FRIENDS AND HELPERS - AMERICAN HUMANE EDUCATION IN 1899
The following stories are cat-related excerpts from "Friends and Helpers" compiled by Sarah J Eddy, 1899.
This book contained stories, verse, pictures and information on pet animals, livestock, wild birds and wild animals. It covered all sorts of topics ranging from responsible pet-keeping and compassionate farming methods through to shooting and trapping. Though published over a century ago, "Friends and Helpers" expresses views still being campaigned for today. The editor's and authors' aims were to teach children to treat all living creatures with considerate kindness and to appreciate the services of man's helpers in the animal world. Humane education was being taught in American schools and Eddy's book provided a source of material for lessons. The preface noted that children could be cruel because they knew no different and that cruel children grew into selfish adults. Humane education aimed to instil respect for those animals that served man.
"The humane movement is a broad one, reaching from humane treatment of animals on the one hand to peace with all nations on the other. It implies a step beyond animal's rights. It implies character building. Society first said that needless suffering should be prevented; society now says that children must not be permitted to cause pain because of the effect on the children themselves."
The book concluded with a list of further resources for children and for teachers. It detailed two organisations that children could join: "Bands of Mercy" (clubs that did small acts of kindness for animals) and the "Jack London Club" which discouraged the exhibition of performing wild animals. It noted that valuable leaflets on the care and kind treatment of animals could be obtained by addressing The Animal Rescue League, 51 Carver Street, Boston, Mass. "We and Our Friends" and other leaflets could be obtained of Mrs. Mary F. Lovell, 215 Summit Ave., Jenkintown, Pa and leaflets and pamphlets suitable for use in schools and for distribution elsewhere, including some with stories of cats, dogs, etc., could be obtained from The American Humane Education Society, 180 Longwood Ave., Boston, Mass.
The following extracts concern cats.
CATS AND DOGS.
Cats and dogs seem to be natural enemies, but it is quite possible to make them very good friends. The easiest way to do this is to bring a kitten in your arms to your dog and explain to him that he must never chase her, or bark at her. He will listen, looking very wise, and if, in his presence, you are careful not to pet her too much, he will try to please you. If you make him jealous, or if you think it is fun to see him run after the kitten, you can never succeed.
A bull-terrier named Teddy lives in the same house with Fluff, an Angora cat of great beauty. Teddy has been carefully taught, and his manners are delightful. Often when passing the chair where Fluff lies asleep, Teddy will put up his black nose and give her face a friendly lap. Fluff stretches out her fore-feet sleepily, but she does not object in the least. Sometimes Teddy is too rough in his play, and Fluff taps him gently with her soft paw to remind him that she is not as strong as he is.
It is not easy to teach an old cat to be very friendly with a dog. She has too good a memory for that. She remembers the times when she has scrambled up the tree-trunk, panting and frightened, with a dog barking at her heels. She remembers that the children have often cheered and praised the dog, and have made no effort to help her. On the whole, she would rather arch her back and wave her tail than try to be agreeable.
It is quite possible that if you were in her place you would feel very much as she does.
Cats were household pets in Egypt more than two thousand years ago. The Egyptians worshiped them as beings superior to men, and would suffer no harm to come to them. If, by accident, an Egyptian killed a cat, the punishment was death. Once a Persian king named Cambyses was fighting against the Egyptians. Knowing how cats were cherished by his enemies, Cambyses gave to each of his soldiers a cat to carry, instead of a shield. Not one of the Egyptian soldiers would hurt a cat, and so the Persian army was safe. Probably the first cats lived in Egypt, and though they are no longer worshiped in that country, they are protected and cared for. In the city of Cairo is a cats' hospital, where sick cats are nursed, and where stray or homeless cats may come every day for their dinner.
When the Romans conquered Syria and Palestine, they found in nearly every house a kato or kitt. From these eastern names we get our words cat and kitten. The Romans were so much pleased with the little animals that kitts soon were carried to Italy and western Europe. The Roman goddess of Liberty was pictured with a cat lying at her feet. It is quite true that it is easier to make a slave of any other animal than it is of a cat. Your cat will love you, in his own way, but he holds himself free to do as he likes.
Cats, as well as dogs, have been the pets of great men. The Arabian teacher Mahomet; the founder of the Mohammedan religion, was very fond of cats. One day his pet kitten went to sleep upon the wide sleeve of his robe, and he cut off the sleeve rather than disturb the comfortable pussy.
