"My sister is also unjust. Cats, perhaps, love her, and she does not love them. I respect her opinion. Respect that of Moumouth." Having pronounced these words in a firm tone, Madame de la Grenouillère addressed herself to Mother Michel.
"It is to you, Mother Michel, and to you alone, that I confide him. Return him to me safe and sound, and I will cover you with benefits. I am sixty-five years of age, you are ten years younger; it is probable that you will live to close my eyes"— "Ah, madame! why such sorrowful ideas?" "Let me finish. To guard against mischance, I have already thought to provide for you comfortably; but, if you keep Moumouth for me, I will give you a pension of fifteen hundred livres." "Ah, madame!" said Mother Michel, in an impressive tone, "it is not necessary to hire my services; I love the cat with all my heart, and I will always be devoted to him." "I am sure of it, and I shall also know how to reward your zeal." During this conversation, Father Lustucru employed all his forces to conceal the expression of his jealousy. "Everything for her, and nothing for me!" he said to himself. "Fifteen hundred livres a year! It is a fortune, and she will have it! Oh, no! she shall not have it."
The next morning, at half-past seven, four lively horses were harnessed to the post-chaise which was to convey the excellent old lady to Normandy. She said a last adieu to her favorite, pressed him to her heart, and stepped into the carriage. Until then, Moumouth had felt only a vague uneasiness; but at this moment he understood it all! He saw his benefactress ready to depart; and, trembling at the thought of losing her, he made one bound to her side. "It is necessary for you to stay here," said Madame de la Grenouillère, making an effort to restrain her tears. Will it be believed?—the cat also wept!
To put an end to this painful scene, Mother Michel seized the cat by the shoulders and detached him from the carriage-cushion, to which he clung; the door closed, the horses gave a vigorous pull, and started off at a speed of not less than three leagues an hour. Moumouth rolled in a convulsion, and then fainted.