The Candle and the Cat
The Candle and the Cat
THOMAS Y. CROWELL & COMPANY,
and the Cat
Mary F. Leonard
“Half a Dozen
Thomas Y. Crowell & Co.
By THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.
To the memory of
This little story is dedicated
|Caro And Trolley||1|
|The Silver Candlestick||8|
|The Gate In The Orchard||15|
|The Grayson House||21|
|Trolley Goes Visiting||27|
|A Local Snow Storm||37|
|In The Garden||46|
|Miss Elizabeth Receives A Shock||56|
The Candle and The Cat
CARO AND TROLLEY
At the entrance to the driveway leading tothe residence occupied by the President of theTheological Seminary were two flat-toppedstone pillars, and upon one of these on a certainbright September day, Trolley sat sunninghimself.
His handsome coat, shading from a delicatefawn color to darkest brown, glistened likesatin; his paws were tucked comfortably awaybeneath him, his long tail hung down behind,and his golden eyes were almost closed; onlythe occasional movement of his small aristocraticears showed him to be awake.
When Caro came dancing down from thehouse he turned his head for a moment andwatched her sleepily till she was safely on top ofthe other pillar, where she seated herself Turk-fashion,her blue ruffles spread out carefully,for Aunt Charlotte had cautioned her not torumple them. Caro had also been told not togo out without her hat, so it dangled by itselastic from her arm, while the sun shone downwithout hindrance upon the fair little face withits smiling blue eyes, and its crown of shortbrown curls.
“Trolley,” she announced presently, “herecomes the Professor of something that beginswith ‘Ex,’—I never can remember, it is sucha funny word. It sounds like the book in theBible where the Commandments are.”
Dr. Wells, the dignified Professor of NewTestament Exegesis unbent a little at sight ofthe novel ornaments on the president’s gateposts.“Why Miss Caro, you must havewings!” he said, smiling up at her.
“Why no, I haven’t; and neither has Trolley.He just jumps, but I have to climb. Yousee that ledge there?—and this place—?”
“Yes, my dear, that will do. Aren’t youafraid you will fall?” the professor exclaimeduneasily, as Caro leaned over to point out herway of ascent. “I really think you had betterget down.”
“But it is very nice up here; you can see somuch,” the little girl assured him serenely, andDr. Wells went his way wondering if he oughtnot to go up to the house and tell someone ofher dangerous position.
“I am not a bit afraid I’ll fall. There’s notthe least danger; is there Trolley?” Caro continued.
Trolley opened his eyes, yawned scornfullyand closed them again.
“There is one thing I am afraid of—at leastI don’t like it, and that is the dark. I s’poseyou don’t mind it ’cause you can see—Ishouldn’t either if I could see in the dark.Aunt Charlotte says I mustn’t have a light to goto sleep by, and I love a light,—I just love it!”Caro’s eyes had grown sorrowful and her voicehad in it the sound of tears.
On the porch of the house back among thetrees Aunt Charlotte had waylaid the president.“I don’t know what to do with Caro,Charles. She isn’t exactly naughty,—and yetyou couldn’t say she was good either—”
“You surprise me,” he replied, as his sisterhesitated. “She impresses me as a decidedcharacter for one so young.”
“Decided! I should say so! You know—”Aunt Charlotte continued, “Elinor put her inmy charge to be dealt with as seemed to mebest, and I did think after bringing up yourfive that I knew something about it, but myhand has lost its cunning. You know I havenever allowed a child a light to go to sleep by,but Caro insists upon having one, and liesawake and cries without it. What am I to do?Let her cry?”
“Oh no, I shouldn’t do that!” answered herbrother hastily, gazing into his hat as if hehoped to find there some solution of the problem.“Suppose you let me consider the matter,”he added, as the striking of the hall clockreminded him of his engagement; “I’ll talkto her.”
“Much good it will do,” said Aunt Charlotte.
With a book under his arm Dr. Barrowsstarted out, so absorbed in thought of hissmall granddaughter that he passed throughthe gate without seeing her till she called,“Goodby grandpa!”
“Why Caro! Aren’t you afraid you willfall?”
Caro shook her curls vigorously, and thenleaning forward she said plaintively, “Grandpa—pleasedon’t let Aunt Charlotte make mesleep in the dark.”
“I fear you are a foolish little girl,” repliedthe president meaning to look stern, but succeedingonly in smiling fondly at the witch onthe pillar, who appropriated the smile and ignoredthe words.
“You know God made the darkness, Caro,”he continued, conscious that the remark wasnot quite original.
“Yes—” unwillingly—then “but grandpa,He put stars in His dark!”
