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HOW PETER, THE PAGAN CAT, PROVED HIMSELF A HERO ALITTT.K farm, n garden walled about, an ancient orchard, a brook threaded pasture, n bit of wood land, a horse to carry you over conn , try roads, a cow nil red and, white, a dog to follow, afield and a cat to Sit /comfortably by the fireside— -if you pos sess these and have nut contentment, , you do not deserve it. In regard to the animals. T should like to insist less upon ownership than , upon comradeship. Any one can own • animals, and precious little ho will get out of It if he thlnkaonly of that side. As for me and my' animals, wo live on \u25a0 terms of equality, or, a.s nearly .mi as 'they will permit. My nearest 'and dearest arc '.Hector, •. nY horse ;'. Sport; my dog, v and Marty, . my own jtrize coi(,,yot I think that first place m the annals of Soii'ictsthorpo be-* longs to Peter. Yes. Peter is "only a rat," but he pre vented our. being burned alive, and he •\u25a0'• lost his eight lives in (hrllljrig circum .stanccs. before /foul murder was done, which removed him from the sphere of hl.s numerous adventures. ' • When Peter saved our lives T prom ised him that I : .would- save his If the opportunity \u25a0'' ever; came, my way. I kept / my word. 'but- In; the end I was not able to; avert fatal disaster. \u25a0 Ho rests In that great limbo of cats that have met violent deaths, nnd: for. his sake I take, off my hat to the whole race of white ' cats. 1 won't sa>v, "may their; tribe In crease." for it Is utterly unnecessary, >Yand.v besides, ,, Pet*jr ' was wise beyond: ..understanding. Not all -white cats are \u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0'\u25a0 in hls'c^lass. * , .- '"• ' . He came to us 'a wee fltfff- of white .fur, but already strange wisdom lay in his.wonderfuleye.s. We had. expected .him to be a barn cat and comfortable \u25a0quarters were provided for him in the best stable, but Peter would have none of i t. . Time and again he escaped and | .made for tho house with lloud protesta tions. Then -we. shut him up in- the granary jover the carriage house, but • Peter, crawled out ofan upper-door, to : a pulley, and there suspended ciMed out vlolentlyjagrainst his environment. . - , Fearingihe: would be dashed to the ; ground, and not; yet knowing his per tinacity.in clinging to life, welrescued , him and, In/pity. ;let him I takenip the \u25a0. place in the house which he demanded as his right. Thereafter he always had his way at ; Somersthorpe, and we do not regret It." ' His way" was '• notr*tliat of the ordl- > nary, cat.- ; He. despised milk. , CoJd ' ,' boilod potatoes, Jie let it be known,., was ': his favored diet. These ho wanted ; frequently- and' In -abundant quantity. - The cook remonstrated at -times,, but in the end she always. gave in. "Shu re, I was savin" thim pertaties \u25a0 fer' fryin' in the. mprnin'," . she would object when' Peter walked to the ice-/ ;' box and meowed imperatively for cold \u25a0'\u25a0/.'\u25a0 potatoes.*' '\u25a0\u25a0'.'•;;\u25a0•.•. .;-,.':.'\u25a0. ,.-'v: : . \u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0 ; -7 ;.'\u25a0.-. }....; /». \u25a0".::'\u25a0\u25a0 lira cjkts thism .'.'\u25a0,/.'.\u25a0/-\u25a0:. "Meow,, meow, ; meow!" .Peter: would reply," and ;< threaten to say more. 1 "Well, thin, take /em an" begone wid ;yes.y i: niver saw? sich 'a;cat!" > v , . -Sometimes .there? were no cold, pota toes ;;. left over from ." a meal.' Wou Id :iPeter.'do!;.wltliout potatoes then or 'be put off ; with something-else? Not at '.; all. '. Potatoes had to bo, cooked for ' hlnv Peter -descending- • to the cellar . . .and watching; the [complain ing cook as she selected smaH i *Murphys" and go- Ing back with her to the kitchen-, where \u25a0 . > : he .watched \thPm' being washed, pared; :»nd put,on the stove. \u25a0.•\u25a0;He sat by, with - sage;. content while they were boiling,, . ;.