Richelieu, the great French statesman, kept several kittens in his house to amuse him when tired and discouraged. As kittens will grow into cats, Richelieu must have changed his friends often. Cowper, the English poet, mentions his favorite cat in more than one of his poems. The famous Dr. Johnson had a cat named Hodge, who was treated with the greatest kindness. When Hodge was not well, the doctor would go out himself to buy oysters, lest the trouble of waiting upon so dainty a pet should cause it to be disliked by the servant.
Charles Dickens's favorite cat was old and deaf, but she had a warm corner in her master's heart. One evening he was so busy reading that he did not notice her when she jumped into his lap. Pussy's feelings were hurt. She purred gently, but the reader did not seem to hear. Suddenly the candle went out. Dickens lighted it again to go on with his reading. In a minute the light grew dim again, and, looking up, he saw the cat putting out the candle with her paw. Then she looked at him in such a pleading way that he laid down his book for the rest of the evening.
Perhaps the most famous American cat was Agrippina, who belonged to Miss Agnes Repplier of Philadelphia. She is famous because of the charming essay which her mistress wrote in her honor.
Madame Henrietta Ronner is known as one of the most successful painters of cats and kittens. Her pictures are wonderful reproductions of cat life. Mrs. Olive Thorne Miller says: "We may safely assume that Madame Ronner is a cat lover, for no one really knows a cat who does not love him." The intelligence and good breeding of the cat in this picture are so apparent that it is no wonder he made hosts of friends. His picture once adorned a humane calendar, and thus became familiar to many persons in the United States and in Europe.
Rev. J. G. Wood, in describing his own pet cat, said: "His gestures and actions are full of that spirited yet easy grace, which can never be attained by any creature, be it man, beast, or bird, who has once learned to crouch in terror, and to fear a harsh tone or an uplifted hand."
In Spain it is the custom to store grain in garrets, and there the cats are treated very kindly. There is a small door in each attic for their use; food and drink are given to them; and they may walk where they like over the roofs of the city. Many of them never care to come down to the ground.
If there were no cats in America, we should be seriously disturbed and inconvenienced. It is said that the government of the United States keeps an army of more than three hundred cats for use in the Post-office department. Their duty is to guard the mail-bags against the attacks of rats and mice, and this they do very thoroughly and well. Before they were employed valuable letters and mail matter were often destroyed. The government cats are fed well, some postmasters being allowed forty dollars a year for "cat meat." The work that this army does proves that well-fed cats make the best mousers. As the postal service is known for its high standards, we may be sure that these workers are industrious and satisfactory, or they would not be allowed to stay.
"Mew! mew! mew! Why don't they let me in? I have been here on these cold steps for three days. I am very hungry and unhappy. Why do they shut me out in the cold?
"Ethel said she was going to the city for the Christmas vacation. She said I could catch mice till she came back. But the mice are in the barn and I can't get in.
"The house, too, is shut up. No one is there to give me any milk. My warm bed is in the kitchen, by the stove. I can't sleep on these cold stones.
"This is a dreadful Christmas! Last year I had a pitcher of cream and a string of popcorn from Ethel's Christmas tree. She is very good to me when she is at home. I wish she would come back. I am so frightened and hungry! Mew! mew!"
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF CATS.
"Mamma!" cried Philip, coming in one day with something in his arms, "see this poor kitty I found in the street! A dog was barking at her and she ran straight into my arms. May I keep her for my own?"
Mrs. Grant looked up from her work. Such a rough-coated, dirty little cat as she saw! But there was something in the tired, frightened eyes that touched her.
"Are you willing to take a good deal of trouble, Philip?" asked his mother. "If not, it would be kinder to kill the poor thing quickly."
"I am willing; indeed I am!" cried the boy. "Please tell me what to do."
"You should give her a saucer of warm milk, with a little bread crumbed in it first; for the poor kitten must be very hungry. Then she will know you mean to be kind to her. After that she had better sleep. When she wakes up she will begin to feel at home, and then I think we must sponge her gently with warm water, because she is so very dirty. You must not do that alone, but you may hold her and stroke her softly, and if you think she will scratch you I will get you a pair of old gloves."
"Can we not put her in a little tub and bathe her?" asked Philip.
"It is not best to do that if you can get her clean any other way. Cats do not like water, and it frightens them very much, to be put into it. Once in a great while we hear of cats that will be patient if put into a bath, but usually they will struggle and cry and act very much frightened. As soon as this kitten has been fed and begins to get over her fright at being homeless, you will see her wash herself.
