roll over and over each other, on the kitchen floor, in each other's arms. Neither dog ever interfered with the food set apart for Kittie, nor was there ever a wistful glance at the dainties upon her plate.
One remarkable circumstance, however, proved the dogs' ideas of "the right of domain," and demonstrated the fact that they considered the kitchen the proper place for Kittie. She had always been kept "downstairs," and never ventured to go above the kitchen floor, excepting upon one memorable occasion. The little dogs were permitted to remain in the dining room during the time when the family were eating. At all other times they were at liberty to roam about the house at their own sweet will. One day, the kitchen door being left open, Kittie thought she would make a new departure, and accordingly strolled up the kitchen stairs and into the dining room, tail erect and a "lovely day, to-day" kind of a look upon her smiling face. Pussy's appearance and her nonchalant impudence overpowered the dogs for a moment, and before they had recovered from their astonishment Pussy had pre-empted a soft cushion on a rocking chair, which was the especial resting place of the mother, Gyp, and always regarded as particularly sacred to her aristocratic ladyship. This was too much for the dogs. Every member of the family vacated that chair when Gyp claimed it, and as for Jessie, she never dared to get upon that sacred cushion.
When the dogs had recovered their equilibrium, after their astonishment at the temerity of the "kitchen cat," as they evidently regarded her, they put their noses together and compared notes, after the fashion of canines, and then Gyp and Jessie proceeded to the development of their theory concerning Cats in the dining room. Together they went up to the chair, and each seized a corner of the cushion upon which Kittie had made herself comfortable and at home, and with a suggestion that she was not asked to sit down, deliberately pulled both Cat and cushion from the chair, landing Kittie unceremoniously upon the floor in a very indecorous manner and very much to her disgust. But the affair did not end here. Kittie looked from one to the other of her household companions as if doubting the evidence of her senses, and as much as to ask them if they did not feel ashamed of themselves for treating a lady in such an undignified manner? She cast a withering glance at them and sidled toward the table, as if seeking protection from some one of the family, who were at dinner, and with an injured air sat down at my side. This was altogether too much presumption for the dogs to stand, and their good nature left them as, prompted by the mother, Jessie sidled up to Kittie, who looked at the dogs, appealingly, while they said, as plainly as could be said by dogs, ''You are not an upstairs Cat, Kittie - you are nothing but a kitchen Cat, and you have no rights here that we are bound to respect. Go downstairs, like a good little kitten, and the cook will feed you."
To this remark Kittie shrugged her shoulders and refused to budge. Then came the funny part of it, which was not at all funny to the Cat. Jessie edged up to Kittie upon one side and Gyp sidled up to the other side of the Cat, and together they actually pushed her along to the kitchen stairs and forced her to descend to her own quarters on the floor below. Kittie struggled to get away from them and remain in the dining room, but they were too quick for her, and downstairs she went, full of dudgeon, and never after attempted to encroach upon the territory which the little dogs claimed for their own. This incident did not disturb the friendship existing between Jessie and Kittie, for they continued to be as fast friends as ever, but the Cat, certainly, had an idea that Jessie had been put up to the job by her mother, and I have no doubt that the cunning Jessie told her so.
These two dogs were the terror of the Cats in the neighborhood, and it was no unusual occurrence to see the feline skurrying away from our "farm” with both Skyes terriers at their heels and almost within biting distance. Woe betide the Cat that either got their teeth into, for they were dead Cats when either Gyp or Jessie caught them, as many an occasion proved. Singularly, however, they never injured Kittie, but, to show that they cherished and protected her, I will mention one occurrence of the many which came under my own eye. It was in the summer time, when the windows of the kitchen were open. Both dogs were reposing in the doorway when there suddenly appeared upon the window sill, a Tomcat, who had ventured to come courting Kittie. The "Young Lochinvar” eyed Kittie lovingly, and approached the innocent young thing with a polite air, saying, no doubt, that he would like to persuade her to "tread but one measure with young Lochinvar," and that "in all the wide border his steed was the best."
Kittie received the bold suitor, who had not noticed the dogs, in his eagerness to get near and his admiration of Kittie. The cunning Dulcinea eyed the canines out of a corner of one eye, while she had the other upon the approaching Tom, and before he had lisped a confession of his love she, with maidenly instinct and appropriate modesty, gave the customary wild scream, resembling that of the maiden in story, when "the villain still pursues her," and started to her feet. The dogs sprang up in an instant at the call for help uttered by Kiltie, and in an instant they landed upon the astonished Lochinvar, who, it may be remarked, "never knew what struck him," for we put his cold Catship in the ash-barrel, a few moments later, and washed the noses of the dogs with a rough towel, and the remark that it was a cruel act, while laughing in our sleeves at the suddenness of the ''taking off" and the affection of the little protectors, Gyp and Jessie.
One of the most astonishing' incidents upon record, proving the sagacity, as well as the courage of the Cat, is of recent occurrence and worthy of recital. The fearlessness of the feline, and the wonderful intelligence manifested in her attack upon the animal, in it only tender part, is something astonishing and unaccountable. In a combat with a dog, the Cat is frequently victor, but seldom has she demonstrated her power of conquering a saurian. The incident is narrated by a correspondent of the "New York Sun," under date of April 3, 1832, as follows:
"One of the most remarkable combats ever witnessed in this country occurred on Holmes River, near this place, last week. In the battle a Cat and an alligator fought for three hours, with the final result in favor of the tabby.
"The alligators have invested the river, and it is considered dangerous for any person or animal to go near the banks. The saurians are not large, but they appear to make up in activity what they lack in size. A house Cat belonging to Mr. Walton was in the habit of going to the river and feeding on mussels and such fish as it could get, and it was noticed several times that when the Cat moved along the bank a ripple in the water showed that an alligator kept pace with it in the stream. The Cat, however, was aware of the alligator's presence, but showed no fear.
"On the day mentioned the Cat approached too near the water in its eagerness to get a fish, and was grasped by the hind legs by an alligator about three feet long. The Cat made a spring and got away, but its leg was badly bitten, and bled freely. The taste of blood seemed to put the alligator into a frenzy, for it came out on the bank and continued the pursuit. The Cat turned on its enemy, and then began one of the strangest sights seen in a long time. The Cat was so quick that it was impossible for the alligator to get a bite at it, and the result was that the saurian soon endeavored to beat a retreat to the water. But the Cat now began an offensive attack, and cut off the way, biting the alligator in the throat and tender spots under the arms, until the reptile was bleeding and almost exhausted. The fight continued, and when, at last, the alligator gave up, it was bleeding from a hundred wounds. The Cat was, seemingly, unhurt, except in the wounded leg, which was injured before the fight began."
VIII. HOSPICE DU CHATS.
In many civilized countries Cat Hospitals have been established, and for many years sustained by subscriptions from charitably disposed people. Attached to one of the Turkish mosques at Alleppo is a Cat Asylum, founded by a misanthropic old Turk, who placed a great value upon the Cat, because of the service it had been in ridding his granary of rats. In Philadelphia, Pa., there is a Cat Refuge, which was established some fifteen years ago, and during that time has cared for more than thirty thousand Cats. In the city of Paris, France, is a very extensive establishment called Hospice du Chats, whose name is an indication of its object. It has been in existence for many years, and is maintained by sifts from charitable people as well as by contributions from the Government and bequests from dead lovers of the household pet. This building, covering a very large space of land, is two stories in height and expensively built for the exclusive purpose of sheltering the Cats of France, and there they have been domiciled, nursed through sickness and cared for to extreme old age, as tenderly as ever human beings were nurtured. Rooms are assigned to the sexes and different nationalities, halls and chambers are warmed by steam, meals are served with religious regularity, and the institution is run with the same regard to decorum and preciseness in every detail as is manifested in a well-regulated hotel. Many thousands of the feline race have been born, nursed, grown to old age and died there, within the hospitable walls of this admirable hospice, while a hundred thousand more have found good homes and tender café throughout sunny France, by means of the solicitous administration of the officers of the institution. London, also, boasts of a similar charity, although the hospice in Paris is the model one of its kind, by which all the others take pattern. An institution of this kind was projected some three years ago by some charitably-disposed ladies of New York, but failed to meet the required indorsement of the authorities, and being opposed by the "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals," which claims to have control of the stray Cats, by virtue of its charter, the embryo hospice, or Cat Hospital, as it was called, died in its inception, very much to the disgust of many wealthy ladies, whose admiration of the feline pet had induced them to subscribe large amounts for the establishment of an institution similar to that of the Paris "Hospice du Chats," Perhaps, at some future time, Mr. Bergh's successor may become so far yielding as to permit the erection of a suitable institution, upon the plan of the French hospice, where sick Cats may be nursed, tramp Cats may be cut off in their wickedness, incurably afflicted Cats may be chloroformed and healthy and restored Cats may procure good homes throughout the country, while the breed of the animal may be materially and effectually improved. Should these objects be accomplished through the instrumentality of such a worthy asylum for the sick and outcast of our household pets, the delighted ladies at the head of such an institution may be induced to add to the benefits of the hospice a thorough course of instruction in Chesterfieldian politeness and regard for the feelings of their immediate neighbors, to be observed, most particularly, during those hours which, by the usage of a well-regulated community, have been devoted exclusively to sleep. This course of "belles-lettres" would obviate the dernier resort of "belling the Cat," and bring joy to the hearthstone of many a would-be slumberer at the witching hour of midnight, when the ghosts do walk and firearms are frequently heard in the land, the song of the nightingale being supplanted by the peculiar organ of the unruly and homeless Cat.
A scientist by the name of Prof. R. L. Garnier, a native of this country, if I am rightly informed, who has devoted a lifetime to the development of his theory that monkeys have a language of their own, has recently been given great encouragement in the pursuit of his inquiries by the Government of this country. A large appropriation was awarded to him for the necessary apparatus, of a scientific nature, and for the purpose of defraying his expenses of travel through Africa, for the prosecution of his experiments, and his demonstration, as he fondly hoped, that these animals have a language of communication of ideas between themselves. Already he has discovered one word of their peculiar language, which gives promise of better results after he has been enabled to properly carry out his experiments. He departed upon his journey fully equipped with all the scientific instruments and aids which money, lavishly expended by the Government, could procure. It is expected that his experiences will be announced to the astonishment of the world and revolutionize the old and fallacious beliefs that animals cannot talk and express their feelings one to the other.
Without disparagement of the worthy object of this scientist, I desire to call attention to the fact that, like the poor, we have the Cat always with us, and I would press the consideration of their necessities as being pertinent to the question of the comfort and enjoyment of the human race. That the Government should have considered the subject of the monkey language of such importance as to warrant the expenditure of a great sum of money to Prof. Garnier for the development of this theory is evidence that the same benign Republic should award a much larger sum for the care, protection and improvement of the breed of our domestic pets and more particularly for the development of my theory of the language of the Cat, which has occupied the lonely hours of many a scientist in this country, and been my study for years past. When the proper time arrives, I shall hope for encouragement from our Government, which has been my Government for the past half century, for the further development of the theories, proofs of which I shall submit to the public. While I favor missionary work, I may be like many others who claim that "Charity begins at home” and recommend the Government to make an instant application of the doctrine, to the end that it may have a wholesome effect, intimating that the protecting Protection is that which protects our own, and particularly our household pets.
IX. ASTOUNDING REVELATIONS BY THE CAT.
Under the classification of remarkable instances of the intelligence of animals, T omitted one instance, pertinent to this story and astonishing to me, unless it may be regarded as an accident. I will give it without the least coloring of the truth. The manuscript of the preceding part of this treatise was prepared some time ago, and placed in a drawer of my desk with many other rolls of writing, the drawer being filled with them. For several successive nights I heard a peculiar noise in this drawer, but, although the sounds emitted seemed to indicate the gnawing of a mouse, I could not bring myself to the belief that such a busy little animal could gain access to the drawer, or would be able to find anything attractive to him there. However, my amanuensis, having occasion to open the drawer one day, exclaimed with surprise that the mice had been making a nest in the drawer.
Upon examination we found that the paper gnawed was this article treating upon the enemy of the mouse - the Cat - while the other rolls of manuscript remained untouched. Now, whether this act was committed in a spirit of vandalism and to demonstrate the hatred of the destroyers for the subject of the story, or with a mere wanton desire to destroy my property, I cannot surmise. Certain it is, however, that they singled out this matter about the Cat, and left uninjured the other manuscript, thus demonstrating the fact, it seems to me, that the Cat story and none other was the object of their search.
It was at the time when my attention was called to the subject of the simian language that my memory recurred to an important document in my possession relating to the Cat. After a prolonged search, with a determination to rescue it from the oblivion into which I had unintentionally cast it, I, with more success than generally rewards such searches, discovered the document, and will have the pleasure of presenting it to the public, giving it a free translation from the French, in which language it is written. The history of this wonderful document is short. Some years ago I was the editor of a New York morning newspaper, and one day there chanced to call upon me at my office a French gentleman of about fifty years of age, rather short in stature, fairly well dressed, with a benevolent countenance, bright, black eyes, regular features with the exception of a prominent nose and the unmistakable stamp of a litterateur. His hands and feet were small, and he had a nervous air about him while he gesticulated in the expression of his ideas, and spoke in a mixture of French and English, just as all pure Frenchmen are accustomed to do.
He had previously sent in to me his card, which read thus:
"Alphonse Leon Grimaldi, F.R.S., F.G.S., M.O.
D.H. du C, M.F.A.S., M. F.A„ et al,
"Rue de Honore, 13, Paris.
"Metropolitan Hotel, X. Y."
Prof. Grimaldi, the French gentleman, presented himself to my wondering eyes as I rose to meet him, and extended his hand with a Chesterfieldian bow, exclaiming, as nearly as my memory serves:
"Jais ver happy for ze honaire of ze attention pour le editaire of one great journal."