-\u25a0; and -afterward, when they lay in the^ -air.' cooling ; to; the proper, temperature . , he constantly kept his eyes on them. The -minute'' they were ready to be t.eaten' lie knew At and. Insisted upon /having them instantly. - - , There* was no putting him off. Kvery member of the family tried it at- one \u25a0\u25a0' • tlmo/.'or. another," and 'the most per , sistent failed. ' Peter was a- masterful cat. . Having gained the range of the house , ho roamed it at will and was not to be dislodged from, any position he saw Ht to choose, Kcira tlmc,|ie elected to Bleep on my bed. , 1 would not* have objected, > but' I did think X .hard that he would not permit me to turn over . or to change my position,. Maybe. you think I could have dono It In 'epite of, his objections. Little you /know of the determined character of (.Peter, 110 'would, claw and sometimes! me, never bad enough to be dan . goroua, but! quite severely enough to make rue obedient to hl« desires v If r tlwow him off the bed he would spring back with increased savagencas. If ,1 \u25a0 put him outside my door and locked It, i he made the night too hideous for (sleep. There was a time when he had a '. fancy for sleeping on my clothes, springing upon them while they were yet warm from my body, and woe to me If i touched him or tried to drive him off. Knowing his Idiosyncrasies, I pre ferred that he should choose my room ; to any other, since those who did not know how to deal with him invurlubly got into trouble. He had a predilection for the guest room for tome weeks. This was hard upon our 'guests. Homo of them objected to having Peter on the iHK SAN FRANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, DHCKMHER 18, 1910.-THK JUNIOR CALL? Peter Began to Gcton the Rampage bed, but they had to put up wlth.it", as they discovered. .-".-'\u25a0'\u25a0'" One girl who visited the house had. a violent antipathy to cats. Peter in variably found hia way to her, wherever she might be. and, sitting close by, would fasten *hi 3 compelling, eyes upon her to "her Unutterable anguish. KOSINtiHIS IJVKS ft is too long, a story to relate how "Pete/ lost all of his lives. ' From the story of two or three the others may be" Inferred. --'..One, day he came home •with a hole through one, of. his -hind legs. The bone , was shattered, and Peter grew very wan during; the long days of pain : that, followed. 'He gave himself -heroic treatment, however, pulling vouty the hair from around the wound and caring for -it constantly. Cold potatoes lost their charm and Peter lost his vim and beauty: Several times we considered the mercifulness. of shooting him, -but none of the family would /undertake the* job.; /The hired man tried it, bu4 Peter, ran with in credible; swiftness on his. three ;legs. under the corn ..crib, before the , man could take accurate aim, and remained there; until assured 'of safety. " It was •months before he recovered from his wound and was. restored to .normal health/ '\u25a0> Meanwhile we all suffered with him.- .. ' \u25a0' \u25a0\u25a0\u0084•:\u25a0\u25a0:... \u25a0-V . ' ::\u25a0'\u25a0• \u25a0 ' \u25a0"'\u25a0 / : '\u25a0• '\u25a0•\u25a0'.\u25a0 Peters next misadventure resulted •In": a' crushed front paw. He was fond of . hunting >. in the meadow for .field mice; and unwarily \u25a0 caught? his paw in a steel trap for muskrats , set by boys by the brookside. Here he was held ' a prisoner for . three • days. At He Is Getting Chickens Away from Horns the end of that time he < managed to extricate himself, and when we came home from a, drive we found him. Bit tins on ft favorite chair with a paw that looked as if it wore a boxing glove. No treatment was needed?' how ever. Peter was his own surgeon. There could have been no better. . Poiton was the next thing that'camo near being his undoing. Peter had taken up ratting as a pastime, and the b|gger«the rat the more determined ho was .to, attack him. The giant of tho place came into view one day, and Pett?r pounced upon him. He was sur prised to find htm such an easy con quest. Alas, It came near being a fatal one. The rat had partaken of poison, and Peter, partaking of the rat, be came a very miserable and grewsome looking object. Ills face took on the must awful gray and purple hues that any white cat's had ever worn, and he crawled under a shed, apparently to die. With difticulty he was lured from his refuge and induced to drink a lit tle warm milk. This started him to ward recovery and In time he was ready for cold potatoes again. It was on a bitter winter's night that he 1 rendered the service that %\u25a0\u25a0,-. - - • \u25a0 . \u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0-.