MM N 656. The Cat. A short story

The Cat. A short story.

MM N 656, p. 1

The Cat

    It was given to me by a Friend – and brought to
my Studio in a Basket –
It was white and comely and I
thought we will become good Friends –
– It soon became apparent that it was shy
– it concealed itself behind the Paintings
and leaped away at the least
hasty Movement – During the course
of the Day it became friendlier
and I managed to Calm it down by
petting it – It even lay in
the Sunlight and purred –

    The following Day it had left
its Business on the Floor –

    I managed to catch it and as is
the custom I pushed its Snout close to
the Droppings – and gave it a Rap

    It leaped away like a wild
Animal in Fear –

MM N 656, p. 2

    It became shy once more and I had to
ingratiate myself with it –
I placed a Saucer of Sand where
it had left its business – and waited –
In the meantime I spoke coaxingly to
it and said we will soon be Friends –
The Day passed without Accident and
the next Morning dawned – it had
left [its business] right beside the Saucer –
I caught it once again and said
to it listen we could be
such good Friends but not this way
– then I placed its Snout down
onto its Droppings and then showed it the Saucer
– it immediately leapt away
and settled behind a canvas and did
not emerge [again] that Day –

    Spring erupted in Paris – The Chestnut Trees
sprouted large Candles above the
palm-like Leaves which spread

MM N 656, p. 3

their Fans Lavishly above the
moist steaming Earth and Women
and Men strolled Arm in Arm
Arm in Arm intoxicated with Spring like
the Chestnut leaves –

    I sat in my Studio and the Sun
cast its Rays into the
overheated Studio – [just] me and the Cat that slept
so peacefully in the Sunlight
– and there was a certain feeling of Cosiness –
There had been no Accident that Day –
and suddenly my Thoughts wander-
ed – I was in a little
Boat drifting down a
River without Oars and without a rudder –
I lay at the Bottom of the Boat
and allowed the Current to carry me
– There was a Time when I steered

MM N 656, p. 4

    I patted the purring Cat and there was
a certain feeling of Cosiness – I went to my little
Restaurant –

    The next day the Saucer was surrounded by the Cat’s
Droppings in a Ring not in the Saucer –

    I heard the cat howling under a Canvas so
it knew what was coming – and I thought
shall I let it go kill it or keep it and
punish it – I shuddered at the Thought of killing it
and decided to punish it once more    took it by the neck
and aimed its Snout towards the Filth and gave it a proper Rap
I even felt and observed in myself a certain Pleasure in meting out
the Punishment – In wild Fear the Cat dashed into the
furthest Corner and it leapt away as soon as I approached

MM N 656, p. 5

    For a few Days I surrendered
unconditionally and had the Droppings
removed –

    One Evening I gave a Party
Ladies and Gentlemen encamped on
Rugs and Couches on the Floor of the Studio
– everyone [suddenly] cries out   a little White
Cloud darts above their Heads it
was the Cat who in Fear dashed
past the Company – it was not seen
again that Evening –

    The following Day two Men are working
on the Skylight –

    and I see the cat slowly approach
– and look up towards the Ceiling –

    Its gaze was anxiously inquisitive
– the Gaze of a Human Being – and I
became almost fearful of this intelligent
Gaze – Suddenly the Cat darts
in Panic from one Side of the Studio

MM N 656, p. 6

to the other and has once again
disappeared behind a Picture –
One Morning the Cat’s
Droppings were lying on the Floor
and on a Painting
– and I spoke to the Cat
You and we Commentary could get along
so nicely – if only You
did not do this – it is impossible
you understand – and I must kill You –
and I thought about how I
would carry it out –

    The Result was that I placed
it outside in the Garden –

    It was cold – and I heard
it cried repeatedly for Food –

    I fed it to Begin with –
One Evening when I return home

MM N 656, p. 7

the entire Flagstone is covered
with its Droppings –
so I stopped feeding it
and I heard it crying persistently –
– I tried to put it
in the Street but it cried so
miserably that I brought it in
again –

    These Cries were heart-rending
and the Neighbours thought I was
a cruel man –
Now and then it was given Food by
the Neighbours – Yet its Droppings
always lay in front of my Door –
So it must die I thought
– but I decided nevertheless
to give it to the Boy in the
Restaurant where I ate

MM N 656, p. 8

    – Listen here I said this Cat
has to go – get rid of it
Somewhere or other
– I gave the Boy a Franc and he left –

    The next Day I ate in
a new Restaurant – and had
roasted Hare – It tasted quite
good even though my Appetite was
not at its best –

    Suddenly I notice a familiar
Face – watching me –

    Who is it – the Boy from yesterday
but why – is he staring at me like
that and why am I staring at
him – the Roasted Hare [was] the Cat
– I could tell by his Eyes that I
had eaten the Cat