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The Philanthropist And The Happy Cat
JOCANTHA BESSBURY was in the mood to be serenely and graciously happy. Her
world was a pleasant place, and it was wearing one of its pleasantest aspects. Gregory
had managed to get home for a hurried lunch and a smoke afterwards in the little
snuggery; the lunch had been a good one, and there was just time to do justice to the
coffee and cigarettes. Both were excellent in their way, and Gregory was, in his way, an
excellent husband. Jocantha rather suspected herself of making him a very charming
wife, and more than suspected herself of having a first-rate dressmaker.
"I don't suppose a more thoroughly contented personality is to be found in all Chelsea,"
observed Jocantha in allusion to herself; "except perhaps Attab," she continued, glancing
towards the large tabby-marked cat that lay in considerable ease in a corner of the divan.
"He lies there, purring and dreaming, shifting his limbs now and then in an ecstasy of
cushioned comfort. He seems the incarnation of everything soft and silky and velvety,
without a sharp edge in his composition, a dreamer whose philosophy is sleep and let
sleep; and then, as evening draws on, he goes out into the garden with a red glint in his
eyes and slays a drowsy sparrow."
"As every pair of sparrows hatches out ten or more young ones in the year, while their
food supply remains stationary, it is just as well that the Attabs of the community should
have that idea of how to pass an amusing afternoon," said Gregory. Having delivered
himself of this sage comment he lit another cigarette, bade Jocantha a playfully
affectionate good-bye, and departed into the outer world.
"Remember, dinner's a wee bit earlier to-night, as we're going to the Haymarket," she
called after him.
Left to herself, Jocantha continued the process of looking at her life with placid,
introspective eyes. If she had not everything she wanted in this world, at least she was
very well pleased with what she had got. She was very well pleased, for instance, with
the snuggery, which contrived somehow to be cosy and dainty and expensive all at once.
The porcelain was rare and beautiful, the Chinese enamels took on wonderful tints in the
firelight, the rugs and hangings led the eye through sumptuous harmonies of colouring. It
was a room in which one might have suitably entertained an ambassador or an
archbishop, but it was also a room in which one could cut out pictures for a scrap-book
without feeling that one was scandalising the deities of the place with one's litter. And as
with the snuggery, so with the rest of the house, and as with the house, so with the other
departments of Jocantha's life; she really had good reason for being one of the most
contented women in Chelsea.