The Story Girl
The Bewitchment Of Pat
We were all in the doleful dumps--at least, all we "young fry" were, and even the grown-
ups were sorry and condescended to take an interest in our troubles. Pat, our own, dear,
frolicsome Paddy, was sick again--very, very sick.
On Friday he moped and refused his saucer of new milk at milking time. The next
morning he stretched himself down on the platform by Uncle Roger's back door, laid his
head on his black paws, and refused to take any notice of anything or anybody. In vain
we stroked and entreated and brought him tidbits. Only when the Story Girl caressed him
did he give one plaintive little mew, as if to ask piteously why she could not do
something for him. At that Cecily and Felicity and Sara Ray all began crying, and we
boys felt choky. Indeed, I caught Peter behind Aunt Olivia's dairy later in the day, and if
ever a boy had been crying I vow that boy was Peter. Nor did he deny it when I taxed him
with it, but he would not give in that he was crying about Paddy. Nonsense!
"What were you crying for, then?" I said.
"I'm crying because--because my Aunt Jane is dead," said Peter defiantly.
"But your Aunt Jane died two years ago," I said skeptically.
"Well, ain't that all the more reason for crying?" retorted Peter. "I've had to do without
her for two years, and that's worse than if it had just been a few days."
"I believe you were crying because Pat is so sick," I said firmly.
"As if I'd cry about a cat!" scoffed Peter. And he marched off whistling.
Of course we had tried the lard and powder treatment again, smearing Pat's paws and
sides liberally. But to our dismay, Pat made no effort to lick it off.
"I tell you he's a mighty sick cat," said Peter darkly. "When a cat don't care what he looks
like he's pretty far gone."
"If we only knew what was the matter with him we might do something," sobbed the
Story Girl, stroking her poor pet's unresponsive head.
"I could tell you what's the matter with him, but you'd only laugh at me," said Peter.
We all looked at him.
"Peter Craig, what do you mean?" asked Felicity.