I replied, of course, that I was proud to meet him, and asked what he desired to know, and how I could serve so great a scientist, for the reputation of this great man and his wonderful scientific researches and discoveries had reached my ears upon the wings of many foreign messages even then.
As I replied to the Professor in his native tongue, he expressed himself as being more at his ease, although he offered to converse with me in English, a language in which, he said, "he was perfectly at home, and spoke fluently," as all Frenchmen pride themselves upon being able to do after a month's practice, without taking into consideration that Webster claims words in our language to the extent of six figures. However, I considered my French much more comprehensible than his English, and the conversation was continued in that language, very much to his delight.
He informed me that he had made a life study of the animal kingdom, and that, for many years, unknown to his most intimate friends and associates in the scientific world, he had made a particular study of the Cat and its habits, while of late years he had come to the conclusion that Cats have a language all their own. To my surprise he informed me that he had demonstrated in a paper, which he drew from his pocket, the fact that upon his theories, and by a close observation of the rules set down in his manuscript upon the Cat language, the whole world might acquire it. He presented me with the document in recognition of my sympathy with him in a subject so near his heart, and expressed a hope that I might find time in the near future to examine and print his theories and the results of his investigations. The reason for his keeping the facts of his researches a secret from his most intimate friends and his scientific brethren, he remarked, was that if he had not carried the subject to a successful termination, he never could have lived through the sarcasm and taunts of those men of science, who would have overwhelmed him with abuse because of his failure.
I glanced at the title of the paper, and, after thanking him for his valuable gift, and promising to read it at some leisure hour, I bade him adieu, and resumed my duties, having placed the paper in the editorial desk. To those who are aware of the numberless documents and the thousands of articles upon various subjects which accumulate in and about the desk of an editor, I need not explain that this paper was soon buried, so that when my memory recurred to it, a month later, the document could not be found, and I finally gave up my quest, and considered the paper last beyond recovery. Imagine my rejoicing, however, when, but a few months ago, I found it intact, and perused its contents with great surprise. I was the more rejoiced at its recovery because it verifies my own theories, and proves beyond a doubt that the Cat has a language which may be spoken by anybody who will make a study of it. What wonders this discovery will work in every community of the civilized world may better be imagined than described. The accumulated secrets of many years will be told, and crimes and misdemeanors which until now have baffled inquisitors will be unearthed- and the perpetrators punished; little peccadillos will be given to the gossipers, and even the tender passages between John and his girl in the parlor or the sitting-room, in the arbor, or upon the way through "lovers land," wall become subject for tattle among: gossipers.
X. OF GRIMALDI'S WONDERFUL DISCOVERIES
It is scarcely necessary to recount the wonderful researches of the great Prof. Grimaldi, the great French naturalist. His name has become a household word, and his fame world-wide. When I unearthed his carefully prepared paper it was yellow with age, but his chirography was a marvel of neatness, and distinct as copper plate. I have made a literal translation of it, and will give it in his own words without emendations.
By Alphonse Leon Grimaldi, F.R.S., F.G.S., M.O,S.,
D.H. du C, M.F.A.S., M,F.A., et al.
I was born with an intense passion for animals. I am a Frenchman, therefore am I a man of strong passions. I have not married. My love is for the animal kingdom, and it has been returned to me one hundred fold all my life. In woman there is deceit, and in man deception rules his nature. If I treat an animal with kindness, I will, invariably, be overwhelmed with gratitude. The animal never bites the hand that feeds it - the human being frequently does. Therefore, I live among animals and center my affections in them. I have made my unalterable choice. I teach the gentler manners and the magnanimity, perhaps the greater intelligence of those of God's creatures who are far above their self-constituted masters, and their inexhaustible love of even the hand that smites, if it be the hand of a beneficiary. You have repeatedly noticed that a large and powerful dog can never be persuaded to attack or oppress a smaller or a feebler one. Tell me how frequently you have known a man of influence, power, riches or strength, to oppress and take advantage of a feebler or poorer one? Is it not a daily, nay, hourly occurrence? Have you ever seen a healthy animal oppress a sickly one? Never! Times without number you have been an eyewitness to the tender care and solicitude of the well for the sick animal, and as frequently you have seen the unfortunate provided with every necessary by his more fortunate comrades. How often do you find these traits in the human being? For this, and for many other reasons with which I might tire you, I love all animals but man.
Men declare that only the biped, man, is endowed with reason. It is false. It is so declared, in order that man may possess one characteristic that will elevate him above, and distinguish him from what he chooses, falsely, to call the lower animals.
Your Noah Webster, who padded your dictionary in order to make a formidable book, like many another man, says that animals are not possessed of reasoning powers, but have only instinct. He gives the definition of instinct as follows: "INSTINCT. A certain power or disposition of mind by which, independent of all instructions or experience, without deliberation, and without having any end in view, animals are unerringly directed to do spontaneously whatever is necessary for the preservation of the individual or the continuation of the kind."
This is your American authority, and you must accept it, for you have adopted the dictionary. By this definition, and with only one question, I will prove to you that animals have reasoning powers, just as men have. Have not animals an end in view when they gather their food and build their homes for the winter months, when they rear their young, anticipate the coming of the night and of that longer night constituting the darkness of age and death, when preparing for the coming of their Master, and when, with a grand evidence of their superiority over man, they anticipate the changes of the weather?
The intelligent man admits that animals not only have minds, but that they reason also. The sooner the whole world admits this fact the sooner we will arrive at the truth in the premises, and give the feline her due as well as be just to other animals. The study of natural history unfolds to the mind a new universe of beauty, interest and profit. The beautiful book of nature is spread out in inexhaustible profusion to all creatures, and no one can claim a monopoly of this grand study. Other animals read it constantly, and seem to understand it better than man. Man has not been able, with all his knowledge of science, to make a barometer which will give as unerring calculations concerning the weather as, will the animals which he considers beneath him in intelligence. I instance more particularly the wild goose, who will indicate the temperature of the season, and I will remark that there is no compass or needle which can indicate the course of a pigeon while it navigates the air equal to its own instinct. In the hydraulics of nature, the beaver stands foremost of all living creatures, and the bee is the greatest builder in the world. Do you not admit that ''instinct" will no longer answer as a name for intelligence in what you call the "brute" animals? Is it without deliberation and without having an end in view that, when you take a young pigeon from the cote in which it was hatched, and carrying it in a coop to a distance of four hundred miles from its home, you free it, and it takes its flight in a bee line for the cote in which it was born? What shall that quality of mind be called?
Dogs, Cats and other animals have been carried for hundreds of miles from their homes, and but a few days elapsed before they return to the place from whence they were taken. Have they “no end in view” and is this done "without deliberation?"
There is a species of fish-hawk, in your Northern lakes, which has most remarkable eyes, microscopic as well as telescopic. You may often see this1 fellow, early in the morning, hovering over the placid water of some lonely lake, when he will suddenly dart off, leave the water and take up his position upon the bare limb of a blighted tree, and watch the track over which he flew. Presently you will see him leave his high perch and, with the accuracy and velocity of an arrow, strike the bosom of the lake, grasp a fish and bear it to his perch. Nature has furnished this wise bird with a bait which enables him to become a successful fisherman. He has in his throat, or aesophagus, a small sac, in which he secretes a kind of oil. This oil he drops upon the surface, the fishes are attracted to it, and at once there is a great commotion in the water. The hawk, seeing this, takes advantage of the situation, and pounces upon his prey.
It is silly in man to assume that all he sees is but the effect of law. It is more sensible to assume that there is an intelligence behind law and matter. The intelligence shown in plants cannot be denied. Take, for instance, the aquatic plants. They will travel long distances over walls and other impediments before they will stop their growth.
That animals have a moral sense is evidenced in the fact of the prominence in their natures of the attributes of reason, memory, invention, motive, ingenuity, will and gratitude. Granting these premises, and grant them you must from the proofs which I have submitted to you, and which have come under my own observation, you must admit that animals reason and think and give the same evidence of free intelligence observable in human nature. That dogs, Cats, horses, elephants, birds and even pigs can be taught to do most wonderful things, millions of people can attest from personal observation, and you have the proof in your own minds, to show free intellectual ability on the part of wild and tame animals.
In my love for the Cat and my preference for that beautiful animal above all others, I do not stand alone. Nearly all men of note among the learned, as well as others, both in ancient and modern times, have signified their preference for the Cat in the strongest terms. Mahomet almost worshipped the Cat, and declared that his own should have a prominent place in his heaven. Richelieu possessed a house full of Cats, with twenty favorites, whom he cherished with great care and fed with his own hands. Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Moore, Talleyrand, Edgar Allen Poe, Chateaubriand, Robert Southey, Dr. Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Julius Caesar, Thomas Gray, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Walter Raleigh, Cardinal Wolsey, Rousseau, Lord Chesterfield, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, Plutarch, and thousands of others, have expressed their admiration of my favorite. Ancient history tells us of more than one nation that sainted the Cat, while others still hold the animal in high veneration. Certainly it must be admitted that the Cat possesses some wonderful attributes the evidence of which prompts its distinction. I claim for the Cat a higher order of intellect than exists in any other animal. While I love the dog, and claim for him a greater degree of intelligence than may be accorded to the horse, I class the Cat and the dog to be as distinct in their individuality and with as much difference as you see existing between man and woman. The organism of the Cat is of a very delicate nature, and, therefore, more susceptible to all influences. They are quicker of perception than any other animal, and, therefore, they more readily acquire knowledge.
By an extended series of experiments I have demonstrated this fact, and would give the results of my labor were I not positive that my readers have made a comparison of the dog and the Cat, and arrived at the same conclusion without anything more than a casual observation. In experimenting, however, my attention was directed with more particularity to the manner of communication of ideas between Cats, and what was my surprise to discover that they have a language of their own, embracing not only words but, in a large degree, signs. You may the better understand me when I call attention to the fact that there are few words, comparatively, in the French language, but there is, among Frenchmen, a sign language; as, for instance, there is no word to express the meaning or our shrug of the shoulders and the extending of the hand and forearms. Words cannot express the feelings of the heart when men and women of every nativity bow their heads before their God. Because of this predominance of signs in the language of the Cat, it will be difficult for me to describe their mode of idea-communication ; but I will make the attempt, and endeavor to bring it as clearly as possible to your minds, in order that you may comprehend it as distinctly as it presents itself to mine.
XI. SIGNS AND SOUNDS.
Language signifies the expression of ideas by sounds and by certain articulate sounds which are used as the signs or the ideas, sounds being regarded as mere aids and of secondary importance to signs, which are, primarily, of the greatest importance in language.
By articulate sounds I mean those modulations of the simple voice or of sounds emitted from the thorax, formed by means of the mouth and its several organs, namely, the teeth, the tongue and the palate. When we give a name to anything harsh or boisterous we, of course, use a harsh or boisterous sound, the better to describe our meaning. By the use of such words as express such sounds we convey the ideas intended to be expressed. It is purely natural to imitate, by the sound of the voice, the quality of the sound or noise which any external object makes, and to form its name accordingly. In every language will be found a multitude of words constructed upon this principle. We call a certain bird a cuckoo because of the peculiar sound which he emits. Regard the fact that in English one kind of bird is said to "whistle," another to "chirp," a serpent to ''hiss,” a fly to “buzz," a bee to "hum," falling timber to "crash," a stream to "flow," hail to "rattle," rain to "patter," a bell to "tinkle" or "jingle," or "toll," or to "clash" with another, a board to "creak," thunder to "roll," lightning to "flash" and a cataract to "roar." In these instances the analogy between the word and the thing expressed is most plainly discernible to the ear. Notice, also, if you please, that in the names of objects which address the sight only, when neither noise nor motion are concerned, and still more in the term applied to moral ideas, this analogy appears to fail. This shows a superiority of signs over sounds, and is one reason for according to signs, over sounds, a primary importance. I have noticed, however, that many learned men have been of the opinion that though in such cases the meaning becomes more obscure, yet it is not altogether lost, but that throughout the radical words of all languages there may be traced some degree of correspondence with the object signified.
Perhaps no language is so peculiar a mixture as your own, by which I mean the English, which is neither pure nor indigenous. The rule applies to other languages to a far less degree, but still it applies. As the multitude of names increases in every nation and the immense field of language is filled up - if it ever gets filled up - words by the thousands, fanciful and irregular methods of derivation and composition, come to deviate widely from the primitive character of their roots and lose all analogy or resemblance to sound in the thing signified. It is in such a heterogeneous state that we find words of sound-signs in language.
Nature taught the members of the animal kingdom to communicate their feelings, one to another, by those expressive cries and gestures which are so descriptive. Afterward, names of objects were invented by slow degrees, in aid of signs. This mode of speaking by natural signs could not be all at once applied, for language, in its infancy, must have been extremely crude, and there certainly was a period in the history of all rude nations when conversation was carried on by the use of a very few words, intermixed with a multitude of exclamations and earnest gestures significant of the meaning intended to be conveyed.
In the early days, the small stock of words which were in use, rendered signs absolutely necessary for explaining the conceptions and rude, uncultivated beings, not having signs at hand, with the few words which they knew it was naturally labor to make themselves understood by varying their tones of voice and accompanying their voices with the most significant gesticulations they could make.
The primitive search was for signs and sounds which bore an analogy to the thing signified. The pronunciation of the earliest sounds of the languages was accompanied with more gesticulations and with more and greater inflections of the voice than we now use. Certainly there was more action in it, and it was conducted upon more of a crying or a singing tone. Necessity first gave rise to this primitive yet admirable way of speaking, and it may be said of it that it was action explanatory of meaning.
