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Old 09-19-2017, 03:11 AM   #1
GrannyGrump
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Benson, E. F.: Two Cat Stories (shorts). v1. 19 Sep 2017

Two Cat Stories by Edward Frederic Benson (1867–1940)

These stories were published in 1920. Text is in the public domain in countries where copyright is “Life + 70”ť or less, and in the USA.

--------------
Edward Frederic “E. F.” Benson was an English novelist, biographer, memoirist, archaeologist and short story writer. He is now known mainly for his “Mapp and Lucia” novels, and to a somewhat lesser extent, for his short “spook” stories about the supernatural.

* * * *
The two delightful pieces presented here, although classified as “stories” in the collection “The Countess of Lowndes Square,” seem rather to be memoirs. With charm and gentle humor, they relate the lives and times of several cats who ruled the household of the narrator.

An excerpt:
Spoiler:
The jungle in question was a space of some dozen yards, where in spring daffodils grew in clumps of sunshine and fritillaries hung their speckled bells. There were peonies also planted in the grass, and a briar-rose, and an apple-tree; nothing, as I have said, was remarkable in itself, but it was fraught with amazing possibilities to the keen imagination of Puss-cat. At the bottom of this strip of untamed jungle the lawn began, and it was one of Puss-cat’s plans to hide at the edge of the jungle, flattening herself out till she looked like a shadow of something else. If luck served her, Jill [the fox terrier], sooner or later in the pursuit of interesting smells, would pass close to the edge of the jungle without seeing her. The moment Jill had gone by, Puss-cat would stretch out a discreet paw, and just touch Jill on the hindquarters. Jill, of course, had to turn round to see what this inexplicable thing meant, and on the moment Puss-cat would fling herself into the air and descend tiger-like on Jill’s back. That was the beginning of the game, and it contained more vicissitudes than a round of golf. There were ambushes and scurryings innumerable, assaults from the apple tree, repulsions from behind the garden roller, periods of absolute quiescence, suddenly and wildly broken by swift flanking movements through the sweet-peas, and at the end a failure of wind and limb, and Jill would lie panting on the bank, and Puss-cat, having put off dinner, proceed to clean herself for her evening duties. She had to be smart at dinner-time, whether we were dining alone, or whether there was a dinner-party, for she was never a tea-gown cat, and she dressed for her dinner, even if we were dining out. She was not responsible for that; what she was responsible for was to be tidy herself.


Be you cat-lover or not, a high probability lies ahead for enjoyment.
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