To Emily at Her Own Home, from the Cat by Anna Maria (Annie) Keary

Dear Emily, your letter came
Directed right to me,
And when John took it at the door,
A puzzled man was he—

“A letter for the Cat!—why, such
A thing was never heard!”
Then Jane came out and looked, and long
The two together purred.

I do not think they were quite pleased
Such honour should be done
To me—for Jane laughed loud and said,
“It’s just Miss Emmie’s fun;

“I’ll take it to her Grandmama,”
And then—though right before
Her feet I stood—she hurried on,
And shut the parlour door

Right in my face—I could have scratched
And torn the parlour mat,
Only that would have been too like
A common, vulgar cat,

Which I am not—as well you know.
I waited patiently,
And soon I heard dear Grandmama
Calling aloud for me.

“Open the door for Puss,” said she;
I sprang upon her knee;
Then, quite out loud, she kindly read
Your lovely note to me.

And all the while I purred and purred,
Or softly said, “Mew, mew”;
With grown‐up people in the room
’Twas all that I could do

To show how, at each friendly word,
My cat’s heart swelled with pride;
And yet some sadness came therewith,
The news that you had cried.

I did not cry—in Cat‐dom we
Don’t think it etiquette
To wash our faces when we grieve,
And make our whiskers wet.

Yet none the less I truly shared
The sadness of the house;
I think ’twas a whole week before
I’d heart to catch a mouse.

I even thought the cream was sour,
I lost my appetite,
I caterwauled upon the roof
So dismally at night

That spiteful neighbour Green sent in
(He’s a low taste for dogs)—
And begged that Grandmama would put
My feet in walnut clogs!

I grew morose, I spat at John,
Put up my back at Jane,
But your kind letter makes me feel
A happy cat again.

When you come back in Spring, I’ll learn
To count my paws, and you
Perhaps might condescend to try
A few things I can do.

Your way of climbing up a wall
Strikes me as not—the thing,
And though you’re nimble, you might take
A lesson how to spring.

What’s more, if you are not above
Hearing a cat’s advice,
In time you might be brought to feel
More justly about mice.

You’ve hurt my feelings now and then,
But I forgive you that—
So—count among your warmest friends
Your Grandmama’s

Grey Cat.

From: Keary, Maud, Enchanted Tulips and Other Verses for Children, 1914, Macmillan and Co: London, pp. 52-55.

Date: c1865

By: Anna Maria (Annie) Keary (1825-1879)


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