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A bed-room in the country-house; autumnal sunshine filters in through closed blinds. SHE lies on a couch, apparently asleep, dressed in a white woolen gown. KIKI-THE-DEMURE makes his toilet on a narrow console-table. TOBY-DOG, on the carpet, in a sphinx-like attitude, watches HER and at the same time, is attentive to the words of his master, who is leaving the room on tip-toe.

HE, (in a very low voice to the two animals)

Sh! Don’t wake her. Be good. I’m going downstairs, to write.

(He closes the door noiselessly after him.) TOBY-DOG, (to KIKI-THE-DEMURE)

What did He say?


I don’t know. Something vague. Directions, like: stay there, good-by.


He said, “’Sh!” I’m not making any noise.

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (ironically)

They’re astonishing! They say “no noise,” and thereupon walk off with a step a deaf rat could hear two miles away.

TOBY-DOG Some truth in that. (He looks at the sleeping figure on the couch.) Her face still looks very small. She’s asleep. If you jump down from that table don’t land with a big thump.

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (stiffly)

Ah, you’re teaching me to jump now, are you? Oh, worthy counselor! (quoting) Put a beggar in your barn and he’ll make himself your heir.


What’s that?


Nothing. An Oriental proverb. If I wished, dog, to disturb the silence of this room I’d be clever enough to choose a rickety chair; its feet would pound out a regular tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc, in time with my tongue as I washed myself. It’s a means I’ve invented to gain my liberty. Tic-toc, tic-toc, says the chair. She happens to be reading or writing, is easily irritated, and cries, “Be quiet, Kiki!” But I go on unconscious of any wrong-doing; tic-toc, tic-toc. She jumps up distracted and opens the door wide for me: slowly, like one exiled, I cross its threshold and once outside, laugh to find myself so superior to them all.

TOBY-DOG, (who hasn’t been listening, yawns)

What a sad week, eh? I don’t know what it is to take a walk any more. I haven’t taken any pleasure in eating either, since She fell from her horse.


Heavens, one can love people and care for one’s stomach too.

TOBY-DOG, (with ardor)

Not I! When She screamed and fell from her horse, I felt the heart crack inside me.


That affair couldn’t have ended otherwise. One doesn’t go climbing up on a horse! People don’t do such things! I see nothing but extravagance around me. To begin with, a horse is a fearful monstrosity.

TOBY-DOG, (indignantly)

Did one ever hear the like!

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (peremptorily)

I happen to have had the opportunity of making a very close study of one....

TOBY-DOG, (aside)

He makes me laugh!


... It was the farmer’s horse that grazed in the meadow. My life, for a whole month, was embittered by that roving mountain. Lying under the hedge, I could see his heavy feet disfiguring the ground. I breathed his vulgar odor and heard his strident cry shaking the air. Once when he was eating the lower twigs of the hedge, I saw myself the whole of me reflected in one of his eyes! I fled ... and from that day my hatred was so strong that I wildly hoped to annihilate the monster. I’ll go up to him, thought I, I’ll plant myself firmly in front of him, and the desire of his death will be so strong in my eyes, that perhaps, he’ll die when he meets my look ...

TOBY-DOG, (diverted)

And then?

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (continuing)

I carried out my plan. But the horse I had waited for in fear and trembling, just blew through his nostrils a long jet of foul-smelling vapor, and I fell back in atrocious convulsions.

TOBY-DOG, (Inwardly writhing with laughter)

You don’t exaggerate?

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (serious)

Never! And She must needs go climbing on a horse’s back, holding fast to four cords, one leg this side and the other that. ... Strange aberration!


We don’t think alike, Cat. For me, the horse is, after man, the most beautiful thing in the world.

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (vexed) And where do I come in?