"Then you must make her feel at home," said Mrs. Grant. "You can take her in your arms and carry her about the house, talking softly to her, so that she may feel that you will be good to her. It is fortunate that it is growing dark. She can see better in the twilight, and is not so easily startled."
The kitten lapped up the milk hungrily, and then came purring about the boy's feet. "Where may she sleep?" asked the boy, pleased to see that the kitten was not at all afraid of him.
"A low, wide basket half full of shavings will make a soft bed," said Mrs. Grant. "Over the shavings I will spread a piece of old flannel. Cats like a warm, cosy bed, and it is always best to keep them in the house at night."
To their delight, the kitten did not object at all to the warm bath. She stood quite still while Mrs. Grant washed her gently and dried her in an old blanket.
"You can easily teach her to be clean if you are kind and patient," said Mrs. Grant. "She will not need a bath again, for she will learn to take care of herself; but it would be very good for her to be brushed every day, and I will give you a small brush for that purpose. If you put a pan of dry earth where she can always get at it, she will give no trouble when she cannot go out of doors."
"I think she likes me already, mamma," said Philip.
"I am sure she will like you if you are kind to her," said his mother.
"If you hurt her, she will never forget it. Dogs forgive many cruel blows, but a cat's nature is different. She is very brave in bearing pain, and she rarely cries out when she is hurt; but she is very sensitive, and that ought to make us careful how we handle her. Don't let the baby have the kitten to play with. He could not understand how his clumsy little fingers hurt her. He does not yet know the difference between a plaything and a playmate. But you can teach him to feed her and to be kind to her."
"What else must I do?" said Philip.
"You must keep a dish of water where Kitty can find it, and you must not forget to fill it every day with fresh water. Cats are more dainty than dogs are. They like clean dishes and fresh food. They must have plenty of warm milk, and brown bread and milk."
"May she eat meat and fish?" asked Philip.
"Not yet," said his mother. "She is too young. When she is older she should have meat cut up and mixed with bread or vegetables. The fat and tough fiber should be removed. When raw meat is given, boiling water should be poured on it to cleanse it. Fish may be given once a week. That should be boiled and all the bones removed, as cats have sometimes been badly choked with fish bones. Meat and fish should be fresh. Dogs and cats have been poisoned by eating pieces of old meat and fish."
"I thought cats lived on mice," said Philip.
Mrs. Grant smiled. "I am afraid that your kitty will starve if she has no food but the mice she finds here," she said. "Perhaps there are a few in the barn. Never let her tease a mouse, Philip. If you take the mice away from her when she plays with, them, she will learn, in time, to kill her prey quickly."
"Fred's cat eats asparagus," said Philip.
"Yes; cats need some vegetable food. They usually like corn, string beans, boiled rice, potatoes, cabbage, and even carrots. Oatmeal, very thoroughly cooked, is an excellent food for them. If you give your kitten corn to eat, you must scrape it carefully off the cob in such a way that she will get only the inside of the kernel. I cut it for you, you know, so that the empty hulls are left clinging to the cob."
"May she have all the milk she wants?" asked Philip.
"I think so," said Mrs. Grant, "if you feed her regularly and not too often, and if you are sure that the milk is fresh and good. In summer it is well to scald the milk, and it is safer to do this in winter also, if there is any doubt about its freshness."
"What else may she have, mamma?"
"Corn bread and graham biscuits will be good for her, and perhaps she will like them crisp and dry better than if they are soaked. You can raise some catnip next summer. Kitty will like that dried quite as well as the green herb. It may be kept for a special treat or for medicine, although a cat that can find plenty of grass rarely needs medicine. In the winter you can have some grass growing in a pot or box of earth."
"How much better she looks already!" said Philip, watching the sleeping pussy. "I think she will be a beauty. When she is a fine, large cat I shall ask papa to take her picture."
THE CAT FAMILY.
Our little house cat belongs to the same family as the lion, the tiger, and the leopard. They are known as the old and powerful family of cats, and though pussy is small, tame, and gentle, she is not unlike her fierce cousins in many of her ways.
All cats have sharp claws which can be drawn back until quite out of sight. They walk softly because their feet are padded with soft, elastic cushions. Not only is a cat one of the most sure-footed animals in the world, but she is also one of the most graceful.