Inflections of voice are so natural that to some nations it has appeared easier to express different ideas by varying the tones in which they pronounce the same word than to contrive words for all of their ideas. I instance the Chinese in particular. The number of words in their language is not great, but in speaking they vary each of their words by not less than five different tones, by which they make the same word signify five different things. This gives the appearance of singing, or music, to their speech, so noticeable in their conversation, for these inflections of voice, which, in the infancy of language, were no more than harsh or disconsonant cries, must, as language gradually becomes more polished, pass into smoother and more musical sounds. Hence is formed what is styled the prosody of language.
It is remarkable and deserves attention that both in the Greek and the Roman languages this musical and gesticulating pronunciation was retained in a very high degree. The Greeks, it is well known, were a more musical people than the Romans, and carried their attention to the tone and pronunciation much farther in every public exhibition. Aristotle, in his poetics, considers the music of tragedy one of its chief and essential parts. The case was more than parallel in regard to gestures, for strong tones and animated gestures always go together. At last gesture came to engross the stage wholly, for under the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius the favorite entertainment of the public was pantomime, carried on entirely by gesticulations.
XII. DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGES.
A Frenchman both varies his accents and gesticulates while he speaks much more than an Englishman, and an Italian a great deal more than either. Musical pronunciations and expressive gesture are, to this day, the distinction of Italy, and this combination of sign and its aid, sound, the latter being notes for its music, make the sweetest and most liquid language in existence. The want of a proper name for every object, obliged them to use one name for many objects, and, of course, to express themselves by comparisons, metaphors, allusions and all those substantive forms of speech which render language figurative.
Poetry is more ancient than prose, and here we have a remarkable order of speech, such as "fruit give me.” I, therefore, conclude, as the first fundamental principle in the organization and procession of word-signs, that this would be the order in which words should be most commonly arranged at the beginning of language, and accordingly, we find, in fact, that in this order words are arranged in most of the ancient tongues - the Russian, Slavonic, Gaelic, and many others. In the Latin the arrangement which most commonly obtains is to place first in the sentence that word which expresses the principal object, together with its circumstance, and afterward the person or thing which acts upon it.
I desire to impress most particularly upon the reader the value of signs and sounds in the language, for he would be a fool, indeed, who would not mark the significance of a tone or a gesture.
The word-signs in the English language number thirty-eight thousands. This includes, of course, not only the radical words, but all the derivatives, except the preterits and participles of verbs, to which must be added some few terms which, though set down in your dictionary, are either obsolete or have never ceased to be considered foreign. They have been introduced into your Noah Webster, "unabridged," together with many thousands of conjunctive and scientific words, for the sole purpose of making a big book and claiming that there are one hundred thousand word-signs in the English language. Of the thirty-eight thousands about twenty-three thousands are of Anglo-Saxon origin. The majonty of the remainder, in what exact proportion I cannot say, are Latin and Greek, but the largest share is Latin. The names of the greater part of the objects of sense, in other words, the terms which occur most frequently in discourse, or which recall the most vivid conceptions, in the English vocabulary, are Anglo-Saxon. The names of the most striking objects in visible nature, of the chief agencies at work and of the changes which pass over it, are Anglo-Saxon.
This language has given names to the heavenly bodies, namely, the sun, the moon and the stars, to three out of every four elements, namely, earth, fire and water; to three out of every four seasons, namely, spring, summer and winter, and, indeed, to all the natural divisions of time, except one, as day, night, morning, evening, twilight, noon, midday, midnight, sunrise, sunset, some of which are among the most poetical terms in the language.
To the same language we are indebted for the names of light, heat, cold, frost, rain, snow, hail, sleet, thunder, lightning, as well as almost all those objects which form the component parts of the beautiful and external scenery as seen in land, hill and dale, wood and stream. It is from this language you derive the word most expressive of the earliest and dearest connections and the strongest and most powerful feelings of nature, and which are, consequently, invested with your oldest and most complicated associations. In this language we find the names of father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, child, home, kindred, friends. It has furnished the greater part of those metonymies and other figurative expressions by which is represented to the imagination, and that in a single word the reciprocal duties and enjoyments of hospitality, friendship or love. Such are hearth, roof and fireside. The chief emotions of which we are susceptible, as love, hope, fear, sorrow, shame, and what is of more consequence to the orator and the poet, as well as in common life, the outward signs by which emotion is indicated, are almost all Anglo-Saxon. Such are tear, smile, blush, to laugh, to weep, to sigh, to groan.
Most of those objects about which the practical reason of man is employed in common life receive their names from the Anglo-Saxon.
XIII. LANGUAGE OF DIVINE ORIGIN.
One of our greatest poets says,
“ 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo of the sense”
The words buzz, crackle, crash, blow, rattle, roar, hiss, whistle, and many others of a like nature and construction, were evidently formed to imitate the sounds themselves. Sometimes the word expressing an object is formed to imitate the sound produced by that object, as wave, cuckoo, whippoorwill, whisper, hum. I have been thus particular in calling the attention of the reader to these beautiful characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon because it is the language of the Cat in so far as word-signs are used in it for want of action to express the ideas or as conjunctives more particularly. The smooth and liquid passages from your poets, which express onomatopoeia, are but echoes from that most beautiful of all languages, that of the Cat. Such are the word-signs of Goldsmith,
"The whitewashed wall, the nicely sanded floor,
The varnished clock that clicked behind the door.”
To the credit of the Cat language it must be said that, while it is esteemed a great beauty in writing and conversation, as well as speaking, when the word-signs selected for the expression of an idea convey, by their sound, some resemblance to the subject which they express, the Cat language contains none but such words. You will remember the most wonderful poem written in the English language, and notice the word-painting in the following extract from "Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard”
"For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
Left the warm -precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling ring look behind!"
Pope, also, in his "Essay on Criticism," in a manner though different yet scarcely less expressive, gives a verbal representation of his idea, by the selection of his terms in the following:
"These equal syllables alone require,
Though oft the ear the open vowels tire,
While expletives their feeble aid do join,
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line."
And, once again, Pope says,
"A needless Alexandrian ends the song,
That, like a wounded snake, drags his slow length along,
Soft is the strain when zephyrs gently blow,
And the smooth streams in smoother numbers flow,
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should, like the torrent, roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line, too, labors, and the words move slow.
Nor so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main,”
I am of the opinion that language is of Divine origin, and that it was put into the mouth of the Cat, the same as it was put into the mouth of Adam, by the Almighty. In this opinion I am encouraged by many of your most prominent writers. In fact, it is the only sensible theory upon which we can stand. But the very first expression of a desire was a sign by action of the muscles, frequently followed by a sound-sign. This has often been demonstrated when infants have been placed, for a year or more, in a room where no speech or expressive action has met either eye or ear, and it has not yet been doubted. Many men have written upon the subject of the origin of language, from every point of view, the majority of these endeavoring to account for its existence without allowing that it is of Divine origin. Undoubtedly the first man, Adam, could talk as naturally as he could hear, see and taste. Speech was a part of his endowment. Is there anything more wonderful in man's talking than in a bird singing, save that speech is a higher order of utterance? Dumb nature, so called, performs marvels every day as wonderful as man talking. The honey bee builds its cell, ignorant of the fact that such a construction is a solution of a problem which had troubled men for centuries to solve - namely, at what point should certain lines meet so as to give the most room with the least material and have the greatest strength in building? This problem is said to have beer worked out by a Mr. McLaughlin, a noted Scotch mathematician, who arrived at his conclusion by a laborious and careful fluctionary calculation. To his surprise and the surprise of the whole world, such lines and such a building were found in the common bee cell. Is there anything preposterous in my assertion that the same Creator who gave to the bee the mathematical instinct, could endow animals with the instinct of speech? In proportion as the English language has clung to the purest of Anglo-Saxon words it has gained strength throughout the world, while there have gone down before it the real British, the Cymeric or Welsh, Erse or Irish, the Gaelic of Scotland, and the Manx of the Isle of Man. The British Keltic is entirely gone, and the rest are only local. Besides these, it ousted from the island of Norse the Norman French and several other tongues which had sought to plant themselves on English soil.
My illustrious comrade, Prevost Paradol, one of our most learned Frenchmen, says: "Neither Russia nor united Germany, supposing that they should attain the highest fortune, can pretend to impede that current of things, nor prevent that solution, relatively near at hand, of the long rivalry of European races for the ultimate colonization and domination of the universe. The world will not be Russian, nor German, nor French, alas! Nor Spanish. It will be Anglo-Saxon."
It was one of Briton's greatest poets who wrote the following characteristic lines expressive of the force of languages:
"Greek's a harp we love to hear,
Latin is a trumpet clear;
Spanish, like an organ, swells,
Italian rings its bridal bells ;
France, with many a frolic mien,
Tunes her sprightly violin;
Loud the German rolls his drum,
When Russia's clashing cymbals come
But Briton's sons may well rejoice,
For English is the human voice."
It is a noticeable fact that there have been five hundred distinct languages, and about three thousand five hundred colloquials, or about five thousand different forms of speech since Adam's time. At the present time five hundred of the primary are dead, so that there are about nine hundred now spoken on all the earth, with about two thousand five hundred colloquials.
Canon Farrar says: "We may, therefore, assert, as Dante did, more than five centuries ago,
"That man speaks, is nature's prompting;
Whether thus or thus she leaves to you
As you do most affect it."
I am surprised at some of the heedlessness of your philologists, and do not wonder that your children have a hard time of it acquiring your language when they are so carelessly misdirected in many instances, misled in many more and given rules which even the fully developed mind of a man is unable to comprehend. It is not from one alone of your linguists that I take this definition of the word “language” "Language is the expression of our ideas by articulate sounds, such as the signs of the ideas." Your Noah Webster, who gathered together all dictionaries extant, including all scientific words and definitions, and dumped them into his big book, gives the definition of the word "language" as follows: "The expression of ideas by words or significant articulate sounds for the communication of thought."
Now, if these definitions are correct, and you choose to accept them as being so, what becomes of the "language" of the deaf and dumb?
XIV. POWER OF SPEECH IN THE FELINE.
It is not true that all animals have vocal chords. Some are marsupial, such as the kangaroo, and have membranous vocal chords, which stretch upon themselves and so cannot be stretched by the arytenoid muscles. A few of them are mammalia, such as the giraffe, the porcupine, and the armadillo, have no vocal chords, and are, therefore, mute. This is also the case with the cetacea, the loud bellowing of the whale being produced by the expulsion of water through the nostrils during the act of expiration. Serpents have no vocal chords, and their hiss is the result of breathing forcibly down through a soft glottis. Frogs have no trachea, so that their larynx opens into the bronchial tube, but the loudness of the croaking of male frogs is due to the distension of two membranous sacs at the side of the neck. Some frogs have membranous vocal chords, others two reed-like bodies, the anterior ends of which are fixed, while the posterior ends with the ventricles of the larynx and the larynge pharyngeal sacs looking into the bronchi are free.
The vocal organs of both man and the other animals present a general resemblance to each other, despite varying degrees of development. Cats have a sac between the thyroid cartilege and the oshyiodeum, which have much to do with the modifying and increasing of the tones of the voice. The laryngeal sacs are small, and thus prevent what might be a shrill cry, such as the deafening shrieks of the monkeys of Africa. The epiglottis is comparatively small, and there are proportionately small cavities in the thyroid cartilege and the oshyiodeum, which communicate with the ventricles of the larynx and the laryngea-pharyngeal sacs, which give the peculiar softness of musical tone to the feline, as may be noted by a merely casual observer, and is accounted one of the most delightful characteristics of the Cat.
The brain of the Cat so closely resembles that of man as to force the unwilling admission from anatomists and physiologists that in form and substance they bear so close and striking a similarity that it must be conceded that they are, to all intents and purposes, the same in substance and conformation, and differ only in weight and size. It will be seen, from this admission of the greatest of physiologists and anatomists, possessed as men are of the natural prejudice against all animals, saving only man, in the way of his ascendency in every respect above all other animals, that, in the proportion of weight of brain and under similar circumstances, the intelligence of the Cat is equal to that of man. These forced admissions must necessarily carry conviction with them, so that I shall hope, at no distant day, to hear the admission of what is to me is a proven fact, that in the ratio of the size of the two brains the Cat is equal in intelligence to man under the same existing circumstances.
The negro of America, brought up in ignorance and under servile conditions, a slave, classified as cattle, was once considered an inferior order of the human species by some, and by many as a biped, but a long step beneath his now regarded white brother. Time and experience developed the fact that the negro was susceptible of cultivation, and his ebony brain, contained in a skull of twice and thrice the thickness of the white man's, has been polished to a high degree, in exceptional cases, although I must admit that this polishing has been found to be in proportion to the degree of amalgamation with other races, particularly that of the white man.
Anatomists are unanimous in their opinions and their experiments show conclusively that the Cat has a much finer and more delicate organism than the dog. Upon this universal deduction I argue that they are more sensitive than the dog, a proposition which meets the approval of every naturalist, anatomist and pathologist who has ever taken the subject into consideration. In fact, it is almost universally conceded that Cats are fully as intelligent as dogs, and by many the feline is regarded as the superior animal in every respect.
Prof. William Lindsay, M.D., F.R.S„ F.L,S., Hon, Member New Zealand Institute, says in his remarkable work, entitled "Mind in the Lower Animals": 'The lower animals are subject to the same kinds of bodily diseases as affect men They are subject to the same kinds of mental disorders, productible by the same causes as in man." He asserts that Cats readily comprehend and thoroughly understand man's words and the conversation of men. The following attributes he ascribes to the Cat, namely, "a moral sense in so far as it involves, a, honesty; b, sense of duty or trust; c, sense of guilt and shame; d, concealment of crime.