\u25a0,.-. . would \ have won for him a Carnegie medal were they ever ;bestowed upon cats. The wind was blowing at tei ritic speed, inspiring us with the dread of fire that raging winds In the coun try always "do. We talked it over be fore we went, to bed. Soon after mid night, when we were in our first heavy .sleep, Peter began to/get on the ram page. "-I, was lying quiet at the time and absolutely giving him no occasion for /complaint, but he walked up and down my body, with discordant cries, jumped down" to the floor, ran to the liall and back again, makings hideous j "noise.; all the while. Nothing that I threw at him in' the; way of language, boots or pillows ' had, any effect in silencing him. ./',: THK PJRK PF.UII, , '.->. "If I get up I'll'throw you out where you can't 'get back!' I threatened. / 1 ' "Meow-ow-ow!" replied Pete:.' _ ' ' I got up to make my threat good, but as I "reached the hall levied out in alarm; "The house is afire!'.', and dashed down stairs.* I had caught sight of the hired man's room 'in, an L of -the house through the hall window and-had' seen \u25a0-, it aglow with a dull, angry red flame. Rushing through the .kitchen I snatched' a pail of water and hurried up "the ' back stairs to "'. Henry's room. The smoke was so. dense ,that I had to stoop to see the source of the fire,' but I dashed the water on the spot that 'it seemed to "come from,' and, getting the stupefied man from his bed, thrust his head out of the window, while. I ranbelow for' more water. .1 was just in . time to save Henry, '\u25a0\u25a0 and -perhaps all of . iis, from" death, §nd the entire, prop erty" from / destruction; Ten minutes more and my utmost efforts would have been vain. 'Peter/was our savior. \u25a0' We promised, him, in the first flush Of our gratitude, all the. potatoes he could )eat ; into a' comfortable old* age. Good old Peter! .1 experimented' with Incubators and'; brooders the. following spring and Peter took a keen interest in my enterprise. I'm not sure but that he thought chicken was included- in the blanket amnesty we had given him when ho saved our • lives and property from de struction by fire. . , Having tested the earliest and daintiest spring-chickens, he developed a greedy penchant for them that deci mated my little brood appallingly. When I came home one day and found 20 fewer than I. had left in the morning I foresaw annlhiliatlon of my baby Leghorns. Peter's cunning In the, chicken raids was in keeping with his character. I had not suspected , him in connection with the missing chickens until one day when I inadvertently found him near the brooder and saw him scamper In guilty haate from the place. Now how did Peter know that it was wrong for him to be catching chickens? Up to that time he had not been punished nor. even chlded for it. Yet hia whole attitude and his conduct were those of a guilty cat. When. I next looked for him, after missing more chickens, I did not find him where he had been before. Hut, on walking around to the other side., of the brooder, there he was in the tall grass, and, as before, he lied with all the speed of guilt. Whenever I searched for him after that I would discover him in Home new position in the vicinity of the brooder, and as soon as he saw that he was de tected he would leap madly away, one«» 1 saw him before' the brooder was opened in* the morning hiding behind a tree and watting for the downy chicks which had been shut up for the night to bo lot out. I boat hlmi Shook him and imprisoned him, but my continued steadily to decrease In num ll i I* • Thx'fe was no help for It, wo decided: Peter hud to b*» shot. FlUt who woulu Shoot him? There was the rub. A neighbor who was handy with a gun agreed to do the deed. Although 1 rcc bgtii*ed tho painful necessity of It, I hated him for the reatUnos.s with which lie complied with my request to come over and put, Peter to <leath. The hour for tho execution drew near. Peter was tho only one of the famfly that seemed unconcerned, lie nlonc' ate luncheon that day with rel ish. Tho neighbor with the gun waited for him to be brought out of doors. Meanwhile Peter washed bin