Further Chronicles of Avonlea
I. Aunt Cynthia's Persian Cat
Max always blesses the animal when it is referred to; and I don't deny that things have
worked together for good after all. But when I think of the anguish of mind which Ismay
and I underwent on account of that abominable cat, it is not a blessing that arises
uppermost in my thoughts.
I never was fond of cats, although I admit they are well enough in their place, and I can
worry along comfortably with a nice, matronly old tabby who can take care of herself
and be of some use in the world. As for Ismay, she hates cats and always did.
But Aunt Cynthia, who adored them, never could bring herself to understand that any
one could possibly dislike them. She firmly believed that Ismay and I really liked cats
deep down in our hearts, but that, owing to some perverse twist in our moral natures,
we would not own up to it, but willfully persisted in declaring we didn't.
Of all cats I loathed that white Persian cat of Aunt Cynthia's. And, indeed, as we always
suspected and finally proved, Aunt herself looked upon the creature with more pride
than affection. She would have taken ten times the comfort in a good, common puss
that she did in that spoiled beauty. But a Persian cat with a recorded pedigree and a
market value of one hundred dollars tickled Aunt Cynthia's pride of possession to such
an extent that she deluded herself into believing that the animal was really the apple of
It had been presented to her when a kitten by a missionary nephew who had brought it
all the way home from Persia; and for the next three years Aunt Cynthia's household
existed to wait on that cat, hand and foot. It was snow-white, with a bluish-gray spot on
the tip of its tail; and it was blue-eyed and deaf and delicate. Aunt Cynthia was always
worrying lest it should take cold and die. Ismay and I used to wish that it would--we
were so tired of hearing about it and its whims. But we did not say so to Aunt Cynthia.
She would probably never have spoken to us again and there was no wisdom in
offending Aunt Cynthia. When you have an unencumbered aunt, with a fat bank
account, it is just as well to keep on good terms with her, if you can. Besides, we really
liked Aunt Cynthia very much--at times. Aunt Cynthia was one of those rather
exasperating people who nag at and find fault with you until you think you are justified in
hating them, and who then turn round and do something so really nice and kind for you
that you feel as if you were compelled to love them dutifully instead.
So we listened meekly when she discoursed on Fatima--the cat's name was Fatima--
and, if it was wicked of us to wish for the latter's decease, we were well punished for it