They are self-sacrificing, even to death, understanding man's language, verbal and other, including the reading of human character and words, the interpretation of facial expressions, use of money and knowledge of its power and the principle of barter, buying and selling, self-control, appetite, co-operation with man, both in useful service and in crime, sensitiveness to insult or affront, neglect, injustice, punishment and reproof, discovery of murderers and murders, lost or stolen property, idea of time, tune, number, order, succession of events. On the whole the place next to man, as respects both intellect and morals, is usually assigned to the dog, a rank which is, undoubtedly, due to his intimate association with and careful training by man for countless generations, for there can be no question as to the hereditary transmission and consequent accumulation of the truths, good or bad. of education by or in imitation of man.
"Man ascribes to the Cat spitefulness, selfishness, cold cruelty, stealthiness, treachery and attachment to place and not to person. The poor Cat has, probably, been as much maligned and misunderstood as it has been petted. We are told that its apparent affection is only 'a cupboard love’ and that this is popularly supposed to be sufficient to account for its propensity to pilfer eatables and drinkables. It is said to be attached to place, not to person, to stick to a given house, even when a master or a mistress who has heaped kindness upon it has had occasion to change quarters. Absurd stories are told as to its sucking children's breath. To speak of a scandal propagating, sour old maid as 'spiteful as a Cat' is so common, and we hear the Cat so frequently accused of stealthiness or treachery - of the enjoyment of the tortures of its victims and of calculating cruelty, and yet Wood tells us, 'instead of being a greedy, selfish animal, it is really a very unselfish and generous one, capable of great sacrifices. Jesse mentions one that fed a jay twice a day with mice. Another Cat always brought and laid at her master's feet the mice she had caught, before she would eat them; she made use of them as food only when they were given back to her by her master. The attachment of the Cat is frequently as great to person as to place, such attachment, however, depending usually on how far she is understood, sympathized with and kindly treated.
"Cases have been given of Cats following their masters from house to house and place to place, accompanying them on visits to other people's residences as unconcerned as a dog. They may be trained to guard and defend like a dog."
This author speaks of the affection of the feline for the canine and gives many proofs instancing the feeding and nourishing of a sick dog by a Cat, and of Cats and dogs living together, in the same kennel, of which there have been innumerable instances. Other authors who independently -verify these assertions by the relations of personal observations are Mockridge, Lubbock, Belt, Hogue, Pierre Huber, Francois Huber, Latreille, Nemour, Dr. Franklin, Paisley, Boyer, Spaulding, Houzeau, Nichols, Menauly, Leroy, Burnett, Jebb, Fleming, Ferrier, Gillies, Gudden, Czermak, Flourens, Smellie, Marville, J. G. Wood and many others.
Strong proofs in refutation of the ridiculous assertion that the Cat is a lover of place and not of person have been multiplied until their name is legion. Strongest of all these proofs are the verified narratives of most reliable people and recited in books of authors who are above question as to veracity. There is, in fact, no need of deceit in this demonstration of the truth in this regard, for where the intellect is but ordinary, the evidence of the eye is conclusive to those who may have witnessed the action of the maligned animal, and the character of the truthful author, whose honesty of purpose and freedom from deceit have never been impugned, will be taken for all it is worth by all searchers after the truth.
Prof. Wood, the celebrated naturalist, relates a wonderful story of a Cat, as follows:
"A Cat recently exhibited a mysterious intuitive power, which equaled if not surpassed any story of its kind and narrated. She was the property of a newly married couple, who resided toward the north of Scotland, where the country narrows considerably, by reason of the deeply cut inlets of the surrounding sea. Their cottage was at no great distance from the ocean, and there they remained for several months. After a while the householders changed their locality and took up their residence in a house near the opposite coast. As the intervening country was so hilly and rugged that there would have been much difficulty in transporting the household goods, the aid of a ship was called in, and, after giving their Cat to a neighbor as a present, the man and his wife proceeded by sea to their new home.
"After they had been settled for some weeks, they were surprised by the sudden appearance of their Cat, which presented itself at their door, dirty, ragged and half starved. As might be expected, she was joyfully received, and soon recovered her good looks.
"It is hardly possible to conceive whence the animal could have obtained her information. Even if the usual means of land transport had been taken, it would have been most wonderful that the Cat should have been able to trace the line of journey. But when, as in the present instance, the human travelers went by water and the feline traveler went by land, there seems to be no clue to the guiding power which directed the animal in its course and brought it safely to the desired goal."
XV. ILLUSTRATIVE STORIES.
Another story, told by Dr. Wood, is proof of the falsity of the constantly repeated assertion by many naturalists that the Cat is a lover of locality and not of persons, and although it seems almost a matter of superfluity to relate it, I will narrate it in order to fix the truth beyond contradiction, in the minds of doubters of the real fact.
"Many years ago we changed our residence from one part of Oxford to another, and, having been told that Cats have no affection except for localities, my parents thought that they would not distress their Cat by taking her into a house which she would not like, and, accordingly, left 'Nutty' at home. But, after we had been settled down some eight or ten days, Nutty made her appearance among us and displayed by every means in her power her delight at rejoining her old friends. She was terribly emaciated, and had evidently endured great hardships, but in a few days her rich tortoise-shell fur had sleeked itself down and she had recovered her wonted beauty."
I take the following from "Gleanings in Natural History," by Edward Jesse, F.L.S., London, 1838. It demonstrates the love of the feline for persons and the society of human beings and her innate desire to protect both her master and his property, characteristics which have heretofore been attributed alone to the dog and denied existence in the feline animal. Of the latter trait there are thousands of instances which have come under the observation of many people, and have been recited in the numerous volumes which I have consulted in preparing this paper. The story of this old writer is as follows:
"Cats are generally persecuted animals, and are supposed to show but little attachment to those who are kind to them. I have known a Cat, however, to evince great uneasiness during the absence of her owner, and it is stated that when the Duke of Norfolk was committed to the Tower, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a favorite Cat made her way into his prison room by getting down the chimney.
"Cats have been known, also, to do their best to protect the property of their masters as well as dogs. A man who was sentenced to transportation for robbery informed me, after his conviction, that he and two others broke into the house of a gentleman near Hampton Court. While they were in the act of plundering it a large black Cat flew at one of the robbers and fixed her claws on each side of his face. He added that he never saw any man so much frightened in his life.
"Mr. White, in his 'Natural History of Selborne,' states that of all quadrupeds Cats are the least disposed toward water, and will not, when they can avoid it, deign to wet a foot, much less to plunge into that element. The following fact, however, communicated to me by a friend who lived several years in Jamaica, will prove that, in cases of necessity, they take to water, and is also another instance of the attachment of animals to the places where they are bred. Being in want of a Cat, one was given him which was not full grown. It was put into a canvas bag, and a man on horseback brought him a distance of five miles from the place where it was bred. It had never been removed before. In doing so, he had to cross two rivers, one named the Mino, which is about eighty feet wide and two and a half feet deep, and running strong. The other, called Thomas's River, was wider and more rapid, but less deep. Over these rivers there were no bridges. The Cat, when it arrived, was shut up for some days, and when supposed to be reconciled to her new dwelling she was allowed to go about the house. The next day, however, she was missing, and was found, shortly afterward, at her old abode.
"We had one cunning old black Cat," says a correspondent of Dr. Wood, ''whose wisdom was acquired by sad experience. In early youth he must have been very careless, for at that time he was always getting in the way of the men and the wine cases, and frequent were the disasters he suffered from coming into collision with moving bodies. His ribs had been often fractured, and when nature repaired them he must have handed them over to the care of her prentice hand, for the work was done in a rough and knotty manner.
"This battered and suffering pussy was, at last, assisted by a younger hero, who, profiting by the teaching of his senior, managed to avoid the scrapes which had tortured the one who was self-educated.
"These two Cats, 'Senior and Junior’ appeared to swear - Cats will swear - eternal friendship at first sight. An interchange of good offices between them was at once established. 'Senior taught 'Junior' to avoid men's feet, and wine-cases in motion, and pointed out the favorite hunting ground, while Junior' offered to his mentor the aid of his activity and physical prowess. 'Senior’ had a cultivated epicurean taste for mice, which he was too old to catch, and he therefore entered into a solemn league and covenant with ‘Junior' to the following effect: It was agreed between these two low contracting powers that Junior' should devote his energies to catching mice for the benefit of 'Senior’ who, in consideration of such feudal service, was daily to relinquish his claim to a certain allowance of cats' meat, in favor of Junior.'
"This curious compact was actually and seriously carried out. It was an amusing and touching spectacle to behold young pussy gravely laying at the feet of his elder the contents of his gamebag. On the other hand, 'Senior’ true to his bargain, licked his jaws and watched ‘Junior' steadily consuming a double share of cats' meat."
Mr. Bidil writes from the Government Museum of Madras to " Nature," relating this instance of reasoning in a Cat:
"In 1867 I was absent from Madras for two months, and left in my quarters three Cats, one of which was an English tabby, a very gentle and affectionate creature. During my absence the quarters were occupied by two young gentlemen, who delighted in teasing and frightening the Cats. About a week before my return the English Cat had kittens, which she carefully concealed behind bookshelves in the library. On the morning of my return I saw the Cat and petted her, as usual, and then left the house for about an hour. On returning to dress, I found that the kittens were located in a corner of my dressing-room, where previous broods had been deposited and nursed. On questioning the servant how they came there, he at once replied, 'Sir, the old Cat, taking one by one in her mouth, brought them here.' In other words, the mother had carried them, one by one, in her mouth, from the library to the dressing-room, where they lay quite exposed. I do not think I have heard of a more remarkable instance of reasoning and affectionate confidence in an animal, and I need hardly say that the latter manifestation gave me great pleasure. The train of reasoning seems to be as follows: 'Now my master has returned, there is no risk of the kittens being injured by the two young savages in the house, so I will take them out for my protector to see and admire, and keep them in the corner in which all my former pets have been nursed in safety.'
"The attachment of the dog and the Cat is sometimes curiously manifested,'' says Prof. Wood, and he continues: "In a large metropolitan household there had been a change of servants, and the new cook begged, as a favor, to be permitted the company of her dog. Permission was granted, and the dog took up his quarters in the kitchen, to the infinite disgust of the Cat, who thought her dignity insulted by the introduction of a stranger into her special domain. In process of time, however, she got over her dislike and the two animals became fast friends. At last the cook left and took with her the dog.
''After an absence of some length, she determined on paying a visit to her former companions, her dog accompanying her as usual. Pussy was in the room when the dog entered, and flew forward to greet him. She then ran out of the room and shortly returned, bearing in her mouth her own dinner. This she laid before her old friend, and actually stood behind him as he ate the food with which she so hospitably entertained him.
"This anecdote was related to me by the owner of the cat, and there can be no reason to doubt it.
"In a chateau in Normandy lived a favorite Cat, which was plentifully supplied with food, and had grown fat and sleek on her luxurious fare. Indeed, so bounteously was her plate supplied that she was unable to consume the entire amount of provisions laid before her. This superabundance of food seemed to weigh upon her mind, and one day, before her dinner time, she set off across the fields and paid a visit to a little cottage near the roadside, where there lived a lean Cat. The two animals returned to the chateau in company, and after the feline hostess had eaten as much dinner as she desired she relinquished the remainder in favor of her friend.
“The kind-hearted proprietor of the chateau, seeing this curious act of hospitality, increased the daily allowance of meat and afforded an ample meal for both Cats. The improved diet soon exerted its beneficial effect on the lean stranger, who speedily became as near comfortably sleek as her hostess.
"In this improved state of matters she could not eat as much as when she was half starved and ravenous with hunger, and so, after the two cats had dined, there was still an overplus. In order to avoid waste, and urged by the generosity of her feelings, the hospitable Cat set forth on another journey, and fetched another lean Cat from a village at a league's distance.
"The owner of the chateau, being desirous to see how the matter would end, continued to increase the daily allowance, and had, at last, as pensioners of his bounty, nearly twenty Cats, which had been brought from various houses in the surrounding country. Yet, however ravenous were these daily visitors, none of them touched a morsel until their hostess had finished her own dinner. My informant heard this narrative from the owner of the chateau.
"In the conduct of this hospitably minded Cat there seems to be none of the commercial spirit which actuated the two Mincing Lane Cats, but an open-pawed liberality, as beseems an aristocratic birth and breeding. The creature had evidently a sense of economy as well as a spirit of generosity, and blending the two qualities together, became the general almoner of the neighboring felines. There must have been also great powers of conversation between these various animals, for it is evident that they were able to communicate ideas to each other and to induce their companions to act upon the imparted
XVI. SUPERIORITY OF THE CAT OVER OTHER QUADRUMINA.
The recent experiments of Prof. Ferrier, according to his own interpretation of the phenomena, tend to show that human and animal language are identical - that the barking of a dog and the mewing of the Cat are equivalents of speech in man, and that the faculty of language in man and other animals has virtually the same seat in the brain. He describes opening the mouth, putting out the tongue and barking, in the dog, mewing, spitting or hissing, in the Cat, as signs corresponding to speech. But it needed not the experiments of the physiologist or the pathologist, or the scalpel of the anatomist, to tell us that the dog's bark, the cat's mew and the horse's neigh, as well as the corresponding vocal expressions in other animals, are the analogies of speech or speaking in man. Language in animals is both natural and acquired. In both cases it may be the result of self tuition or man's instruction and training. In both cases its variety is to be remarked upon, and, just as in man, this variety, which involves expressiveness, or the sign thereof, is frequently, if not always, in proportion to the degree of cultivation or education of the speaker. The interpretation of animal language, in its varied forms, is of the utmost importance in relation to the discrimination of notes. It is known, but with accompanying difficulties which arise mainly from the following causes or source: first, the significance of animal language has been little studied by man ; second, the wishes or thoughts are expressed in an infinite variety of ways, -not only in different tribes, genera or species, but, in different individuals of the same species and different members of the same family and different offspring of the same parent, in different ages of the same individual, in the same individual at different times and under different circumstances. The mode of expressing the passions is different in different animals. Many of the utterances of animals are such distinct imitations of the human voice and other sounds as to deceive even man himself.
