He went stealthily into an adjoining room, walking upon the tips of his toes, and took a covered basket which he had hidden in the bottom of a closet. Then he returned to Moumouth, whom he seized roughly by the neck. The unfortunate animal awoke with a start, and found himself suspended in the air face to face with Father Lustucru, his enemy. In that horrible situation he would have cried, and struggled, and called for assistance, but he had no time. The odious steward plunged the poor cat into the basket, quickly clapped down the solid cover, and ran rapidly to the staircase, his eyes haggard and his hair standing on end, like a man who commits a crime.
It was a beautiful night in February, with a clear sky and a dry, cold atmosphere. The moon shone with all her brightness; but, at intervals, great clouds drifted over her face and rendered the obscurity complete. Father Lustucru was obliged to cross the garden, in order to pass out by a small door, of which he had taken the key. He glided from bush to bush, carefully avoiding the paths, except when the clouds veiled the moon. He had half-opened the door, when he heard a sound of footsteps and voices outside. He started back involuntarily, then stood still and listened.
"What foolishness!" he said, after a moment of silent observation. "I had forgotten that it was carnival-time; those are masqueraders passing." He dances with Delight. It was, in effect, a band of masqueraders from the Palais Royal. Lustucru waited until they were gone; then he hurried out. When he reached the quay, in the joy of success, he began to whistle a dancing-tune and cut capers; his transports resembled those of a cannibal who dances around his victim. The Cat is thrown into the River. He went up the Seine as far as the bridge of Notre Dame, in the middle of which he halted, and holding the basket over the parapet, turned it suddenly upside down, and launched the luckless Moumouth into the icy waters of the river. The cat, in dropping through space, gave a cry that seemed to come from a human voice. The assassin shuddered, but his emotion did not last long. He thrust his hands into his pockets and said, in a tone of bitter mockery,— "Pleasant voyage to you, dear Moumouth; endeavor to arrive all right! By the way," added he, "I think cats know how to swim; that brigand is capable of getting himself out of this business. Bah! it is a long distance from the bridge of Notre Dame to Saint-Thomas-du-Louvre!"