27: Wicked Cats

Gib, a spotted cat, looking startled.Oh, I never knowed such wicked cats as live hereabouts.  Unseemlie cats, lunatick cats, italianate cats, fightsome cats.

And I am yet to meet them all.

But I go too fast.

I lodge in the chamber of the man who would have all believe he can read.  He likes to sit alone of an evening to sup his ale and eat his pie (of which I have a share).

Book and Pen detail from a Painting by Michael Conrad Hirt - VanitasWhile he eats and drinks he turns the pages of a book, though there is none but me to see this comedy.

What a waste of waxen candles.  He has a great store of stubs that he must have stole when my lady Moll and all were here.

Of a morn, I visit the kitchen to see what I may beg.

One time, the kitchen cat was eating a sawsits [sausage?] under the table.

I snapt the last of it, and she made no complaint.  Instead, she arrkst me if I would do her the honour of accompanying her to the Cats’ Field, where all go for newes and entertainment.

I waited by the kitchen door on the appointed evening.  She was late.

A Froward Kitling Lies Quiet, with each eye looking in a different direction.
A Froward Kitling watches for the Man-Bull.

She sayt her kitling had been froward [naughty], and would not lie quiet until told that the Man-Bull will hear her and come to eat her.

“What?” I cried.  “You know of the Man-Bull here?”

“We do,” she sayt.  “For as some cats range far, so your tales are spread.”

Then she told me she gave newes of my coming hither at their last Field day, and all were fire-hot to make my akwayntance.


As we made haste along, I heared a strange, soft thrum.  Then a great screech, followed soon after by a voice lifted in song.  My companion sayt she feared the entertainment was near its end, but no matter.  They would stay for us.

All assemblies I had been to were most quiet, save for when the cats called their liking of a tale. Or screamed aloud in fear, real or feigned.

I knew not what to think.

As we ran onto the Field a black cat was walking from the centre of their circle.  All heads turned to us, and another screech went up.  I checked myself, for I thought they meant to attack me.  And true, the black cat did come at me, but with ears held high.  (I could not see his tail.)

He greeted me by putting his nose to mine.  Twice.  On both sides.  Which I thought most unseemlie on first akwayntance.

He was well-scented with tobacco smoke and wine.  And he’d rubbed whiskers with an old man not long since.

A Lunatick Cat standing in the moonlight.
A Lunatick Cat

Then a cat who stood on the wall looking at the moon sayt, “We must have a goodly tale, whereby we might learn something.  Pray tell us, Sir, of the tricksie Fox and the patient Cat, so we may be minded that they who wait shall have their reward.”

“And what be you waiting for?” called an old queen cat.  “The moon to give you back your wits?”

Another screech from all.

 The standing cat seemed about to answer, but a young cat leapt up beside him and whispered in his ear.

The other cats called, “Give us Teasel Puss.”

“Friends,” I sayt (wishing no offence to any), “I thank you for my welcome, but the hour is late.  I shall make a start when we meet again.”

“Signore,” called the black cat, “A mere taste, un gusto, per favore.”

I took his meaning, so gave out the prowlook [prologue] to my tale.  There came that strange thrum again, and I saw that the cats seated in the circle were striking their tails upon the ground to the measure of my verse.

When I ended some called for more, but the black cat accused the pied cat beside him of striking him with his tail.   The pied cat bristled up.  Other cats bristled up too, hoping for a fight.

But most ran off.  As did the kitchen cat and I.

And though I know this place to be the very kwintessence of wickedness, I do believe it may be the true place for me.

Toutparmoi - Editor's Note.The development of Gib’s famous tale of Teasel Puss, and his approach to telling it, are covered in My Sweet Maggot Returns, Teasel Puss and the Man-Bull, and I Tell My Tale of Teasel Puss


12 thoughts on “27: Wicked Cats

  1. Robyn Haynes October 22, 2015 / 4:25 pm

    I can just picture this scene. Gib leads with his nose convincingly in the descriptions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi October 22, 2015 / 6:20 pm

      He seems to have fallen on his feet (as the saying goes).

      Liked by 1 person

    • aidyl93 October 22, 2015 / 6:23 pm

      That he has; I’m happy for him and excited to see what happens next! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. April Munday October 22, 2015 / 11:23 pm

    I’m happy that Gib is getting the measure of the new place, but I can’t help feeling sorry for Moll. She must be missing him a lot by now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi October 22, 2015 / 11:31 pm

      I’m not sure about that. He was originally given to her little brother (the future Earl). And while I don’t doubt that Moll was fond of him, I have a feeling that Gib’s is the lot of many cats. Picked up to amuse the kids, but pretty much left to his own devices once they’ve moved on. Gib, of course, doesn’t know that, so let’s hope he sees his young Earl again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Claremary P. Sweeney November 1, 2015 / 1:52 am

    The froward kitten is much like Roxie in miniature. I loved the description of the cats striking their tales in time to the verse and the photo of the cat waiting to get his wits back. Gib seems to be adjusting very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi November 1, 2015 / 2:10 am

      Gib’s a survivor, no two ways about it. And I suspect Roxie’s too sophisticated to be frightened by threats of the Man-Bull!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Timi Townsend March 9, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    Oh dear–not italianate cats! Anything but that! Poor Gib–and I’m afraid I must leave him here for the nonce, for it gets very late here in the middle of the New World. So late that it is early, indeed. I hope to catch Gib up when next I enter this magickal Realm.

    Liked by 1 person

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