I do not credit the Darwinian theory of evolution with being in the line of common sense. In this doubt of its correctness I think I am joined by the great majority of mankind. In some human beings who think as I do upon this subject, the wish may be father to the thought, for a matter of pride, because no man takes kindly to the assertion that his progenitors were apes and baboons, or something akin to these, and this may be classified as a very commendable pride in the human being. Nor do I believe that the domestic Cat is an evolution from the wild-cat, or the puma, or the jaguar, or anything of their species. The resemblance has deceived more than one of the best writers upon the subject, as it certainly tends to do. Naturalists are at variance now, as they always have been, upon the subject of the true origin of the Cat, for while some declare that the domestic Cat evolves from the wild-cat, others claim, with as much sincerity, that the wild-cat comes from the domestic feline. One author, in proof of such an assertion, remarks that the wild-cat is not indigenous to the soil of America, and must, therefore, have evolved from a domestic animal, our household pet, as there was no other way for the wild animal to get to this country - an argument which would scarcely apply to other animals. I cannot see the force of such an argument, nor do I bring myself to the belief that the beautiful and loving household pet is descended from the ferocious and comparatively enormous wild-cat or anything of its species, any more than I can believe that the dog is an evolution from the lion, the catamount from the tiger, the sprat from the whale, or man from the ape. The natural tendency to domesticity in the Cat is antagonistic to this theory of evolution, as are many other individualities of the feline, and I shall, therefore, claim that our Cat is not even a distant relative of the wild animal, but is so far removed that the comparison is not only odious but incorrect.
Prof. E. P. Thompson, in his valuable treatise, entitled ''Passions of Animals” gives to the feline race the following characteristics: "Perception, touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight, recollection, memory, imagination, dreams, playfulness, homesickness, thought, discrimination, attention, experience, sense of injustice, computation of time, calculation of number, sensation, tone and power of sensation, sympathy, joy, pain, anger, astonishment, fear, sympathy of suffering, cruelty, desire, fellowship of joy, compassion, appetite, impulse, instinct, self-preservation, tenacity of life, temptation, hibernation, form and color, distribution, habitation, cleanliness, change of habitation, locality, postures and use of natural weapons, care of young, affection for offspring, imitation, social impulse, communication, language, curiosity, sagacity, temperament, foresight, cunning, artifice, dissimilation, attachment, fidelity, gratitude, generosity, vanity, love of praise, jealousy, predominancy, hatred, revenge, love, and training."
Concerning the almost universal belief that the dog is a more intelligent animal than the Cat, while the classification of animals, in the order of intellect, by many authors, gives the first place to the dog, the second to the Cat and the third to the horse, I cannot agree with them, because the facts are all against such an order of classification. I protest against the preferment of the dog to the feline for many reasons, not the least of which is the established and apparent fact that the construction of the Cat is finer than that of the dog. It goes without saying that the dog has been given far more and better opportunities for learning and refinement than the Cat. The dog is the constant companion of man. He goes with him everywhere, to his place of business, to his farm, to his work of every nature, upon his walks abroad, to the enjoyment of his sports, to the tavern, even to the church, and, when the day's work and pleasures are over, to his home, and frequently to his bed-chamber. The dog is with the man, his constant companion, from the cradle to the grave, and from his constant companionship come the knowledge and intelligence of the canine, developed by constant observation of man's habits, mode of expression, likes, dislikes, associations and moods. It must be admitted by the most obtuse that the Cat has never been given such privilege; consequently, to compare the Cat with the dog, in the matter of intelligence, is an apparent injustice. Give to the feline the same advantages which are bestowed upon the canine, and the superiority of the Cat will be. immediately appreciable. Prof. George J. Romanes, in his valuable work, "Animal Intelligence” recently published, says in relation to the injustice done the feline animal by naturalists in general:
'The Cat is, unquestionably, a highly intelligent animal, though, when compared with its great domestic rival, the dog, its intelligence, from being cast in quite a different mold, is very frequently underrated. Comparatively unsocial in, temperament, wanderingly predaceous in habits and lacking in the affectionate docility of the canine nature, this animal has never, in any considerable degree, been subject to those psychologically transforming influences whereby a prolonged and intimate association with man has, as we shall subsequently see, so profoundly modified the psychology of the dog. Nevertheless, the Cat is not only by nature, an animal remarkable for intelligence, but, in spite of its naturally imposed disadvantages of temperament, has not altogether escaped those privileges of nurture which unnumbered centuries of domestication could scarcely fail to supply. Thus, as contrasted with most of the wild species of the genus when tamed from their youngest days, the domestic cat is conspicuously less uncertain in its temper toward its masters, the uncertainty of temper displayed by nearly all the wild members of the feline tribe, when tame, being, of course, an expression of the interference of individual with hereditary experience."
The delicacy and carefulness of the Cat were never more characteristically illustrated or more gracefully described than by Prof. Philip G. Hamerton, in his interesting and graphically written "Chapter on Animals” in which he takes occasion to say:
"One evening, before dinner time, the present writer had occasion to go into a dining room where the cloth was already laid, the glasses already upon the sideboard and table, and the lamp and candles lighted. A Cat, which was a favorite in the house,, finding the door ajar, entered softly after me, and began to make a little exploration after his manner. I have- a fancy for watching animals when they think they are not observed, so I affected to be entirely absorbed in the occupation which detained me there, and took note of the Cat's proceedings without in any way interrupting them. The first thing he did was to jump upon a chair and thence up on the sideboard. There was a good deal of glass and plate upon that piece of furniture, but nothing as yet which, in the Cat's opinion, was worth purloining, so he brought all his paws together on the very edge of the board, the two forepaws in the middle, the others on both sides, and sat, balancing himself for a minute or two whilst he contemplated the long, glittering vista of the table. As yet there was not an item of anything eatable upon it, but the cat probably thought he might as well ascertain whether this were so or not by a closer inspection, for, with a single spring, he cleared the abyss, and alighted noiselessly on the tablecloth. He walked all over it, and left no trace. He passed among the slender glasses, fragile stems, like air-bubbles cut in half and balanced on spears of ice, yet he disturbed nothing, broke nothing anywhere. When his inspection was over he stepped out of sight, having been perfectly inaudible from the beginning, so that a blind person could only have suspected his visit by that mysterious sense which makes the blind aware of the presence of another creature.
"This little scene reveals one remarkable characteristic of the feline nature, the innate and exquisite refinement of its behavior. It would be infinitely difficult, probably even impossible, to communicate a delicacy of this kind to any animal by teaching. Why should she tread so carefully? It is not from fear of offending her master and incurring punishment, because to do so is in conformity with her own idea of behavior, exactly as a lady would feel vexed with herself if she broke anything in her own drawing-room, though no one would blame her maladresse, and she would never feel the loss. A dog on velvet is evidently out of place; he would be as happy in clean straw; but a Cat on velvet does not awaken any sense of the incongruous. If animals could speak, the dog would be a bluff, outspoken, honest fellow, but the Cat would have the rare talent of never saying a word too much."
XVII. INTELLECTUAL POWER OF THE CAT.
The immortal Shelley possessed an intense sense of the supernatural, and, while being a lover of the feline, appeared to be convinced of the fact that Cats have an articulate language formed of easily distinguishable words, purely Anglo-Saxon. The following story, demonstative of these facts, may be discounted by some of the more incredulous, but it must be remembered that Shelley was renowned for his veracity, and is, therefore, entitled to credence. He relates the following narrative as he heard it from Mr. G. Lewis:
"A gentleman on a visit to a friend," says he, 'who lives on the skirts of an extensive forest, on the east of Germany, lost his way. He wandered for some hours among the trees, when he saw a light at a distance. On approaching it he was surprised to observe that it proceeded from the interior of a ruined monastery. Before he knocked, he thought it prudent to look through the window. He saw a multitude of Cats assembled around a small grave, four of whom were letting down a coffin with a crown upon it. The gentleman, startled at this unusual sight, and imagining that he had arrived among the retreat of fiends or witches, mounted his horse and rode away with the utmost precipitation. He arrived at a late hour at his friend's house, who had sat up for him. On his arrival his friend questioned him as to the cause of the traces of trouble visible in his face. He began to recount his adventure after much difficulty, knowing that it was scarcely possible that his friend should give faith to his relation. No sooner had he mentioned the coffin, with the crown upon it, than his friend's Cat, who seemed to have been lying asleep before the fire, leaped up, saying, 'Then, I am the King of the Cats!' and, scrambling up the chimney, was seen no more."
Prof. Hamerton, in quoting the above, comments upon the story as follows:
"Now, is not that a remarkable story, proving at the same time, the attention Cats pay to human conversation even when they outwardly seem perfectly indifferent to it, and the monarchical character of their political organization, which, without this incident, might have remained forever unknown to us? This happened, we are told, in Eastern Germany, but in our own island, England, less than a hundred years ago, there remained many a Cat, it is said, fit to be the ministrant of a sorceress."
Concerning the origin of the domestic Cat, Rev. J. G. Wood in his "Illustrated Natural History," says:
"The Egyptian Cat is the origin of the domestic Cat. It is conjectured that the domestic Cat was imported from Egypt into Greece and Rome, and from thence to England."
"The Cat," continues Dr. Wood, "is a sadly calumniated creature. The Cats with which I have been most familiar have been as docile, tractable and good-tempered as any dog could be, and displayed an amount of intellectual power which would be equaled by very few dogs and surpassed by none. The most conspicuous varieties of the domestic Cat are the Manx and Angora. Angora Cats have long, silky hair and bushy tails, while the Manx Cat's body is covered with close fur, and is tailless."
Dr. Wood, in his most interesting work, relates several stories confirmatory of the fact that the Cat is wonderfully endowed with intellectuality, and I select the following" as being the most pleasing:
'Three years ago I had a lovely kitten presented to me. Her fur was of beautiful blue-gray, marked with glossy, black stripes, according to the most improved zebra or tiger fashion. She was so very pretty that she was named ‘Pret,' and was, without exception, the wisest most loving and dainty pussy that ever crossed my path. When Pret was very young, I fell ill with a nervous fever. She missed me immediately in my accustomed place, sought for me, and placed herself at my door until she found a chance for getting into the room, which she soon accomplished, and began at once to try her little best to amuse me with her little frisky, kitten tricks and pussy-cat attentions. But soon finding that I was too ill to play with her, she placed herself beside me, and at once established herself as head nurse. In this capacity few human beings could have exceeded her in watchfulness, or manifested more affectionate regard. It was truly wonderful to note how soon she learned to know the different hours at which I ought to take medicine or nourishment, and, during the night, if my attendant was asleep, she would call her, and if she could not awake her without such extreme measures, she would gently nibble the nose of the sleeper, which never failed to produce the desired effect.
"Having thus achieved her purpose, Miss Pret would watch attentively the preparation of whatever was needed, and then come and, with a gentle purr announce its advent to me. The most marvelous part of the matter was her never being five minutes wrong in her calculation of the true time, even amid the stillness and darkness of the night. But who shall say by what means this little being was enabled to measure the fleeting moments, and by the aid of what power did she connect the lapse of time with the needful attentions of a nurse and her charge? Surely we have here something more than reason."
The reverend gentleman goes on to say: 'The never failing accuracy of this wise little cat was the more surprising since she was equally infallible by day or night. There was no striking clock in the house, so that she could not have been assisted by its aid, nor was it habit, for her assiduous attentions only began with the illness and ceased with the recovery of the invalid. Instinct, popularly so called, will not account for this wonderful capability so suddenly coming into being, and so suddenly ceasing. Surely some spirit-guiding power must have animated this simple little creature, and have directed her in her labor of love.
"Another time, while Pret was yet in her kittenhood, another kitten lived in the same house, and very much annoyed Pret by coming into the room and eating the meat which had been laid out for herself. However, Pret soon got over that difficulty by going to the plate and, as soon as it was placed in the accustomed spot, picking out all the large pieces of meat and hiding them under a table. She then sat quietly down, and placed herself sentry over the hidden treasure, while the intruding Cat entered the room, walked up to the plate and finished the little scraps of meat that Pret had thought fit to leave her. After the obnoxious individual had left the room, Pret brought her concealed treasures from their hiding place and quietly consumed them.
"When any one was writing Pret was rather apt to disconcert the writer. She always must needs try her skill at anything that her mistress did, and no sooner was the pen in motion than Pret would jump on the table, and, seizing the end of the pen in her mouth, try to direct its movements in her own way. That plan not answering her expectations, she would pat the fresh writing paper with her paw, and make sad havoc with the correspondence.
"Clever as Pret was, she sometimes displayed an unexpected simplicity of character. After the fashion of the cat tribe, she delighted in covering up the remnants of her food with any substance that seemed most convenient. She was accustomed, after taking her meals, to fetch a piece of paper and lay it over the saucer, or to put her paw into her mistress' pocket and extract her handkerchief for the same purpose. These little performances showed some depth of reasoning in the creature, but she would sometimes act in a manner totally opposed to rational action. Paper and handkerchiefs failing, she has been often seen, after partly finishing her meal, to fetch one of her kittens and lay it over the plate, for the purpose of covering up the remaining food. When kitten, paper and handkerchief were all wanting, she did her best to scratch up the carpet, and to lay the torn fragments upon the plate. She had been known, in her anxiety, to find covering for the superabundant food, to drag a tablecloth from its proper locality, and to cause a sad demolition of the superincumbent fragile ware.
"At last Pret died, and one of her offspring became a mother, and I conveyed herself and kitten to her former home. Although she had not seen the house since her early kittenhood, she recognized the locality at once, and, pulling her kitten out of its basket, established it in her accustomed bed on the sofa.