TOBY-DOG, (evasive and courteous)

Oh, you’re a Cat. But a horse, and with Her on his back! What a beautiful picture they make, high up in the blue air! To gaze on it, I have to throw my head ’way back on my thick neck. The horse lends her his speed. Now at last, She can race with me when I go off on a mad run. Sometimes I’m ahead, ears floating back and tongue hanging out like a little flag the angular shadow of the horse on the road in front. If I follow her, a fragrant dust blows back at me. It smells of warm leather, moist beast, and a little of her own perfume too. The road runs under me, like a ribbon that someone is pulling. Oh, what joy it is to be so little and so swift, running along in the shadow of a great galloping horse! When we halt, I pant like a motor, between the legs of my friend, who snorts and in the kindliest way puts down his fettered mouth and sprinkles me ...


I know, I know! The horse “with long mane ashake; hoofs, heavy with tumult; eyes, glimmering white.” ...You are the last of the Romanticists.


I’m not the last of the Romanticists. I’m a little bull-dog that came into the world one evening, almost under the feet of a chestnut mare. She didn’t lie down all night long, she was so afraid of crushing my mother and her puppies. A little bull-dog like me is almost the child of a horse. I lay in the warm straw against her warm flanks, I drank out of the stable pails. I used to get up when I heard the sound of hoofs coming in and I took an interest in the washing of the carriages, until the day She came and picked me out me, the best-looking, the most snub-nosed, the stockiest of the litter. (Sighing.) And there She lies, so dreadfully quiet! It makes me sad to see her with that little cloth still ’round her ankle. You remember when He picked her up in his arms? He held her and She’s a lot bigger than I am just as if She were a little dog that he was going to drown....

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (bitterly)

I remember. I was at the top of the stairs irritated by the noise, but curious. He came up and pushed me aside with his foot, as he would have done if a piece of furniture had happened to be in his way.


Is that why you stayed away from this room her room for three whole days?

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (hesitating)

Yes ... and for another reason too.


What reason?


Because of the fever.

TOBY-DOG, (carried away by his love)

Her fever smells better than other peoples’ good health!
KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (shrugging his shoulders)

And they talk of a dog’s scent! Truly the convictions of Two-Paws are based upon childish fables. You know of course that fever

TOBY-DOG, (in a low tone)

Makes one afraid, yes.

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (in a low tone)

Makes one afraid, gives one cold shivers down one’s back, distaste for everything and uneasiness all over. One hesitates on the threshold of a room where there is fever, searching fearfully some hidden thing.... She was in bed and burning hot. I looked at her a long time, ready to run, saying to myself: “Who can be with her there behind the curtains who is it stifles and torments her and makes her moan in her sleep?” TOBY-DOG, (frightened retrospectively)

There wasn’t anyone, was there?


No one but He and the fever. He, the most intelligent of Two-Paws, was leaning over her listening to her breathing, dimly aware of an invisible presence. I overcame my aversion and looked at her. I was melancholy and jealous. He must love her, thought I, to go so near and defend her, to kiss her, imbued as She is with the evil charm. Would He hold me to his heart, if I

TOBY-DOG, (imperatively)





She stirred.



TOBY-DOG, (alert, looking at her)

No ... She didn’t stir, but her thoughts did. I felt them. Continue.

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (who has recovered his equanimity)

I don’t know now what we were talking about.


The fev

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (quickly)

Enough. Don’t recall it. Fever is the beginning of the thing one never speaks of.

TOBY-DOG, (shivering)

Yes, I know.... I don’t like an animal that can’t move. You know what I mean ...

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (laughing cruelly)

Nor do I. I can only eat live birds, and as for the tiny mice, I prefer to swallow them, squeak and all....


Why does it amuse you to horrify me? You’ve a certain vanity that I can’t understand. It consists in exaggerating cruelties that are already real enough. You call me the last of the Romanticists, aren’t you the first of the Sadics?