face, tucked his paws under hl.s body, made a square cat of himself and went con fidently to sleep. j "How innocent he looks!" said one member of tho family. . "How cute he was when he used to do skirt dances up and down the porch!" exclaimed another reminis ccntly. "And how lie wouldn't let Janet Stu art go' to bed when she stayed all night, and she had to sleep .In a big chair!" another giggled, hysterically. "And how he saved all our lives!" "Peter; you sha'n't bo shot; we will give you another chance for your life," we decided. ' • >\u25a0- \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0 \u25a0 i Whether Peter knew that -his life hung by a -thread and was fearful; whether lie appreciated our clemency, or whether* the beatings and confine ments had taken effect, whatever the .cause,* he. gave over killing our chick ens. \, ./'\u25a0 /- ' . '.: ,\u25a0 '- v;. But we were seized with another sus picion. : Every day after absenting himself for a considerable time he would return with a smug, well fed air and would sleep heavily without ask ing for a potato 1 or for any other food. "He is getting chickens away from home," I confessed to myself, and I feared that' they were the chickens be longing to my neighbor, who had been willing to inflict the death penalty upoTi Peter. - One day I heard that neighbor shoot once, then three times in quick succes sion. "It's the end of Peter." I sighed, one-third relieved and t ». j-thirds sor rowful! • '• ':•' "*' . ' That evening Peter did not come home, nor the next, nor the next, nor ever after. ; '"^ / ' How I did missthat cat! .Tlje.neigh bor/ was justified. I assured 'myself, and it: was. better that chicken, eating Peter should have been put out of the way . in spi to of me (than that I should have had ;to be; a "party to the miserable business/and yet to have Peter back I'd willingly ..' giveall> the chickens I had to - r eplace those that Peter had 9 killed. . I could have better spared a better cat. ' A month later the wife of the neigh bor at- whose door I laid Peter's death 'said, apropos of nothing: "Wilbur says he never saw Peter. He doesn't think he ever came over to our house after chickens." * \ "Why, I never accused" — —I stopped. UTS MYSTERY SOLVED / "Well, I know that you thought that he shot Peter, and I did, too. I never . dared to ask him, but today he told me that he didn't know that Peter was '"dead.".- - ; ; // ;V .;\u25a0' '\u25a0\u25a0'.\u25a0.. \u25a0 \u25a0 • ,"\u25a0.' ' I was glad to know that Wilbur Short had not shot Peter. I felt a glow of friendliness for him such as I had not experienced since Peter left us. . But .where was Poter? If Short had not shot him, why hadn't he come home? Peter was attached his home and r would never have stayed away, voluntarily all that time. • ' Some one had shot, Peter or some other ill had befallen him. I. walked over to call on the neighbor who lived on the other side of me from Wilbur Short. He had a.flne lot of 'chickens, but he told me that he.would have had . more had rt not been for a tramp cat. "What kind of a cat?" I asked, but I knew before he replied: "Oh, It was a white cat that I had seen prowling around here before. I. guess he came up from the village. He won't eat any more chickens." The neighbor chuckled. He did not know it was my cat, and he was un nc"?iuainted with Peter, but I thought him a brute. ; "He got about forty of my costly Houduris before I caught him," he added. • , J .'.*•'; "Did he?" I smiled. <"He was ! a mighty hunter!" Peter left a son. The wisdom of his sire does not gleam from Junior's eyes. He is not such a dominating character. But I should not be surprised if he Inherited the chicken eating tendency of his father. I am therefore giving him to a friend whose neighbor's chickens plaguo her greatly, and I think there will be an end of those chickens — or of the cat. As for Peter, we shall not look upon his like again. There are other cats at Homersthorpe, some of them hand-, some and some of them distinguished ratters, but none has supplanted Peter's memory in our affections. Peter waa a pagan, 1 admit, but he made up for the lack uf Christian vir tue by ix fine valor and a raHneas that added to the interest of lift* at .Somera thorpe.