This chapter is from the "Kittens: A Family Chronicle" book, by Svend Fleuron.
While the others sneaked round in copse and cornfield, following their crooked, winding hunting-paths, Red-kitten usually made a bee-line to the nearest house or farm. Sometimes, at rare intervals, she ventured into the village itself. She liked best to approach by means of the high road and the path through the churchyard . . . but it had to be very late at night, when it was quite dark!
In broad daylight she preferred keeping under cover as much as possible, and following cattle-paths, wheel-tracks, and ditches. The nearer she approached to the village, the shorter and slower became her steps—until at last she sat down to consider matters and spy out the land.
She was cautious almost to absurdity; but caution as well as courage were necessary if she were to succeed. She knew that the village bristled with obstacles: dogs by the dozen to chase her, and other cats who would bar her progress from sheer evil nature and jealousy. But life is full of such worries!
She had developed a taste for "kitchen-game" : roast herring and lumps of eel, boiled meat and delicious-smelling ham! She found that kind of thing much easier to capture than mice or birds. She regarded cream, especially, as a great delicacy—and her red-striped coat could therefore often be seen where this brand of "kitchen-game" lay in hiding.
The bailiff kept a sharp lookout for her. Once he kept watch the whole day from morning till evening outside his back door, where an old, dilapidated meat-safe of his had recently been plundered. In it lay a freshly roasted pork chop, the smell of which he hoped would attract the thief.
About noon, however, the bailiff became hungry and went indoors to refresh himself after his morning's tedious exertions—and when he came out again half an hour later to resume his watch, he was just in time to see the "red devil" vanish through the garden with the pork chop in his jaws.
Red had scented the "kitchen-bird" in its cage on the wall and had broken her way in; well for her that she had heard the footsteps in time. ...
Whenever she found anything that suited her fancy she took it at once. To do otherwise, it seemed to her, would be stupidity— and of stupidity no one had yet accused the thief-cat!