Mimine woke me up this morning at 4.30 . She jumped out of the first floor window, like every morning, to go hunting. At 7am she scratched at the door on the ground floor, like every morning, just when I sit at the large table in front of my breakfast coffee, then came to deposit at my feet an enormous, blood-stained mole which I managed to push onto the dustpan and cause to disappear, before she begins to ask herself further questions. I did feel that Mimine observed me with a smile a bit like that of the Cheshire cat, although Mimine understands the language of Schiller better than that of Lewis Carroll, for before taking up residence in our living-quarters, she stayed with a German family who gave her lodgings without board, which caused her to feed herself and also a half-brother,
a little retarded, but all the more famished.
“Wollen Sie eine kleine Tasse Milch?” I had politely ventured to ask Mimine one day, after she had just been round the kitchen with its coarsely tiled floor, her taste-buds, it seemed to me, moving. She had acquiesced, and at this precise moment I became the child of Mimine ...
How great, then, my stupefaction when, in an old English magazine, I came across this letter addressed to the Prime Minister (whose wife makes no secret of her quite imperfect feelings towards pussycats) by the faithful reader - on - duty:
“Before putting a lead ingot into the head of this lamentable creature who insists on depositing on my doorstep thrushes, blackbirds, baby frogs or bloodied ducklings among others, properly killed, may I ask you whether some infallible remedy does not exist, applicable to such feline felons? By the way, is this not added and striking evidence of civilized man’s stupidity, this universal idolatry with regard to this quintessence of ingratitude, laziness, deceit, cruelty, indifference, duplicity, treachery, rapacity, sly behaviour and over-proliferation : I have named, of course, our daily cat. How about instituting a National Week of the Cat, in order to halve the numbers of these teeming hordes which infest our Island, initiative bound to contribute much towards substantial savings in milk, if not simply towards the preservation of the quality of our sleep?”
The letter, signed Darling, carried the postmark of St-Martin d’Oydes (somewhere in Occitania).
Mimine, now settled down on a corner of the varnished oak table made by Bob, the Australian farmer, with her green eyes doubtfully crosses my look, no less green, but embarrassed.
Claude d’Esplas (Le Parcellaire)
Translation : Dagmar Coward Kuschke (Tübingen)