"One of her offspring is now domiciled in my own house, and there was rather a quaint incident in connection with its departure.
"Minnie knew perfectly well that her kitten was going- away from her, and, after it had been placed in a little basket, she licked it affectionately, and seemed to take a formal farewell of her child. When next I visited the house Minnie would have nothing to do with me, and when her mistress greeted me, she laid her face in her mistress' arms. So I remonstrated with her, telling her that her little one would be better off with me than if it had gone to a stranger, but all to no purpose. At last I said, 'Minnie, I apologize, and will not so offend again.’
"At this remark Minnie lifted up her head, looked me straight in the face, and voluntarily came on my knee. Anything more humanly appreciative could not be imagined. "For many days after the abstraction of her offspring, Minnie would not approach the various spots sanctified by the presence of her lost child, and would not even repose on a certain shawl, knitted from scarlet wool, which was her favorite resting-place. She is a compassionate pussy, like her late mother, and mightily distressed at any illness that falls on any of the household. When her mistress has been suffering from a severe cough, I have seen Minnie jump up on the sofa and put her paw sympathetically on the lips of the sufferer. Sneezing seems to excite her compassion even more than coughing, and causes her to display even a greater amount of sympathy."
XVIII. SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CAT.
One strong characteristic attributed to the Cat by its enemies and traducers is quarrelsomeness. I will not take the trouble to deny the assertion, but leave the reader to deny it out of his own experience, and will give two versions of the old story of the Kilkenny Cats, so frequently quoted in demonstration of the fighting qualities of Pussy, who is, evidently, only too eager to live in peace with all the world, in conformity with her great desire for comfort.
The story generally told is that two felines fought in a saw-pit with such ferocious determination that, when the battle was over, nothing could be found remaining of either combatant except the tail, the marvelous inference to be drawn therefrom being, of course, that they had devoured each other.
The ludicrous anecdote has, no doubt, been generally looked upon as an absurdity of the Joe Miller class - but this, according to a writer in the English "Notes and Queries," is all a mistake. He continues, concerning the historical matter of the Kilkenny Cats, "I have not the least doubt that the story of the mutual destruction of the contending cats was an allegory designed to typify the utter ruin to which centuries of litigation and embroilment on the subject of conflicting rights and privileges tended to reduce the respective exchequers of the rival municipal bodies of Kilkenny and Irishtown – separate corporations, existing within the limits of one city, and the boundaries of whose respective jurisdictions had never been marked out or defined by any authority to which either was willing to bow. Their struggle for precedence and for the maintenance of alleged rights invaded commenced A. D. 1377, and were carried on with truly feline fierceness and implacability until the end of the seventeenth century, when it may be fairly considered that they had mutually devoured each other, to the very tail, as we find their property all mortgaged, and see them each passing by-laws that their respective officers should be content with the dignity of their stations and forego all salary until the suit at law with the other pretended corporation should be terminated, and the incumbrances thereby caused removed with the vanquishment of the enemy”
Those who have taken the story of the Kilkenny Cats in its literal sense have done grievous injustice to the character of the grimalkins of the "fair critic," who are really quite as demure and quietly disposed a race of tabbies as it is in the nature of any animal to be. The other story, which, to my mind seems mere probable than the one just recited, is given by my friend, Mr. S. Clark Gould, in his "Notes and Queries," as follows:
"During the rebellion which occurred in Ireland, in 1798, or, it may be, in 1803, Kilkenny was garrisoned by a troop of Hessian soldiers, who amused themselves in barracks by tying two cats together by their tails and throwing them across a clothes-line to fight. One of the officers, hearing of this cruel practice, resolved to stop it. As he entered the room, one of the troopers seized a sword, cut the tails in two as the animals hung across the line, and thus suffered the two cats to escape, minus their tails, through the open window, and when the officer inquired the meaning of the two bleeding tails being left in the room, he was coolly told that two cats had been fighting, and had devoured each other, all but the tails."
Before Noah Webster asserted that ''the lower animals" only possessed instinct, which he defined as a power "or disposition of mind, by which, independent of all instruction or experience, without deliberation, and without having any end in view, animals are unerringly directed to do spontaneously whatever is necessary for the preservation of the individual or the continuation of the kind,'' he should have read the following authenticated stories, illustrative of the forethought of the Cat. The first of these I take from an English magazine, called "Nature." and it is communicated by Dr. J. R. Frost.
"Our servants have been accustomed, during the late frost, to throw crumbs from the breakfast table to the birds, and I have, several times, noticed that our cat used to wait there in ambush, in the expectation of a hearty meal from one or two of the assembled birds. Now, so far, this circumstance is not an example of abstract reasoning, but to continue. For the past few days this practice of feeding the birds has been left off. The cat, however, with an almost incredible amount of forethought, was observed by myself, together with two other members of my household, to scatter crumbs on the grass with the obvious intention of enticing the birds."
Another correspondent writes to the same magazine as follows:
"A case somewhat similar to that mentioned by Dr. Frost, of a Cat scattering crumbs, occurred within my own knowledge in a neighbor’s yard. During the recent severe winter a friend was in the habit of throwing crumbs outside his bedroom window. The family have a fine, black Cat, which, seeing- that the crumbs brought birds, would occasionally hide himself behind some shrubs, and when the birds came to their breakfast would pounce upon them with varying success. The crumbs had been thrown out as usual one afternoon, but left untouched, and during- the night a slight fall of snow occurred. On looking out next morning, my friend observed puss busily engaged in scratching away the snow. Curious to learn what she sought, he waited, and saw her take the crumbs up from the cleared space and lay them, one by one, on the snow. After doing this she retired behind the shrubs to await further developments. This was repeated on two occasions."
In further proof of the fact that Pussy possesses a wonderful power of forethought, Prof. Romanes tells this story as coming from a correspondent:
"While a paraffine lamp was being filled, some of the oil fell upon the back of our Cat, and was afterward ignited by a cinder falling upon it from the fire. The Cat, with her back in a blaze, in an instant made for the door, which happened to be open, and sped up the street about a hundred yards, where she plunged into the village watering-trough, and extinguished the blaze. The trough had eight or nine inches of water, and Puss was in the habit of seeing the fire put out with water every night. The latter point is important, as it shows the data of observation on which the animal reasoned."
Another correspondent, after describing a Cat and parrot in their amiable relationship, proceeds to the following narration:
"One evening- there was no one in the kitchen. Cook had gone up-stairs and left a bowl of dough to raise by the fire. Shortly after the Cat rushed up after her, mewing and making what signs she could for her to go downstairs, when she jumped up and seized her apron and tried to drag- her down. As she was in such a state of excitement, cook went and found Polly shrieking, calling out, flapping her wings and struggling violently, up to her knees in dough and stuck quite fast. "No doubt if she had not been rescued she would have sunk in the morass and been smothered."
Mr. Belshaw, writing to "Nature," says: "I was sitting in one of the rooms of a friend's house the first evening there, and on hearing a loud knock at the front door, was told not to heed it, as it was only the kitten asking for admission. Not believing it, I watched for myself, and very soon saw the kitten jump onto the door, hang on by one leg, and with the other forepaw right through the knocker, rap twice."
As being of general interest, I take the following explanation of the common theory that the Cat has nine lives, from "Zoological Recreations," by William J. Broderip, F.R.S.:
"The expostulating tabby in 'Gay's Fables' says to the old beldame:
Tis infamy to serve a hag,
Cats are thought imps, her broom a nag;
And boys against our lives combine,
Because, 'tis said, your cats have nine.
"The Cat probably owes this reputation to a nine-fold vitality, not only to its extraordinary endurance of violence and its recovery from injury, which frequently leaves it for dead, but also to the belief that a witch was empowered to take on her a Cat's body nine times."
In demonstrating the finer sensibilities of the feline race, Prof. Wood says:
"Some Cats appear to nave a strong sense of honor, and will resist almost every temptation when they are placed in a position of trust. Still, some temptations appear so powerful that the honorable feelings cannot resist them. For example, one Cat would resist every lure, except a piece of fried sole, another could never withstand the allurements of a little jug of milk or bottled stout. She would have boldly averted her head from the same liquids if they were placed in a basin or saucer, but the little jug, in which she could just dip her paw, and lick it possessed irresistible fascination for her. And as other examples, I have known several cats who possessed a strong taste for fermented liquors, and I have seen one of these creatures eat a piece of bread, soaked in pure brandy, and beg earnestly for a further supply.’
XIX. GENEROSITY, CUNNING AND CAMARADERIE.
Possibly there is no better way for an author to illustrate his subject or punctuate an argument than by quoting the most interesting and conclusive stories which are directly to the point. I have done so and will continue to do so in this chapter, hoping that the stories narrated will not only be of interest, but impressive and conclusive.
From "Petland," by Rev. J. G Wood, I take the following story, which is illustrative of the generosity and self-sacrifice of the feline animal. It is a relation about "Pret," the grandson of the original of that name, of whom the reverend gentleman had something to say in a previous chapter:
"He was fond of entertaining his friends in the yard, and was in the habit of bringing dinner to the club for the benefit of his acquaintances, and then wanting a second dinner on his own account, in the evening. He even went so far as to be disgusted with the meals furnished to a neighboring cat, thinking that cat's-meat was not fit for feline consumption. Acting upon this supposition, he was seen to take away the cats'-meat as soon as it was brought by the itinerant purveyor, to carry it into the cellar, bury it under a heap of coals, and to take his own dinner upstairs for his friends."
The imitative power of Pussy has never been illustrated with more force than in the story which I take from the work by Prof. George J. Romanes, and which occurred, as he states, under his personal observation.
“For myself, I may say that my own coachman once had a Cat which, certainly without tuition, learned to open a door that led into the stables from a yard, into which looked some of the windows of my house. Standing at these windows when the Cat did not see me, I have many times witnessed her modus operandi. Walking up to the door, with a most matter-of-course kind of air, she used to spring at the half-hoop handle, just below the thumb-latch. Holding on to the bottom of this half-hoop with one forepaw, she then raised the other to the thumb-piece, and while depressing the latter, finally, with her hind legs, scratched and pushed the doorpost so as to open the door. Precisely similar cases have been described by my correspondents as having been witnessed by them."
It may be interesting to the reader to know that Prof. Darwin, in his great treatise upon animals, declares that Cats with blue eyes are invariably deaf. My experience has not proven this assertion, and, if it is as true as other assertions, in "The Origin of Species," for instance, the evolution of man from the ape, I think the reader has just cause for doubt.
Sir Richard Phillips says in "Million of Facts” American edition, page 48 : 'The Angora Cat has one eye blue and the other yellow." Also, on page 49: "Perfectly white Cats are deaf."
Regarding this last assertion, I will say I once owned a "perfectly ('White Cat, which was a Tom, weighing twenty-five pounds, who was not deaf, and I cannot comprehend any just reason why a white Cat should be deaf, or what the color of the fur has to do with the ear or her hearing.
The statement has been made in the works of several writers upon animals and their habits that dogs and Cats would never fraternize. I have not a doubt that the experience of most of my readers will serve to demonstrate the contrary, as my own experience undoubtedly does.
Illustrative of the superior intelligence of the Cat, Prof. Romanes gives the following stories:
"Mrs. Hubbard tells me of a Cat she possessed that was in the habit of poaching young rabbits, to 'eat privately in the seclusion of a disused pig-sty.’ One day this Cat caught a small black rabbit, and, instead of eating it, as she always did the brown ones, brought it into the house, unhurt, and laid it at the feet of her mistress. 'She clearly recognized the black rabbit as an unusual specimen and apparently thought it right to show it to her mistress. Such was not the only instance this Cat showed of zoological discrimination, for on another occasion, having caught another unusual animal, viz., a stoat, she also brought this, alive, into the house, for the purpose of exhibiting it."
Mr. T. B. Groves tells, in "Nature," of a Cat which, on first seeing his own reflection in the mirror, tried to fight it. Meeting with resistance from the glass, the Cat next ran behind the mirror. Not finding the object of his search, he again came to the front, and while keeping his eyes deliberately fixed upon the image, felt round the edge of the glass with one paw, whilst with his head twisted around to the front he assured himself of the persistence of the reflection. He never afterwards condescended to notice the mirror.
A wonderful faculty of the Cat is her quick perception of the uses of mechanical appliances. In corroboration of this assertion, I introduce the following stories:
Couch, in his "Illustrations of Instinct” page 196, gives a case within his own knowledge, of a Cat which, in order to get some milk which was kept in a locked cupboard, used to unlock the door by seating herself on an adjoining table and "repeatedly patting on the bow of the key with her paw, when, with a slight push on the door, she was able to open it. The lock was old and the key turned in it on a very slight impulse.''
As a still further instance of the Cat's high appreciation of mechanical appliances, I give an extract from a paper by Mr. Otto, which will have been read at the Linnean Society, before this paper is published.
"At Peara, the residence of Parker Bowan, Esq., a full-grown Cat was one day accidentally locked up in a room, without any other outlet than a small window moved on hinges, and kept shut up by means of a swivel. Not long afterwards the window was found open and the Cat gone. This having happened several times, it was, at last, found that the Cat jumped upon the window-sill, placed her forepaws as high as she could reach against the side, deliberately reached with one over to the swivel, moved it from its horizontal to a perpendicular position, and then, leaning with her whole weight against the window, escaped."
