better--Holy, jumping Pharaoh! what a husky pussy!" As he spoke a big
black cat, with blinking, tawny eyes, sprang from the floor and curled
itself up on the youth's desk. "Where'd that----"
A snarl interrupted the question; for the temptation to pull the cat's
tail had proved too strong for the boy. Bowed over his desk in a fit of
laughter at the result, he did not see the door behind him open, but
Simpkins did. And he saw Mrs. Athelstone, her eyes blazing, spring into
the room, seize the youth by the collar and shake him roughly.
"You nasty little brute!" she cried. "How dared you do that to a----"
And then catching sight of Simpkins, she dropped the frightened boy back
into his chair.
"I can't stand cruelty to animals," she explained, panting a little from
her effort. "If anything of this sort happens again, I'll discharge you
on the spot," she added to the boy.
"Shame!" Simpkins echoed warmly. "Didn't know what was up or I'd have
"I'm sure of it," she answered graciously, and, stooping, she picked up
the now purring cat and left the room.
Simpkins followed her back to his desk and went on with his addressing,
but he had something worth thinking about now. Not for nothing had he
been educated in that newspaper school which puts two and two together
and makes six.