Oh dog, poisoned with literature! An eternal misunderstanding separates us. “I’m a little bull-dog,” you replied just now, with that stupid sincerity which disarms me. Let me say to you in my turn, “I am a Cat.” The name is sufficient dispensation. There is in me a hatred of pain and ugliness, an overmastering detestation of all that offends my sight, or my reason. When the concierge’s cat dragged around his wounded paw, I threw myself upon him, fired by a righteous anger, and until he stopped his whining I

TOBY-DOG, (supplicatingly)

Don’t tell me!

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (getting angry) Understand then, once and for all if the pale recital of what I did upsets you that I wished to abolish, to annihilate in that bleeding animal the suggestion of my own inevitable death ...

(They are quiet for a little while.)

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (shuddering)

This confinement does us no good. I would gladly go out into the soft sunshine and do “the bayadeer’s dance,” as He calls it, on the dry gravel among the leaves, which look like fried potatoes. Everything is yellow out-of-doors. My green eyes would reflect the golden sun and the flaming woods and so turn yellow too.... Now I’ll think only of what is joyous and yellow, the beautiful, cold Autumn, the rosy dawn that leaves its colors in the foliage of the cherry-tree ... Come, let’s prove the strength of our legs and enjoy to the full the consciousness that youth has only just begun for us ... Who knows, death may never come ...

(He jumps down from the console-table, without making the least noise.)

TOBY-DOG, (stopping him)

What are you going to do?


Scratch at the door, and strike up the “Hymn of the Sequestered Cat.”

TOBY-DOG, (indicating the figure on the couch)

And doubtless waken Her?

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (stubbornly)

I’ll sing in a very small voice.


And you’ll scratch with your tiniest claws, I suppose? Stay here quietly, He commanded it when He went away.

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (loftily)

Does He command me? He beseeches me, and that’s my only reason for obeying him.

(He sits down again, apparently resigned, and yawns slowly.)

TOBY-DOG, (yawning)

You make me yawn.


On the contrary, it’s you who bore me. (Temptingly.) You’re thinking what a good thing freedom is, aren’t you?... A hen has probably escaped from the chicken yard what sport you’re missing!


You really think so?


I said: probably.... Have you finished exploring that rabbit’s hole?

TOBY-DOG, (disturbed)

No ... it’s so very deep! I almost buried myself, hollowing it out yesterday. The earth that stuck to my muzzle had some of the animal’s fur in it....

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (more and more satanic)

I suppose you’ll finish that to-morrow ... or some other day. TOBY-DOG, (sadly)

Why not say next year, while you’re about it?


What’s the matter with you? Your shiny black lip hangs down an ell, and your froggy eyes glitter with tears. Are you crying?

TOBY-DOG, (sniffling)

No ...


Poor, sensitive heart, console yourself. You’ll have your pleasures and your friends again. At this very moment the farmer’s dog is crunching bones in the kitchen ... to beguile the long wait for you.

TOBY-DOG, (overcome)

Oh! oh! the farmer’s dog!


She’s not alone either; that great dane, the watch-dog, keeps her company.

TOBY-DOG, (rebellious)

That’s not true!


Go see.

TOBY-DOG, (after one bound toward the door) No, that would make noise.


You’re right, it would.

(A mournful silence follows. TOBY curls himself up like a turban and closes his eyes, because he feels like crying. His breath comes in little sobs.)

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (absently, in a low, monotonous chant.)

The dog ... the little dog ... the bones, the little dog ... the rabbit ... the great dane, the rabbit’s hole ...the little dog, the mutton bones ...the rabbit’s skin ...

TOBY-DOG, at first endures the torture heroically; then his nerves betray him and lifting his head he howls the long plaint of the abandoned dog.

Wooo oo oooooo!

KIKI-THE-DEMURE, (from the top of the console-table)

Will you be quiet!


Wooooooooo!! oo oooo oo!


That’s it! That’s it!

(SHE wakes bewildered, still captive of her dreams, while the Cat listens patiently to the approaching step on the stairs, which means liberty for him and punishment for TOBY-DOG.)