Cats are restless creatures, and in a wild state they are prowling about, day and night, with only short periods of rest. Yet, when they are hunting for food, they will patiently lie in wait for hours. It is the nature of all cats, big and little, to pounce upon their prey and not to chase it. No cat likes to run. She will hide from danger if she can, and she runs only when she must.
The teeth of cats are sharp and pointed so that they can tear their food in pieces. Their tongues are rough and are of great use in eating. The surface is covered with little prickly points which also serve pussy in the place of a brush and comb.
A cat's whiskers are very sensitive. Even to touch them lightly sometimes hurts her, and to pull them is to make her suffer intense pain. Little children, who do not know what delicate nerves are bound up with their cat's whiskers, are often the cause of great suffering to their pets.
Have you ever looked at your cat's eyes? How well she sees in places that seem dark to us! In what way are her eyes different from ours? At noon, the black spot in a cat's eye is only a narrow slit, but as the light grows less bright, the pupil of the eye grows rounder and larger. In this way her eyes gather in more and more light as darkness comes on, so that at twilight she can easily find her way. When it is really dark, her sensitive whiskers help her to feel what she cannot see.
Pussy's tail is part of her backbone or spine, which is made up as carefully and delicately as our spines are. If we pull a cat's tail, we run the risk of giving her as severe pain as we should feel if our spines were hurt.
Dogs and cats have been seriously hurt by forcing their heads into empty cans that have contained meat or soup. Sometimes they are not able to free themselves. Their terror is pitiable, and if not found they may run into some hiding place and die a miserable death. It would be easy to see that a can, when emptied, is pounded out of shape, so that no animal can get its head into it. To do this might save great suffering.
THINGS TO REMEMBER.
It is a mistake to suppose that cats are unloving and selfish. When a cat loves no one, it is usually a proof that no one loves her. She responds warmly to gentle treatment, and often shows personal devotion in very striking ways. Remember that it is unfair to call a cat cruel and to punish her for following out her own instincts. She knows nothing of the pain she inflicts, and is quite innocent of any cruel intention. Often a word or two of reproof is effectual, but it is useless to strike her or frighten her. She knows no reason why she should not catch birds as well as mice.
If something she likes to eat is given to pussy the last thing at night, she will get into the habit of coming into the house for it. If she is kept in at night, she cannot disturb the early morning songs of your feathered friends. Care and watching will be needed to insure their peace and safety through the day. Especially must she be well fed and have an early breakfast when she has kittens to care for, or she will bring birds for them to eat.
Remember that a half-starved cat makes a poor mouser. When she is exhausted with hunger she loses the sense of smell, and with it all interest in catching mice.
Cats grow very fond of places as well as of people, and dread to change their homes. When a cat is to be taken to another house to live, she should be carried in a cat-basket with openings in the top so that she can have fresh air to breathe and can see what is going on. Holes may be made in a common basket, but the cover must be firmly fastened with a strong strap or cord. Once arrived at her new quarters, pussy should be shut up in a quiet room with food and water and a pan of dry earth. At dusk, when the outer doors are shut, she may be allowed to go into other rooms with some friendly guide. For two or three days she should be kept in the house, and great pains should be taken not to trouble or frighten her while she is learning to feel at home.
Remember, in handling a cat, that it hurts her to be lifted by her front paws alone. Her hind legs should be supported at the same time. Ribbons and collars are entirely out of place on a cat. They are likely to get caught on twigs and nails, and may even cause death. They certainly give no pleasure to the wearer. Harrison Weir, who has written a book about cats, calls especial attention to the danger of collars and ribbons.
There are so many cats in the world that if all the kittens were allowed to grow up, no good homes could be found for them. It is a hard thing for a kind-hearted person to do, but many little kittens must be killed or they would live to suffer. One kitten of every litter should be left to the mother cat. The others should be killed as soon as possible, but never in the mother's sight. Think how poor pussy would feel when she saw her babies drowned!
One of the greatest hardships that can come into a cat's life is to be left without a home. At the beach in winter and in the city in summer may be seen many homeless, starving, miserable cats, left there by their cruel owners. Once these cats were petted and well-fed. They know what it is to lie on soft cushions and to be caressed. Now, through no fault of their own, they are wanderers in an unfriendly world. Can any name too harsh be given to the men and women who turn adrift these timid, helpless creatures? Remember that it is a thousand times better to chloroform or drown the cat it is impossible to carry with you, than to let her take her chances in so wretched a life.
