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sides, so that I could not avoid receiving many hard blows, one of which brought me senseless to the ground. The biggest boy now seized me, and proposed to the rest making what he called rare sport with me. This sport was to tie me to a board, and launching me on a pond, to set some water dogs at me, who were to duck and half drown me, while I was to defend myself by biting their noses, and scratching their eyes. Already was I bound, and just ready to be set a sailing, when the schoolmaster taking a walk that way, and seeing the bustle, came up, and obliged the boys to set me at liberty, severely reprimanding them for their cruel intentions.
The next remarkable incident of my life was the occasion of my removal from the country. My mistress's brother had a tame linnet, of which he was very
fond; for it would come and light on his shoulder when he called it, and
feed out of his hand ; aud it sung well besides. This bird was usually either in its cage or upon a high perch ; but one unlucky day, when he and I were alone in the room together, he came down on the table to pick up crumbs. I spied him, and not being able to resist the temptation, sprung at him, and catching him in my claws, soon began to devour him. I had almost finished when his master came into the room; and seeing me with the remains of
linnet in my mouth, he ran to me in the greatest fury, and after chasing me several times round the room, at length caught me. He was proceeding instantly to hang me, when his sister, by many entreaties and tears, persuaded him after a good whipping to forgive me, upon the promise that I should be sent away. Accordingly, the next market-day I was dispatched in the cart to a relation's of theirs in this town,
who wanted a good cat, as the house was overrun with mice.
In the service of this family I continued a good while, performing my duty as a mouser extremely well, so that I was in high esteem. I soon became acquainted with all the particulars of a town life, and distinguished my activity in climbing up walls and houses, and jumping from roof to roof, either in pursuit of prey, or upon gossiping parties with my companions. Once, however, I had like to have suffered for my venturing; for having made a great jump from one house to another, I lit upon a loose tile, which giving way with me, I fell from a vast height into the street, and should certainly have been killed, had I not had the luck to light in a dung-cart, whence I escaped with no other injury but being half stifled with filth.
Notwithstanding the danger I had
run from killing the linnet, I am sorry to confess that I was again guilty of a similar offence. I contrived one night to leap down from a roof upon the board of some pigeon-holes, which led to a garret inhabited by those birds, I entered, and finding them asleep, made sad havoc among all that were within my reach, killing and sucking the blood of near a dozen. I was near paying dearly for this, too; for on attempting to return, I found it was impossible for me to leap up again to the place whence, I had descended, so that, after several dangerous trials, I was obliged to wait trembling in the place where Į had committed all these murders, till the owner came up in the morning to feed his pigeons. I rushed out between his legs as soon as the door was opened, and had the good fortune to get safe down stairs, and make my escape through a window unknown; but never
shall forget the horrors I felt that night! Let my
double danger be a warning to you, my children, to controul your savage appetites, and on no account to do harm to those creatures which like ourselves are under the protection of man. We cats all lie under a bad name for treacherous dispositions in this respect, and with shame I must acknowledge it is but too well merited.
Well --- but my breath begins to fail me, and I must hasten to a conclusion. I still lived in the same family, when our present kind mistress, Mrs. Petlove, having lost a favourite tabby, advertised a very handsome price for another, that should as nearly as possible resemble her dead darling. My owners, tempted by the offer, took me for the good lady's inspection, and I had the honour of being preferred to a multitude of rivals. I was immediately settled in the comfortable mansion we now in