As Dr. Barrows walked down the street hereflected that he should have but a dividedmind to give to seminary matters, if the presentstate of affairs continued, and the seminaryneeded his close attention just now.
It was two weeks since his granddaughterhad arrived to spend several months in hishome while her father and mother were traveling.“I am afraid we have spoiled her alittle,” his daughter Elinor wrote, “and hardas it is for me to give her up I feel sure it willbe good for her to be in Aunt Charlotte’s handsfor a time. I know you will love her and forgiveher little failings, as you always did thoseof—
“Your devoted daughter.”
Love her! he was fairly bewitched by her.He had thought a child in the house after somany years of quiet might be annoying, buton the contrary he would have liked to haveher always with him.
Aunt Charlotte was ready and anxious to doanything and everything for her dear Elinor’schild, but somehow her theories which hadworked so well with her brother’s children didnot seem to fit the next generation.
The truth was that in her southern homeCaro had been under a very different rule.Mammy ’Riah who had nursed her father beforeher, had, to use her own words “Taughther pretty manners,” and petted and scoldedand worshipped her. The result puzzled AuntCharlotte and delighted her brother.
“I can’t explain it,” he said, “but the childhas that something,—her grandmother hadit—” and here the president fell to musing overthose far-away days when he had fallen in lovewith a pretty southern girl.
“Please don’t let her make me sleep in thedark:”—Caro’s grandfather felt positivelychivalrous in his determination to protect her—fromwhat? His own dear sister in whose wisdomand devotion he had rested all these years!
THE SILVER CANDLESTICK
It is not for a moment to be supposed thatTrolley appeared in the first chapter simply becausehe was picturesque. He was undoubtedlyhandsome, and had a remarkable gift for elegantattitudes. He would pose as dignity andwisdom personified in the president’s arm chair,or stretch himself in careless grace on AuntCharlotte’s choicest divan, and had even beenknown to make a mantel ornament of himselfin an aspiring mood.
But above all else Trolley had a mind of hisown. For example he had chosen his home.He began life at the Graysons’ on Graysonavenue, but as soon as he was old enough tochoose for himself he took up his abode withthe President of the Seminary.
Aunt Charlotte did not particularly care forcats, and furthermore did not covet anythingthat was her neighbor’s, so again and againTrolley was sent back, all to no purpose, andat length he was allowed to have his way.
This was just at the time when the Graysonsand some others were bringing suit to preventthe laying of a trolley line on the avenue, andbetween the progressive people who wishedmore rapid transportation than the stage whichpassed back and forth once an hour, and theold-fashioned residents who feared to have thebeauty of their street destroyed, and their quietdisturbed by clanging bells and buzzing wheels,feeling had grown exceedingly bitter.
Dr. Barrows himself had no special interestin the matter, but some members of his familywere warm supporters of the railway, and whenthe suit was decided in its favor one of hisnephews named the cat in honor of the event.
As Trolley he was known from that hour,and he grew so large and handsome that evenAunt Charlotte came to take pride in him. Hewas amiable in disposition, but distant in mannerto all except Caro, who had won his heartas he had won hers, at first sight.
He forgot his dignity and raced with her inthe garden like a frolicsome kitten, when shewas tired he allowed himself to be made a pillowof, and to all her confidences he listenedwith a sympathetic purr. In fact he did all hecould to keep her from being homesick.
There were of course times when his ownaffairs demanded his attention. Bobby Browna yellow cat who lived two doors away neededan occasional setting down for instance, andother matters of this kind sometimes kept himaway for a day. It was on one of these occasionsthat Caro quite tired out with searchingfor him sat down on the doorstep and beganto miss mamma and the boys—“just dreadfully.”
“I am going to do some shopping; do youwant to come?” asked her grandfather’s voicebehind her.
The clouds flew from her face in a minute,for shopping with grandfather always meantsomething interesting, if only a glass of icecream soda.
As they walked down town together, Carochattered away without a pause.
“Are you going to buy something for me,grandpa?” she asked as they entered a largegrocery.
“I want to see some wax candles in differentcolors,” Dr. Barrows said to the clerk whocame forward.
“Why that sounds like Christmas or a birthday,”exclaimed Caro.
But the candles brought out were too largefor Christmas trees, or cakes. They were ofall colors, and some were plain, others fluted.
“What color do you prefer, Caro?” hergrandfather asked.
It was difficult to decide among so manypretty ones, and she hung over them with afinger on her lip and an expression of greatearnestness on her face.
“The pink is lovely—and so is the blue, onlynot quite so pretty,—and the green, and—yesI like