Cats are so nervous and sensitive, and so timid when taken away from home, that they must suffer very much when exhibited in cages at a cat show. It has frequently happened that cats have been made ill by the fright and confinement.
Cats and dogs sometimes take contagious diseases from each other, and if allowed to run at large they may carry the disease to children or to other pet animals. If our pets are ill they should not be turned out of doors, but should be kept by themselves in a comfortable, quiet room, taken good care of, and on no account should children be allowed to handle them. If we are ill with a contagious disease, our pets should not be allowed in the room with us.
To keep in good health, cats need to have access to fresh grass and clean water. They much enjoy being brushed with a brush that is not too stiff. Remember that cats are delicate and easily injured about the head and should be handled carefully.
Agnes Repplier says: "Cats are extremely sensitive and dislike loud voices and bustling ways. They love repose, calmness, and grace."
STORIES OF CATS.
There was once a cat that lived in a house in London. Her master owned a country home also, and twice a year pussy made the journey between the two houses. She always showed great interest and pleasure when the trunks were brought out and the packing cases were being filled. She herself traveled in a comfortable basket with openings at the top, which had been bought expressly for her. Often her master lifted her out and held her in his lap for a while, so that the journey might not seem long to her.
One day, when the usual preparations were going on, pussy seemed very uneasy. She had a little baby kitten scarcely old enough to walk, and she was afraid the kitten would be left behind. At last she spied a box half full of dresses.
"There!" thought Mrs. Pussy. "That is a fine place for my baby. I can hide it away under those dresses and it will be quite safe."
When the kitten was discovered, carefully tucked in among the silks and laces, you may be sure that a place was found for it in the cat's basket.
In a monastery in France lived a cat who always came to dinner when the big bell rang to call the monks. One day she happened to be shut up in a room alone when the bell rang, and the poor kitty had no dinner. As soon as she was set free she ran to look for her plate, but none was there. Presently the monastery bell was heard, and when the monks came to see what could be the matter, there was the cat hanging upon the bell rope, ringing for her dinner.
Another story is told, in the Popular Science Monthly, of a cat who knew the name of each member of the household. If she was asked about an absent one, she would look at his vacant seat and then at the speaker. If told to fetch him she would run upstairs to his room, take the handle of the door between her paws, mew at the keyhole, and wait to be let in.
A cat will often become especially attached to one member of a family. Dr. Gordon Stables, who has written a book about cats, tells a story of a cat named Muffle that belonged to him when he was a boy. She was so fond of him that when he went away to school she left the house and went into the woods to live. The boy came home frequently, and whenever he did so she came back to welcome him. Dr. Stables also tells a story of a cat who knew the footsteps of every member of the family, and before any one else could hear a sound she would hasten to the door. She also knew if a stranger knocked at the door, and would give a low growl.
A remarkable story is told in a French scientific paper. There was a certain cat named Cadi who lived in Roumania. The winter of 1880 was very cold, and her master, to save his fuel, often went without a fire. One day Cadi mewed and mewed until her master followed her. She led him straight to the coal-box, on which she sat until he had filled a hod with coal. Then she led him to the wood-box, and finally back to his own cold room. While the fire was being made Cadi rubbed against her master's knees with many caresses, and when at last it began to burn bright, she stretched herself before it, contented and happy.
A mother cat will go through fire and water to save her kittens, and she will fight most bravely to protect them. One poor cat, finding that she could not save her baby from the flames of a burning building, went back to die beside it, rather than escape alone.
A BRAVE GIRL - Harriet Beecher Stowe.
(Previously published by Ticknor & Fields, 1867)
A little girl was once coming home from school across Boston Common, when she saw a party of noisy boys and dogs tormenting a poor kitten by the side of the frog pond. The little wretches would throw it into the water, and then laugh at its vain and frightened efforts to paddle out, while the dogs added to its fright by their ferocious barking. Belle was a bright-eyed, spirited little girl, and her whole soul was roused in indignation; she dashed in among the throng of boys and dogs, and rescued the poor half-drowned little animal. The boys, ashamed, slunk away, and little Belle held the poor, cold, shivering little creature, considering what to do for it. It was half dead already, and she knew that at home there was no room for another pet, for both cat and kitten never were wanting in their family. "Poor kitty!" she said, "you must die, but I will see that you are not tormented;" and she knelt bravely down and held the little thing under water, with the tears running down her own cheeks, till all its earthly sorrows were over, and the little cat was beyond the reach of dog or boy.
