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But instead of turning tail, he gave me such a bite on the nose, that I ran mewing to my mother, with my face all bloody and swelled. For some time I did not meddle with rats again. At length growing stronger and more skilful, I feared neither rats nor any other vermin, and was thought an excellent hunter.
etmflevea tea/i /uaecn /let'gAt
civttw SumA aunaeon fliaM
I HAVE A NARROW ESCAPE.
I continued a good while doing my duty as a inouser. I soon knew all about farm life, and showed my activity in climbing up walls and out-houses, and jumping from roof to roof, either after prey, or in sport with my companions.
Once, however, I nearly suffered for my fun. Having made a great jump from one house to another, I alighted on a loose tile, which gave way with me. I fell from a vast height into the yard, and should certainly have been killed had I not had the luck to pop straight upon a dung-hill.
I contrived one night to leap down from a roof upon the board of some pigeon-holes, which led to a garret in which were numbers of linnets. I entered, and finding them asleep, made sad havoc among all that were within my reach, killing and sucking the blood of about a dozen.
I was nearly paying dearly for this, too; for on trying to return, I found it was impossible for me to leap up again to the place from which I jumped down. So that after several trials I had to wait trembling in the place where I had done all these murders, till the owner came up in the morning to feed his pigeons. I rushed out between his legs as soon as the door was opened, and had the good luck to get safe down stairs, and make my escape through a window. But never shall I forget the horrors I felt that night.
Let my double danger be a warning to you, my children, and on no account do harm to those creatures which, like ourselves, are under the care of man. We Cats all lie under a bad name for slyness and naughty deeds, and with shame I must confess it is but too well deserved.
THE MOUSE'S PETITION".
For liberty that sighs;
Against the wretch's cries!
Within the wiry grate;
Which brings im'pending fate.1
And spurn'd a tyrant's chain,
A free-born mouse detain.
Thy hospitable hearth;
A prize so little worth!
My frugal meals supply;
That slender boon deny,
Are blessings widely given;
The common gifts of heaven.
Evenings at Home.
1 Impending fate, death.
ToatUtele aeutfn&d qameied
SYLVIA AND CAPRIOLE.
A KID BECOMES SYLVIA'S PET.
One bleak day in March, Sylvia coming home from a visit to the sheep-fold, met with a young kidling left by its dam on the naked heath. It was bleating piteously, and was so cold that it could scarcely stand. Sylvia took it up in her arms, and pressed it close to her bosom.
She hastened home, and showing her little foundling to her parents, begged she might rear it for her own. They consented; and Sylvia at once got a basket full of clean straw, and made a bed for him on the hearth. She warmed some milk, and held it to him in a platter.
The poor creature drank it up eagerly, and then licked her hand for more. Sylvia was delighted. She chafed his slender legs with her warm hands, and soon saw him jump out of his basket, and frisk across the room. When tired, he lay down again and took a quiet nap.
The next day the kid had a name given him. As he gave tokens of being an excellent jumper, it was called Capriole.
The younger children of the family were allowed to stroke and pat him; but Sylvia would let nobody be familiar with him but herself. The great mastiff was charged never to hurt him.
Within a few days, Capriole followed Sylvia all about the house; trotted by her side into the yard; ran races with her in the field; and fed out of her hand.
As the spring came, Sylvia roamed in the fields and gathered wild flowers, with which she wove garlands, and hung them around her kid's neck. He could not be kept, however, from munching his finery when he could reach it with his mouth. He would likewise thrust his nose into the meal-tub and flour-box, or follow people into the dairy, and sip the milk that was set for cream. He now and then got a blow for this, but his mistress always took his part, and gave him every liberty.
Capriole's horns now began to bud, and a little white beard sprouted at the end of his chin. He grew bold enough to put himself in a fighting posture whenever he was offended.
He butted down little Colin into the dirt; quarrelled with the geese for their corn; and held many a stout battle with the old turkey-cock. Every body said, Capriole is growing too saucy, he must be sent away, or taught better manners.
But Sylvia still stood his friend, and he repaid her love with many tender caresses.
The farm-house where Sylvia lived, stood in a sweet valley, by the side of a clear stream, bordered with trees. Above the house rose a sloping meadow, and beyond that was an open common covered with purple heath and yellow furze.
Farther on, at some distance, rose a steep hill, the top of which was a bare craggy rock. Capriole, ranging at his pleasure, often got upon the common, and was pleased with browzing the short grass and wild herbs which grew there. Still, however, when his mistress came to seek him, he would run bounding at her call, and go back with her to the farm.
THE KID LEAVES SYLVIA.
One fine summer's day, Sylvia wanted to play with her pet; and, missing him, she went to the side of the common, and called aloud Capriole! Capriole! ex-pecting to see him came running to her as usual.
No Capriole came. She went on and on, still calling the kid by the most en'dearing names, but nothing was to be seen of him. Her heart began to flutter. What can become of him?
Surely somebody must have stolen him,—or perhaps the neighbour's dogs have worried him. Oh my poor Capriole! my dear Capriole! I shall never see you again!—and Silvia began to weep.
She still went on, looking whisffully all around, and making the place echo with Capriole! Capriole I where are you, my Capriole! till at length she came to the foot of the steep hill.
Sha climbed up its sides to get a better view. No kid was to be seen. She sat down and wept, and wrung her hands. After a while, she fancied she heard a bleating like the well-known voice of her Capriale. She started up, and looked towards the sound, which seemed a great way over head.
At length she spied, just on the edge of a steep crag, her Capriole peeping over. She stretched out her hands to him, and began to call with a timid voice, lest in his desire to return to her, he should leap down and break his neck. But there was no such danger.
Capriole was breathing the fresh breeze of the mountains, and enjoying with rapture the scenes for which nature designed him. His bleating was the expression of joy, and he bestowed not a thought on his kind mistress, nor paid the least attention to her call.