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The Golden Road

XXIX. We Lose A Friend
Our beautiful October was marred by one day of black tragedy--the day Paddy
died. For Paddy, after seven years of as happy a life as ever a cat lived, died
suddenly--of poison, as was supposed. Where he had wandered in the darkness
to meet his doom we did not know, but in the frosty dawnlight he dragged himself
home to die. We found him lying on the doorstep when we got up, and it did not
need Aunt Janet's curt announcement, or Uncle Blair's reluctant shake of the
head, to tell us that there was no chance of our pet recovering this time. We felt
that nothing could be done. Lard and sulphur on his paws would be of no use,
nor would any visit to Peg Bowen avail. We stood around in mournful silence; the
Story Girl sat down on the step and took poor Paddy upon her lap.
"I s'pose there's no use even in praying now," said Cecily desperately.
"It wouldn't do any harm to try," sobbed Felicity.
"You needn't waste your prayers," said Dan mournfully, "Pat is beyond human
aid. You can tell that by his eyes. Besides, I don't believe it was the praying cured
him last time."
"No, it was Peg Bowen," declared Peter, "but she couldn't have bewitched him
this time for she's been away for months, nobody knows where."
"If he could only TELL us where he feels the worst!" said Cecily piteously. "It's so
dreadful to see him suffering and not be able to do a single thing to help him!"
"I don't think he's suffering much now," I said comfortingly.
The Story Girl said nothing. She passed and repassed her long brown hand
gently over her pet's glossy fur. Pat lifted his head and essayed to creep a little
nearer to his beloved mistress. The Story Girl drew his limp body close in her
arms. There was a plaintive little mew--a long quiver--and Paddy's friendly soul
had fared forth to wherever it is that good cats go.
"Well, he's gone," said Dan, turning his back abruptly to us.
"It doesn't seem as if it can be true," sobbed Cecily. "This time yesterday morning
he was full of life."
"He drank two full saucers of cream," moaned Felicity, "and I saw him catch a
mouse in the evening. Maybe it was the last one he ever caught."
"He did for many a mouse in his day," said Peter, anxious to pay his tribute to the
departed.
"'He was a cat--take him for all in all. We shall not look upon his like again,'"
quoted Uncle Blair.
Felicity and Cecily and Sara Ray cried so much that Aunt Janet lost patience
completely and told them sharply that they would have something to cry for some
day--which did not seem to comfort them much. The Story Girl shed no tears,
though the look in her eyes hurt more than weeping.
 
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