Illustrative of the camaraderie of the Cat with human beings, and of the fact that she can, and frequently does, overcome her natural antipathy to water, Prof. Romanes tells the following interesting tale:
"A fisherman, of Portsmouth, England, called Robinson Crusoe, made famous by Mr. Buckland, had a cat called 'Puddles,' which overcame the horror of water, characteristic of his race, and employed his piscatorial talent in the service of his master, who said of him, 'He was the wonderfulest water Cat as ever came out of Portsmouth Harbor, was Puddles, and he used to go out a-fishin' with me every night. On cold nights he would sit on my lap while I was a-fishin', and poke his head out every now and then, or else I would wrap him up in a sail, and make him lay quiet. He'd lay down on me while I was asleep, and if anybody come, he'd swear a good un, and have the face off on 'em if they went to touch me, and he'd never touch a fish, not even a little teeny pout, if you didn't give it to 'im. I was obliged to take him out a-fishin’ or else he'd stand an' yowl and marr till I went back and ketched him by the poll and shied him into the boat, and then he was quite happy. When it was fine he used to stick up at the bow of the boat and sit a-watchin' the dogs," meaning dog-fish. "The dogs used to come along by the thousands at a time, and when they was thick all about, he would dive in and fetch 'em out, jammed in his mouth as fast as may be, just as if they was a parcel of rats, and he didn't tremble with the cold half as much as a Newfoundland dog who was used to it. He looked terrible wild about the head when he came out of the water with a dog-fish. I larnt him the water myself. One day, when he was a kitten, I took him down to the sea to wash and brush the fleas out of him, and in a week he could swim after a feather or a cork."
XX. VOWELS AND LIQUIDS PREDOMINATE.
In the foregoing chapters, I have quoted largely from the best anatomists, physiologists, naturalists, pathologists, philologists and linguists, in support of my theses, the most important of which are:
First - That the Cat is of a more delicate organism than the dog and, therefore, more susceptible of refinement and everything that goes toward making it a superior animal.
Second - That it possesses a higher order of intelligence than any other of the quadrumina, and, consequently, more brain-power equal to that of man. in the ratio of its size.
Third - That with the same advantages or association with man and equal advantages of time and opportunity, the Cat will prove herself possessed of all the attributes which have been so much admired in the dog, besides the many admirable personalities accorded to her, and disprove the faults which have been ascribed to the feline by a prejudiced people.
If the reader will admit my arguments to be good enough to prove my theses, it will go a long way toward the admission of my theories concerning the language of the Cat, which my investigations have proven to me to be not only a possibility, but a fact beyond dispute. I have been thus particular in the foregoing chapters, in order to lay a foundation for what follows concerning the interpretation of a sign and word language, given to the Cat as language was given to man by his Maker.
The possibility of the cultivation of such a language is an important point in my argument, and I give, in support thereof, no less, as there cannot be any greater, authority in the English language than Prof. A. H. Sayce, the eminent philologist, who, in his "Introduction to the Science of Language," remarks: "We must be careful to remember that language includes every kind of instrumentality whereby we communicate our thoughts and feelings to others, and that the deaf mute who can communicate only with the fingers and lips is as truly gifted with the power of speech as the man who can articulate his words. The latter has a more perfect instrument at his command, but that is all. Indeed, it is quite possible to conceive of a community in which all communications were carried on by means of the hands alone. To this day the savage tribes makes large use of gestures, and we are told that the Grevos, of Africa, admirably imitate the persons and tenses of the verbs by this means only.
In the word part of the language of the Cat there are, probably, not more than six hundred fundamental words, all others being derivatives. Consonants are daintily used, while a wide berth is given to explosives and the liquid letters "l" and "r" enter into the great majority of sounds. The sounds of the labials are not frequently heard, but the vowels, a, e, i, o and u, go far toward making up the entire complement of words in the language of the Cat.
I say that there are not, probably, more than six hundred primitive words, because I have not, after years of search, discovered more than that number, and am of the opinion that the spoken words will not number more. The difficulty of fixing the number of spoken words may be realized from the fact that the signs are so universally used, to the neglect of the sounds, that the opportunity afforded to catch the sound and interpret the meaning is rare. In short, while the words do exist, they are never used excepting when actual necessity requires their use. Signs are not only more comprehensive than sounds, but the meaning is conveyed more quickly and with greater ease emphasized. Sounds are used chiefly to attract attention where signs would fail. Therefore, signs are used to the exclusion of sounds, whenever they will answer the purpose.
The Chinese language is more nearly like the Cat language than any of the existing languages, and so closely resembles it in very many respects as to almost persuade me that the language of the Cat was derived from it. It is a wonderful thing, and well worth our attention, that no people are more fond of the feline than the Chinese, who utilize the little animal to a greater extent than people in any other part of the world. It is not a fact generally known, but it is a fact that reveals itself to all foreigners who visit the Celestial Empire, all of whom assure us of its truth, that the Chinese use the Cat to tell the time of day. This they are enabled to do by a close observation of the contraction and elongation of the pupil of the eye. It is said to be an unerring sign and always answers the purpose of correctly indicating the hour and part of an hour where a clock is not at hand, or may be too costly an article of household furnishing for the poorer classes among the moon-eyed creatures of the Orient
In the Chinese language there are few words, and like the Chinese, the sounds uttered in the Cat language are musical tones, mellifluous and pleasing to the senses. Like the Chinese, too, the words have various meanings, according to the inflections of the voice. The resemblance in the use and disuse of certain letters, is significant, and never more so than in the constant infusion of the vowels. Take, for instance, the word "mieotiw," so frequently heard, uttered by the feline, and meaning, literally, "here," and we find in it a word of five letters, three absolute and one "possible" vowels.
Give attention, for a moment, to the word "purrieu," which is a note of satisfaction and content, and give attention to the number of vowels and the Frenchman's roll of the liquid "r," so that it comes to the ear like "purr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-rieu," with a gradually ascending inflection. In plain English, it means ''happy," or, more comprehensively, perhaps, "all is quiet along the Potomac," and "I am as happy as a clam at high water” expressions whose weight and importance were better understood by the soldiers of the army of the Potomac, after the Battle of Bull Run, and by lovers of the crustacean, than by ordinary people.
A matronly Cat will always use the last-mentioned word in calling together her family under ordinary circumstances, and continue it while caressing them, frequently merging it into a song much lower and sweeter to the sense than the lullaby we all have heard from the lips of the gentle mother while nestled tenderly upon her heart. The meaning of this word is never so well understood by kittens as when uttered in a sharp tone and repeated a number of times more as an explosive than otherwise, for it is a warning of danger and a call for instant action from the mother-Cat, who is imperrious in her demands for obedience, which is the first law in her family life.
The sounds of the labials, b, f, m, p, v, w and y, are more frequently heard in words of anger than otherwise, as, for instance, in the significant war-cry and notes of defiance, out on the woodshed, in the hours of the night when fair Luna is enthroned in the peaceful sky, in contradistinction to the batttle-field in the back yard. This may be written "mie-ouw, vow, wow teiow yow tiow, wow vow, ts-s-s-s-syow!" ending in an explosion. The signification is both a defiance and a curse, and comes so near to bold, bad swearing that I hesitate to put in words the English of it. The word "yow," means extermination from the face of :he earth, and when the common word "mieouw" is used with strong emphasis upon the first syllable, it means "beware!" for the fur is about to fly.
XXI. CAT WORDS IN COMMON USE.
The disposition of the Cat to mouth her words has given the impression to many who have studied her utterances to conclude that most, if not all of her words begin with the sound of the letter "m," and this is an error which cost me months of wasted time while seeking to evolve the Cat language. It is natural for a Cat, as well as a necessary precaution in every animal, including man, to keep the mouth closed and breathe only through the nostrils, excepting while in the act of eating, drinking or speaking. It will be noticed that when the mouth is open the sound that comes most naturally and readily is that of the letter "m." The deception originated in this fact. I will admit a tendency of the feline to anticipate the word with this sound, but to suppose that every word of the Cat language commences with that sound is erroneous. The plaintive cry for food, "aelio," was, for a long time, set down by me with the letter "m" preceding it, and it was not until I had appreciated the uselessness of that letter preceding the word lae,'' meaning "milk," that I disregarded the letter "m," and arrived at the true spelling of these and many other words which were uttered singly or at the beginning of a sentence. The word "alieeo," meaning "water," is subject to the same misspelling, there being no "m" at the beginning of it, but the word uttered at the door, when the Cat wants it opened, "parrierre” meaning "open” is never preceded with the labial, as it could not be pronounced in company with the letter "p."
The utterance of the word "bl" may have been noticed by an observer when the mother-Cat has brought a mouse to her kitten. I have given as close a resemblance to the sound as possible, in the English language, and it signifies "meat," and not "mouse," as one might be led to suppose, "ptleo-bl," meaning "mouse-meat," and "bleeme-bl," cooked meat.
The word "pad" means "foot," and "leo" signifies "head." "Pro" is the feline for 'nail or claw," and "tut" for "limb," while the body is called "papoov and the fur "oolie."
The most surprising characteristic of the Cat is, undoubtedly, her wonderful appreciation of the passage of time and the invariable correctness with which the feline notes the hour and even the minutes after the hour, without the aid of, or even appearing to comprehend the value of a clock in computing time. This wonderful gift was one of the first of my discoveries, as it was one of the most interesting rewards for my labors. Appreciating that the Cat must have recourse to sounds for the expression of the hours in their conversation, I applied myself to the study of them, and was astonished at the rapidity with which I acquired the Cat-words standing for numbers. In this labor I was materially aided by my knowledge of the tendency of the feline to gesticulate, and when a number was spoken I noticed, regarding the lowest of them, that the Cat would significantly pat her foot, say once for one twice for two and so on, even to seven times occasionally. The highest numbers were not difficult of attainment by the Cat language, because of the lack of gesticulations comprehensive of the quantity. By other signs I arrived at a correct conclusion and became as perfect in the words and their meanings as1 the Cat herself. I was greatly rejoiced at this easy victory, and regarded it as a good omen of success in my more difficult undertaking of acquiring the full language, not anticipating the years of toil, whose arduousness, however, was lightened, at long intervals, by success. The numbers, correct beyond doubt, are as follows:
1. - Aim. 24. - Kile-su. 47. - Sule-el. 2. - Ki. 25. - Kile-im. 48. - Sule-ic. 3. - Zah. 26. - Kile-lah. 49. - Sule-no. 4. - Sit. 27. - Kile-el. 50. - Im-le. 5. - Im. 28. - Kile-ic. 51. - Imle-aim. 6. - Lah. 29. - Kile-no. 52. - Imle-ki. 7. - El. 30. - Zah-le. 53. - Imle-zah. 8. - Ic. 31. - Zahle-aim. 54. - Imle-su. 9. - No. 32. - Zahle-zah. 55. - Imle-im. 10. - End. 33. - Zahle-ki. 56. - Imle-lah. 11. - Est. 34. - Zahle-su. 57. - Imle-el. 12. - Ro. 35. - Zahle-im. 58. - Imle-ic. 13. - Zah-do. 36. - Zahle-lali. 59. - Imle-no. 14. - Sudoo. 37. - Zahle-el. 60. - Lah-le. 15- - Im-doo. 33. - Zahle-ic. 61. - Lahle-aim. 16. - Lah-doo. 39. - Zahle-no. 62. - Lahle-ki. 17. - El-doo. 40. - Su-le. 63. - Lahle-zah. 18. - Ic-doo. 41. - Sule-aim. 64. - Lahle-su. 19. - Xo-doo. 42. - Sule-ki. 65. - Lahle-im. 20. - Ki-le. 43. - Sule-zah. 66. - Lahle-la. 21. - Kile-aim. 44. - Sule-su. 67. - Lahle-el. 22. - Kile-Id. 45. - Sule-im. 68. - Lahle-ic. 23 - Kile-zah. 46. - Sule-lah. 69. - Lahle-no. 70. - El-le. 81. - Icle-aim. 92. - Nole-ki. 71. - Elle-ki. 82. - Icle-ki. 93. - Nole-zah. 72. - Elle-tim. 83. - Icle-zah. 94. - Nole-su. 73. - Elle-zah. 84. - Icle-su. 95. - Nole-im. 74. - Elle-su. 85. - Icle-im. 96. - Nole-lah. 75. - Elle-im. 86. - Icle-lah. 97. - Nole-el. 76. - Elle-lah. 87. - Icle-el. 98. - Nole-ic. 77. - Elle-el. 88. - Icle-ic. 99. - Nole-no. 78. - Elle-ic. 89. - Icle-no. 100. - Aim-hoo. 79. - Elle-no. 90. - No-le. 80. - Ic-le. 91. - Nole-aim.
The word "hoo" means "hundred. The word "milli" stands for "thousands" in the English language. The word "zule" means "millions," and a millionaire in the Cat language is a "zuluaim."
Concerning the sense of the arrangement of sounds for the numbers I have nothing to say, for I cannot account for their selection, but the musical sweetness of the sounds in conjunction is wonderfully striking. Mark the euphony of the language in the expression of numbers conjunctively, for instance, in expressing the amount ninety-nine millions, seven hundred and forty-three thousands, two hundred and thirty-four - “knole-no zulus, el hoo sulezah millis, ki hoo zahle-su.” Again, let the ear catch the music as I give you, in the Cat language, the expression of one hundred and fifty-seven millions, six hundred and fifty-four thousands, eight hundred and thirty-nine - "aim hoo imle-el zulus, lah hoo imle-su millis, ic hoo zahle-no." Once more, let me express the euphony in the interpretation into the Cat language of eight hundred and eighty-eight millions, four hundred and ninety-one thousands, seven hundred and sixty-five - ''ic hoo icle-ic zulus, su hoo nole-aim millis, el hoo lahle-im." Now take the table and you may find much pleasure in making up your own combinations of figures, none of which will be other than musical.
The expression of the time of day by the man on the tramway, is the expression of the time of day in the Cat language by the feline as, for instance, in telling that the time was eight-eighteen, the Cat would say "ic ic-doo;" twelve forty-five would be "ro sule-im;" nine thirty-seven, "no zahle-le;" three thirty-three, "zah zahle-zah;" eight thirty-eight, "ic zahle-ic;" two twenty-two, "ki kile-ki;" four thirty-nine, "su zahle-no;" five fifty-five, "im imle-im;" six twenty-three, "lah kile-zah," and so forth.
