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by [?]

We loved him to take meals with us. He would sit on the tablehumping his back, sipping his milk, shaking his whiskers and histender ears, hopping off and hobbling back to his saucer, with anair of supreme unconcern. Suddenly he was alert. He hobbled a fewtiny paces, and reared himself up inquisitively at the sugar-basin. He fluttered his tiny fore-paws, and then reached and laid them onthe edge of the basin, whilst he craned his thin neck and peepedin. He trembled his whiskers at the sugar, then did his best tolift down a lump.

you think I will have it!Animals in the sugar pot!”cried my mother, with a rap of her hand on the table.

Which so delighted the electric Adolf that he flung his hind-quarters and knocked over a cup.

“It’s your own fault, mother. If you left him alone—”

He continued to take tea with us. He rather liked warm tea. And he loved sugar. Having nibbled a lump, he would turn to thebutter. There he was shooed off by our parent. He soon learned totreat her shooing with indifference. Still, she hated him to puthis nose in the food. And he loved to do it. And so one daybetween them they overturned the cream-jug. Adolf deluged hislittle chest, bounced back in terror, was seized by his little earsby my mother and bounced down on the hearth-rug. There he shiveredin momentary discomfort, and suddenly set off in a wild flight tothe parlour.

This last was his happy hunting ground. He had cultivated thebad habit of pensively nibbling certain bits of cloth in thehearth-rug. When chased from this pasture, he would retreat underthe sofa. There he would twinkle in Buddhist meditation untilsuddenly, no one knew why, he would go off like an alarum clock. With a sudden bumping scuffle he would whirl out of the room, goingthrough the doorway with his little ears flying. Then we wouldhear his thunder-bolt hurtling in the parlour, but before we couldfollow, the wild streak of Adolf would flash past us, on anelectric wind that swept him round the scullery and carried himback, a little mad thing, flying possessed like a ball round theparlour. After which ebullition he would sit in a corner composedand distant, twitching his whiskers in abstract meditation. And itwas in vain we questioned him about his outbursts. He just wentoff like a gun, and was as calm after it as a gun that smokesplacidly.

Alas, he grew up rapidly. It was almost impossible to keephim from the outer door.

One day, as we were playing by the stile, I saw his brownshadow loiter across the road and pass into the field that facedthe houses. Instantly a cry of “Adolf!” a cry he knew full well. And instantly a wind swept him away down the sloping meadow, histail twinkling and zig-zagging through the grass. After him wepelted. It was a strange sight to see him, ears back, his littleloins so powerful, flinging the world behind him. We ran ourselvesout of breath, but could not catch him. Then somebody headed himoff, and he sat with sudden unconcern, twitching his nose under abunch of nettles.

His wanderings cost him a shock. One Sunday morning myfather had just been quarreling with a pedlar, and we werehearing the aftermath indoors, when there came a sudden unearthlyscream from the yard. We flew out. There sat Adolf cowering undera bench, whilst a great black and white cat glowered intently athim, a few yards away. Sight not to be forgotten. Adolf rollingback his eyes and parting his strange muzzle in another scream, thecat stretching forward in a slow elongation.

Ha, how we hated that cat!How we pursued him over the chapelwall and across the neighbours’ gardens.