This was real, brave humanity. Many people call themselves tender-hearted, because they are unwilling to have a litter of kittens killed, and so they go and throw them over fences, and comfort themselves with the reflection that they will do well enough. What becomes of the poor little defenseless things? In nine cases out of ten they live a hunted, miserable life, crying from hunger, shivering with cold, harassed by cruel dogs, and tortured to make sport for brutal boys. How much kinder and more really humane to take upon ourselves the momentary suffering of causing the death of an animal than to turn our backs and leave it to drag out a life of torture and misery!
AUNT ESTHER'S RULE - Harriet Beecher Stowe.
(Previously published by Ticknor & Fields, 1867)
One of Aunt Esther's rules for the care of animals was "Never frighten an animal for sport." I remember that I had a little white kitten, of which I was very fond, and one day I was amusing myself with making her walk up and down the key-board of the piano, and laughing to see her fright at the strange noises which came up under her feet. It never occurred to me that there was any cruelty in it, till Aunt Esther said to me: "My dear, you must never frighten an animal. I have suffered enough from fear to know that there is no suffering more dreadful; and a helpless animal, that cannot speak to tell its fright, and cannot understand an explanation of what alarms it, ought to move your pity."
One hot afternoon Robert was playing under the maple tree. He was tired of his wagon and his train of cars, and he looked about for something else to play with. "Come here, Prince!" he said to his dog. "Let me put my hat on your head and play that you are a little boy."
Prince was sleepy and tired. He did not feel like playing that he was a little boy. He shook his head until the hat fell off, and Robert struck him with a stick. Then the poor dog ran away. Under the rose-bush was Snowball, the cat, having a good nap.
"Oh, Snowball!" said Robert, "I will give you a ride." And he tried to put her into the tiny wagon. Snowball did not care to ride. She scratched Robert and ran off as fast as she could go.
"What a naughty cat!" said Robert angrily.
"What a naughty boy!" said Robert's mamma, who had been watching him from the porch. "It was unkind to disturb Prince and Snowball as you did. I think you must go and stay by yourself a little while."
Robert ran upstairs, shut his door very hard, and threw himself upon his bed. It seemed to him that he had been there only a minute when he heard voices. He looked up and found himself in the garden again. Near him several dogs and cats were talking. To his surprise he understood what they said.
Prince was speaking. "I am tired of living here," he said. "My little master does not treat me very well. This morning he took me with him when he went on his bicycle. I was tired out and very hot and thirsty when we came home, but he would not take the trouble to fill my pan of water. I asked him plainly for a drink of water, but he laughed at me and said he was busy."
"I scratched him to-day," said Snowball. "Perhaps that may teach him not to hurt me so often. He lifts me by one paw, and yesterday he swung me about by the tail. I am sure he doesn't know how much he hurts me."
"You are a brave cat to dare to scratch him," said a sober little kitten. "We have a baby at our house, and of course I can't scratch a baby. She pulls my fur and puts her fingers in my eyes. The other children catch me when I run away, and give me back to her."
"That is very unfair," said a dog who was walking about. "You must excuse me for walking while I talk, but I have been chained so long that I am quite stiff. Of course I run away when the chain is taken off. Who wouldn't?"
"But you have enough to eat," said a thin cat who sat under the tree and who was looking up longingly at the birds. "No one gives me anything to eat until I cry for it. Then I am scolded for making such a noise. I should be glad to catch mice, if there were any to be found in our house."
"Still, you have a home," said a faint voice. "It is something to be thankful for, if you have a place to sleep."
All turned to see where the voice came from. A forlorn cat came out timidly from the currant bushes. It made Robert's heart ache to look at her.
"You had a good home a few weeks ago," said Prince, "though I must say I hardly knew you when you came up. Do have some of my dinner. I am not hungry myself."
"Thank you," said the newcomer gratefully. "Yes, I had a good home, and the children were kind to me. They have gone to the seashore now, and the house is shut up. They are not coming back for weeks. I don't believe I can live till then. I wish I were dead. I should be thankful if somebody would be kind enough to kill me." Her voice died out in a wail of despair.
Robert's eyes were full of tears, and he began to sob. Then he heard his mother say:
"Why, my boy, what are you dreaming about? Wake up, dear. It is almost supper time, and papa is coming up the street."
"Oh, mother!" said Robert, "I have had such a bad dream! I am sure I shall never be cruel to poor Snowball again."