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importance as their shape. They should be
well rounded, compactly formed, with small
ears, and fur of fine texture. It sometimes
happens that ordinary-looking cats have some
very good qualities. Cats are very much afraid
of each other; two of them will often look at
one another over a plate for a long time; neither
venturing to move, or to take anything. At
other times they are great bullies. One will
get close up to another, and scream into his
ear, until the other gradually shrinks back,
and runs off when he has got clear.

We may learn some useful lessons from
cats, as indeed from all animals. Agur, in
the book of Proverbs, refers to some, and all
through Scripture we find animals used as
types of human character. Cats may teach us
patience and perseverance, and earnest
concentration of mind on a desired object, as they
watch for hours together by a mouse-hole, or in
ambush for a bird. In their nicely-calculated
springs, we are taught neither to come short
through want of energy, or go beyond the mark
in its excess. In their delicate walking amidst
the fragile articles on a table or mantelpiece, is
illustrated the tact and discrimination by which
we should thread rather than force our way, and,
in pursuit of our own ends, avoid the injuring
of others. In their noiseless tread and stealthy
movements, we are reminded of the frequent
importance of secresy and caution prior to
action, while their promptitude at the right
moment warns us on the other hand against the
evils of irresolution and delay. The curiosity
with which they spy into all places, and the
thorough smelling which any new object invariably
receives from them, commends to us the
pursuit of knowledge even "under difficulties."
Cats, however, will never smell the same thing
twice over, thereby showing a retentive as well
as an acquiring faculty. Then to speak of what
may be learned from their mere form and ordinary
motions, so full of beauty and gracefulness!
What cat was ever awkward or clumsy?
Whether in play or in earnest, cats are the
very embodiment of elegance. As your cat
rubs her head against something you offer her,
which she either does not fancy, or does not
want, she instructs you that there is a gracious
mode of refusing a thing, and as she sits up,
like a bear, on her hind legs, to ask for something
(which cats will often do for a long time
together), you may see the advantage of a winning
and engaging way, as well when you are seeking
a favour as when you think fit to decline one.
If true courtesy and considerateness should
prevent you not merely from positively hurting
another, but also from purposely clashingsay
with another's fancies, peculiarities, or
predilections, this too may be learned from the cat,
who does not like to be rubbed the wrong way
(who does like to be rubbed the wrong way?),
and who objects to your treading on her tail.
Nor is the soft foot, with its skilfully sheathed
and ever sharp claws, without a moral too. For
whilst there is nothing commendable in anything
approaching to spite, passion, or revenge, a
character that is all softness is certainly defective.
The velvety paw is very well, but it will be the
better appreciated when it is known that it
carries within it something that is not soft, and
which can make itself felt, and sharply felt, on
occasion. A cat rolled up into a ball, or
crouched with its paws folded underneath it,
seems an emblem of repose and contentment.
There is something soothing in the mere sight of
it. It may remind one of tlie placid countenance
and calm repose with which the Sphynx seems
to look forth from the shadow of the Pyramids
on the changes and troubles of the world.
This leads to the remark that cats, after all, are
very enigmatical creatures. You never get to
the bottom of cats. You will never find any
two, well known to you, that do not offer
marked diversities in ways and dispositions;
and, in general, the combination they exhibit
of activity and repose, and the rapidity with
which they pass from the one to the other,
their gentle aspect and fragile form united with
strength and pliancy, their sudden appearances
and disappearances, their tenacity of life, and
many escapes from dangers ("as many lives
as a cat"), their silent and rapid movements,
their sometimes unaccountable gatherings, and
strange noises at nightall contribute to invest
them with a mysterious fascination, which
reaches its culminating point in the (not very
frequent) case of a completely black cat.

The superstitions that formerly used to
connect cats so much with witches, and that too
in countries wide apart, attest the prevalence
of a feeling that there is something in cats out
of the common way.

There is unquestionably more in the minds
of all animals than they ordinarily get credit
for. Don't you believe, we say to the owner
of some favourite dog, cat, or horse, that
there was once a time when that bright and
expressive eye would have conveyed still more
emotion and meaning than it does now?
And is not Mr. Ruskin right when he says:
"There is in every animal's eye a dim image and
gleam of humanity, a flash of strange life through
which their life looks at and up to our great
mystery of command over them, and claims the
fellowship of the creature, if not of the soul"?

On Friday Evening, June 6th, at ST. JAMES'S HALL,
Piccadilly, at 8 o'clock precisely,
Mr. CHARLES DICKENS will read his
(In Six Chapters),