XXII. A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF WORDS.
It is not my intention in this mere paper to give a lexicon of the feline language. So short a treatise could not comprise so elaborate a/ work. Even were the space adequate, I have not, as yet, accumulated the information, because the time devoted to the subject has not been adequate to the labor of investigation, which is, necessarily, intricate and far-reaching. Neither do I propose to mystify the reader by giving that most misleading of all inventions of the linguist, a grammar of the feline language, any more than I intend to inflict a dictionary upon the world. If I succeed in presenting to the reader a comprehensive, or in any appreciable or satisfactory degree comprehensive conception of the Cat language, demonstrating what I know of my own knowledge, after years of investigation, that the Cat has a distinct, simple and fully adequate language, universal for all particular purposes, and intelligible to all felines, as well as to all humanity who will seek to acquire it, I will have accomplished my object for the present. In this paper my desire is to lay the foundation for a larger structure in the future. My greatest desire is to interest the world in this worthy subject and induce investigations by others. I have no wish to be selfishly exclusive. I do not seek any honor or remuneration for my labors and discoveries. My reward will come with the reward to the feline, which must necessarily follow that elevation of the Cat succeeding the recognition of the fact claimed by me.
I have not yet discovered that any naturalist, linguist, philologist or scientist has, thus far, either presented or advocated the theory of the feline language comprehensive enough to be understood by man, but I bear in mind what your great Shakespeare wrote, 'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," and allow, without dispute, that all I have written may have been thought out and even printed by some other writer than myself, but it is, at least, new to me, and I think the reader will admit that it is new to him as an entirety. Of course every reader has heard the peculiar cries and expressions of the Cat, and will remember some word or words, and will have no difficulty in following up his or her investigations.
Remembering that mere words form but a very small part of the feline language, I desire to lay particular stress upon the signs which, in the Cat language, are paramount and always intelligible to man, no matter what tongue he may choose to speak or from what part of the world he may come. One of the beauties, as well as one of the advantages of the muscular signs of an expression is that it needs no grammar, no dictionary, no elaborate treatise upon rhetoric, etymology, syntax, prosody or other advantages of belles-lettres, to refine and perfect it. Because of this happy fact, the uneducated man, as we are apt to call those who are ignorant of our acquirements, may express his thoughts as fluently, as correctly and as gracefully as his superiors in knowledge, wealth and refinement. By the sign-language a whole sentence may be expressed better in a fraction of a second than by the word language in a much greater space of time. Therefore, its importance is of inestimable value.
I have already given seventeen of the most important words of the feline language, with their English equivalents, as follows:
Aelio - Food.
Lae - Milk.
Parriere - Open.
Aliloo - Water.
Bl - Meat.
Ptlee-bl - Mouse meat.
Bleeme-bl - Cooked meat.
Pad - Foot.
Leo - Head.
Pro - Nail or claw.
Tut - Limb.
Papoo - Body.
Oolie - Fur.
Mi-ouw - Beware.
Purrieu - Satisfaction or content.
Yow - Extermination.
Mieouw - Here.
XXIII. A MUSICAL LANGUAGE.
To correctly interpret the words of a sentence, the important fact must be borne in mind that the order of speech is not the same in the feline tongue as in almost any other language. I claim to be master of forty-nine different and distinct languages, and none but the Latin and the French - my native tongue - approach in regularity the order of speech of the feline language. In the latter the order of speech is as it was with Adam. Primitively, in the construction of sentences, the most important word of the subject matter was given first. I claim that all languages would be bettered, to a great extent, if this order were observed, and I cannot withhold my condemnation of the inconsistent and reckless men who falsely asserted themselves to be learned, who carelessly contrived many of the languages of communities of people. I believe the language of signs to be God's language, and that it cannot be improved upon. I never have found a grammar of any language, not even the French grammar, all sufficient and adequate to the purposes for which it is supposed to have been intended. In fact, you may say that grammars are beyond my comprehension, if you like, and I will not deny the allegation, for I know that they are beyond the understanding of the grand majority of human beings of all tongues.
Neither have I ever found a dictionary, in any language, which gives correct definitions of a majority of the words in common use. The reader has been informed of my estimation of the great American dictionary compiled by Noah Webster, who was, I have no doubt, a very good and erudite man, but one subject to strong temptations, such, for instance, as those of publishers, whose blandishments are irresistible to many writers and apt to mislead the honest author.
In the feline language the rule is to place the noun or the verb first in the sentence, thus preparing the mind of the hearer for what is to follow. To my thinking, this is the proper form of speech and the only arrangement of words for any language. I never could admire the speaker who launches out in a mystifying rhapsody on some human being or some subject near his heart, by saying something after this manner: "Mr. Chairman, I am about to name a gentleman who," et cetera, and "a man well known to all the world as a," et cetera. In this strain long continued, until the hearers tire of the mystification and call loudly, in their justifiable impatience, for the inconsistent orator to give the name of the individual, as he should have done at first, so that the hearers might compare notes while the eulogy was proceeding. When I read, or listen to the reading of a letter, I want to know, first of all, the name of the writer, for in him centres all the interest I may have in the information contained in the communication. By the measure of my interest in the writer, I measure the interest in his letter.
According to the primal order of speech and the manner of the construction of sentences in the Cat language, you will hear such utterances as these: "Milk give me," "Meat I want," "Mary I love," "Going out, my mistress?" "Sick I am," "Happy are my babies,"
In the translation of words of the feline language the inflection of the voice must constantly be kept in mind, for this, as well as the sound, denotes the meaning intended to be conveyed. For instance, "meouw," spoken in the ordinary tone of voice, means ''how” and is a salutation of good-will, expressed in English by ''Good morning," "Good evening," or "How d'ye do?" When the same word is uttered in a high tone of voice the first syllable "me," strongly emphasized, as indicated in “meouw," hatred, or something akin to it, is expressed by the feline. Similarly, the word "purrieu," when spoken with a long roll of the letter "r" and a rising inflection to the last syllable, is a call of the mother to her kittens; when spoken with a shrill inflection to the last syllable, the word is a note of warning to her loved ones, and when the word is uttered in an ordinary tone of voice, while the Cat rubs her side against the dress of her mistress, it denotes satisfaction, affection, or it may be a part of the feline's system of cajolery. The word "yew," also, when uttered as an explosive, is the Cat's strongest expression of hatred, and a declaration of war, but it is, also, her word for expressing a feeling of pain, or giving notice that she is ill, when uttered in an ordinary, or perhaps, in a low tone of voice. In short, there is scarcely a word in the feline language whose meaning is not subject to four or more directly opposite interpretations, according to the inflections given in its expression. "Poopoo" means tired - "poopoo" with a slight emphasis upon the first syllable means sleep - "poopoo" with a strong emphasis upon the last syllable means work, and this drives the paterfamilias out after food for the infants and mother, but when the last syllable is spoken in an explosive tone, such as poor Mr. Caudle might have uttered when henpecked by his tantalizing wife during her curtain lectures. The same word "poopoo" when uttered with a falling tone on the last syllable, is an expression of sorrow and grief.
I do not know of any sounds more soothing to the nerves of man as musical, or as musically correct in rythm, intonation or melody, as the song of the Cat when at peace with all the world. I have listened to it many times, and many times endeavored to translate the words of the song, but, owing to the fact that she sings with closed mouth, no word has been distinct enough to separate from other words of the song. Perhaps at no distant day science, through the medium of electricity, may furnish a means of discovering not only the words of the singer, but also many words of the feline language which, through ignorance, are now mouthed by the Cat for lack of knowledge of the importance of emphasis and clearness of expression.
XXIV. THE IMPORTANCE OF SIGNS.
Signs, in the feline language, are almost invariably made through the medium of the muscles, and are adequate to every expression. To this language they are an absolute desideratum. Almost invariably they accompany the word-signs of the language from a habitually unconstrained feeling and a desire to better convey the meaning of the speaker.
To put into words every such expressions is more than word-language is capable of, which is the strongest proof of the inadequateness of words for the proper and sufficient expression of ideas, and the superiority of signs for the manifestation of ideas and desires. No tiresome, misleading and fallacious grammar, no stuffy, lame, meaningless dictionary, no wearisome spelling-book, containing words which are all "at sixes” born in the prize-ring, with a heritage of hatred for each other, and refusing forever to become reconciled one to the other; no unpronounceable pronouncing dictionary, in which words are all zigzag, stubbornly resisting every attempt to straighten out and stand them upright, like a man, but determined to inscribe themselves upon the brain in every conceivable pyrotechnical contempt of straight lines or uniformity in any respect, askew in reckless profligacy, in defiance of euphony and as uncontrollable as they are funny; no ridiculously prolix analyzer, no hobbling treatise upon syntax or prosody of a heterogeneous language of word-signs, invented to confound those who seek, as well as those who possess a knowledge of the language of signs. Yet many signs refuse to be disgraced by being rendered into words.
Noticeable among those of the signs unpronounceable are many expressed by the sons of Judah, Levi and Benjamin, such as the bending forward of the shoulders and extending of the hands, palms upward, and the placing of the index finger to the right hand upon the right side of the nose; the Frenchman's shrug of the shoulders, the gyration of the Englishman's ringer while the end of the thumb rests upon the point of his nose; the twirl of the Irishman's shillelah, and his expressive manner of puffing smoke from his short-stemmed dhudeen ; the sudden change from animation to stolidity in the German, and the multitudinous and inexpressible signs of the gesticulating children of sunny Italy.
In the sign language of the Cat an expression is conveyed in the same manner as by the human being, but the feline has a great advantage over man in the possession of more utilizing forces. There is the language of the ear, the tail, the limb, the body, the facial, including the mouth, the nose, the eye, the brow, the chin, the lip and the whiskers, the motion of the whole and the significant general appearance, as in the carriage while in motion, and the form when at rest.
The language of the tail cannot be misinterpreted, suggestive as it is of the feelings of the Cat. When she raises it, like a flagstaff, we know that she is proud of herself and satisfied with her condition, as well as the condition of all other things. When the appendage is an appendage to all intents and purposes, and streams out in the rear of its possessor, she is not letting the grass grow under her feet. When it waves from side to side it is a token of dislike of position and significant of a change. When it curls under her body it is a sign of fear, and when it is extended with the fur on end, ''like quills upon the fretful porcupine” there is a strong probability that there will be commingled in the air untheological imprecations, a sulphurous blue tinge and loose fur. When it lashes from side to side it signifies a war of extermination. When it twitches, that is a sign of amusement. When it is pointed toward the fire it speaks of rain. When it inclines toward the door it says that its mistress may go shopping without an umbrella, and while it is curled upon its side it betokens that all is quiet along the owner's line of life.
These, among many signs given by use of the tail, have been noted by everybody. The facial signs are more numerous, and a multitude of signs find means of communication through the medium of the ear, the limbs, the feet and the trunk. So plain must the signs be to every human being, of whatever mental capacity, that I deem it a work of supererogation to occupy the reader's time in an explanation of what is so palpably apparent, and I therefore leave the subject, hoping that watchful care and pleasant study will fully develop the feline language to the end that the Cat may be understood as she really is, and elevated from a degrading position to one of still greater usefulness. In conjunction with the study of the feline language, and as an aid to its acquirement, I would recommend the remodeling of the English language, so that it may, to a larger degree, be comprehended by those who are acquainted with it. I would direct attention particularly to the words ending in "ough," such as "cough, bough, rough, though, through, although, enough, sough, tough, trough, and plough."
I would have you notice that you seem undecided which to say, whether "men clothing," or "men's clothing," the plural of "man" being "men." You will remember that the plural of "ox" is "oxen," not "oxes," the plural of "fox" is not "foxen," but "foxes." I am surprised when I take a glass of wine with an English-speaking gentleman to see him touch my glass with the rim of his own and to hear him say: "Here we go!" while he remains stationary and makes no attempt to leave me. I am hoping for the time to come when the reformation of the English language will be so complete that when the conductor on a tramway cries "look out!" he will mean what he says, so that the Frenchman may save his head from being crushed by putting it out of the carriage window because of the misdirection of the official of the train. I shall hope for such reformation as will save me from insulting a widow, unintentionally, by innocently telling her that I am aware that her worthy and lamented husband has kicked over the bucket, because I was informed that it was the proper expression in the English for our French word "mort." Hoping, by your aid, for better things for my favorite, the Cat, and thanking you very much for your kind attention to my paper, I have the honor of wishing
you au revoir.
- Alphonse Leon Grimaldi.
The work of the Professor is complete as far as he has gone. I shall expect to hear from him again, some day, if his paper meets with encouragement from the people of this country.
There can be no doubt that with the aid of the phonograph and other modern instruments which have recently been discovered, and which he so significantly anticipated in his references to electricity, great progress will be made in translating and disseminating the feline language. In aid of this object, as well as to provide proper homes and medical attendance for the felines, with an eye to their comfort and the improvement of the breed, material assistance should be given by the ruling powers in every nation. It is a subject of vast importance and I leave it for the consideration of the great American public and other nations as well.
- Marvin R. Clark.
[One of the adverts at the back of the book continued the cat theme.]
We have a nice Tom, he is deathly to a Rat,
And his fur is soft as a mitten,
He is spotted with white though black as a hat,
And though aged – is as spry as a kitten.
Tom never seems tired of washing his face,
And he keeps himself tidy and slick
He’s as cleanly as if he belonged to our race,
And I think that’s why Tom’s never sick.
I asked him one day as he sat by my side,
How he kept himself always so clean,
He looked up in my face, seemed to answer with pride,
They wash me with Pyle’s Pur-Pur-Pearline.