What, think you, I would bee? Not Fish, nor Foule, nor Fle, nor Frog, Nor Squirril on the Tree;

The Fish the Hooke, the Foule

The lymed Twig doth catch, The Fle the Finger, and the Frog

The Bustard doth dispatch.

"The Squirrill thinking nought,

That feately cracks the Nut; The greedie Goshawke wanting pray,

In dread of Death doth put; But scorning all these kindes,

I would become a Cat, To combat with the creeping Mouse,

And scratch the screeking Rat.

"I would be present, aye,

And at my Ladie's call, To gard her from the fearfull mouse,

In Parlour and in Hall; In Kitchen, for his Lyfe,

He should not shew his hed; The Peare in Poke should lie untoucht

When shee were gone to Bed.

"The Mouse should stand in Feare, So should the squeaking Rat; All this would I doe if I were Converted to a Cat."

But I think George must have been very far gone when he wrote that piece of poetry, for I should think that, even with the advantage of nine lives to lose, a Cat's existence is rather too hazardous; and, by the way, that reminds me of some instances where Pussy's natural prey have turned upon her in a most unpleasant manner; thus: A Cat was observed on the top of a paled fence, endeavouring to get at a blackbird's nest, which was near it. The hen left the nest at her approach, and flew to meet her in a state of alarm, and uttered a wild cry. The cock bird, on perceiving the danger, showed signs of distress by sometimes settling on the fence just before the Cat, who was unable to make a spring in consequence of the narrowness of her footing. After a little while, the cock bird flew at the Cat, settled on her back, and pecked her head with so much violence that she fell to the ground, followed by the blackbird, who succeeded in driving her away. A second time the same scene occurred; the blackbird was again victorious; and the Cat became so intimidated at the attacks made upon her, that she gave over the attempts to get at the young ones. After each battle, the blackbird celebrated his victory with a song, and for several days afterwards he would hunt the Cat about the garden whenever she left the house. There is also an instance of a pair of blackbirds following a boy into a house, and pecking at his head, while he was conveying one of their young into it.

Here is another case: A lady who kept a tame Jack Hare, in giving an account of it, says, that if a Cat approached him he would sit upright, "square himself," as it were, and rub his paws together like a pugilist preparing for an encounter. With one stroke of his soft but strong paws, the hare would tear a strip of the hair, and often even the skin, from the Cat's back; at other times he would make his sharp-cutting teeth meet in her neck; and so formidable at last was the "timid hare" to the little "domestic tiger," that no sooner did Pussy spy her conqueror than she would fly in terror from his presence.

In these two anecdotes, as in many others, Pussy is exhibited in a very unamiable light; but I hope that a few of the good traits I have been able to relate in the foregoing pages may weigh the balance in her favour with those inclined to judge her fairly. As a cruel destroyer of smaller and weaker animals she is most often painted, and so identified is she with that character, that it is difficult to make those personally unacquainted with her many good qualities to believe that any exist. In this way an actor, famous for his villains, becomes so very villainous, that even in a virtuous character we suspect him of hypocrisy, and expect that presently he will throw off the mask and assume his proper colours. By the way of allusion to a Cat on the stage, I think I can quote one of the most effective pieces that have been spoken.

Do any of my readers remember Robson acting in the burlesque of Medea? Upon the night of its production Ristori went to the Olympic to see his travestie of her great character. One of the finest passages in the tragedy is that in which Medea describes how like a tigress she will spring upon her intended victim. In Robert Brough's version the tigress is turned into a Cat, and Robson, with one of his intensely passionate bursts, used words, as well as I can recollect (I have not got a book by me), something after this fashion: "How will I, eh? The way the Cat jumps Upon a simple unsuspecting mouse Loose in the pantry, - no one in the house, - Nibbling away, with confidence unshaken, Eating his cheese up first to save his bacon. She's in no hurry. With dilating eyes, And undulating tail, she crouching lies, Till his enjoyments crises he is at, Then pounce! she makes a spring, and has him - pat. To a short game of pitch and toss she treats him - Tears him to pieces slowly - scrunch - then eats him."

While upon the subject of the theatre, I might add that it is a rule behind the scenes - a rule, however, very seldom enforced, if I am properly informed - that a Cat which crosses the scene when the curtain is raised shall be put to death. Such an unappropriate appearance has, before now, spoilt the finest tragedy. I think there is a story by Colonel Addison bearing upon an incident of this kind.

The Old Catch: "When a good housewife sees a rat In a trap in the morning taken, With pleasure her heart goes pitte-pitte-pat, For revenge of loss of bacon; Then she throws it to the Dog or Cat, To be worried, eat, or shaken," tolerably well indicates the popular notion of a Cat's duties, and the idea of keeping one for a pet, as birds are kept, would be thought by many a monstrous absurdity. By the way, it is said that the best way to get rid of English rats is not to get a Dog or Cat to kill them, but to purchase two or three Australian rats, and let them loose among them. They are to be purchased in London, and realise a high price from those who have faith in their frightening propensities, which I confess I have not.