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The Cat is washed.

dogs life

They thought also to give him a name. Mother Michel and Father Lustucru proposed several that were quite happy, such as Mistigris, Tristepatte, etc.; but the Countess rejected them all successively. She desired a name that would recall the circumstances in which the cat was found. An old scholar, whom she consulted the next day, suggested that of Moumouth, composed of two Hebrew words which signify saved from saucepans.

 

At the end of a few days, Moumouth was unrecognizable. His fur was polished with care; nourishing food had filled out his form; his mustaches stood up like those of a swordsman of the seventeenth century; his eyes shone as emeralds. He was a living proof of the influence of good fare upon the race. He owed his excellent condition chiefly to Mother Michel, whom he held in affectionate consideration; he showed, on the other hand, for Father Lustucru a very marked dislike. As if he had divined that here he had to do with an enemy, he refused to accept anything presented by the steward. However, they saw but little of each other. The days passed very happily with Moumouth, and everything promised a smiling future for him; but, like the sword of Damocles, troubles are ever suspended above the heads of men and of cats. On the 24th of January, 1753, an unusual sadness was observed in Moumouth; he scarcely responded to the caresses which Madame de la Grenouillère lavished upon him; he ate nothing, and spent the day crouched on a corner of the hearth, gazing mournfully into the fire. He had a presentiment of some misfortune, and the misfortune came.

That night a messenger, sent from the Château de la Gingeole in Normandy, brought a letter to the Countess from her younger sister, who, having broken a leg in getting out of her carriage, begged the Countess, her only relative, to come to her at once. Madame de la Grenouillère was too sympathetic and kind-hearted to hesitate an instant. "I depart to-morrow," said she. At these words, Moumouth, who followed his benefactress with his eyes, gave a melancholy miau.

"Poor cat!" resumed the lady, with emotion, "it is necessary that we should be separated! I cannot bring you with me, for my sister has the weakness to hate animals of your species; she pretends they are treacherous. What slander! In her youth she caressed a kitten, who, too much excited by marks of affection, scratched her involuntarily. Was it from wickedness? No, it was from sensibility. However, since that day my sister has sworn an eternal hatred for cats."

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