THE May moon is still shining white and round in the sky; but eastward beyond the hills, silhouetting a farmhouse roof, the first faint light of dawn tinges the distant horizon. . . . Along a hedge leading from the farm a house-cat comes creeping. At intervals it stops and casts a watchful glance behind . . . then hurries on again.

The advancing day slowly spreads its wakening touch over the land. In the zenith the sky is already blue, and the stars are going to rest; but all human talk and noise is still buried in the feather-beds of the farm . . . only a mighty vibrating chorus of invisible larks fills the air.

The animal is apparently quite an ordinary cat. Its small round head rests on a thick, shapely neck; the legs are short, the tail round and smooth, and the curve of the neck graceful and harmonious.

But on the underside pussy is quite bare and naked. Her stomach is distended from breast to groin like an overfilled sack. The cat has had kittens in her time; the fact cannot be denied!

The squeak of a mouse from the shadow of the hedge brings her to an abrupt halt. Her ears spring to a point and appear all at once disproportionately large, like those of a rabbit. In shape they resemble lynx ears more than a cat's; the only thing lacking is the tuft.

The night-mists roll slowly from the valleys, revealing the green, dew-spangled blades of the fresh spring crop. Along border and hedge the wild flowers begin to clothe themselves in the sun's variegated hues. The colours, too, in the cat's coat begin now to be visible.

She is mouse-grey, with black stockings and white shoes. But round her breast and sides runs—like a mark of distinction—a band of rust-red fur.

Soon Grey Puss resumes her interrupted journey from the farm; the mouse has been successfully captured and eaten. At first she had been tempted to play with it; but the bark of a dog from the direction of the farm brought other thoughts into her head. She no longer steals along—but runs. . . .