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And thence unrolled in billowy fold
Profuse and bold-a silken torrent-
Well-turned, and trim, and plump, I warrant.
Oh, Quaker maid, were I more staid,
Or you a shade less archly pious;
Could chance uproot your Quaker bias,
From head to toe my frame I'd cover,
Might thus ascend—a convert lover.
Charles Graham Halpine.
ANY and ingenious are the remedies that have been
proposed for nocturnal cats, but none of them seem to have proved thoroughly successful. It was pointed out not very long ago that the extirpation of all fences which run in a direction parallel, or nearly parallel, with the Equator, would exempt cats from electrical difficulties in their internal organs, and would thus hush the cries that now render night hideous; but there is a practical difficulty in dispensing with these fences. Another remedy, which is a certain cure for nocturnal cats, is suggested by the fact that cats cannot live at a greater elevation than 13,000 feet above the sea. If we build our back fences 13,500 feet high, not a cat will scale their lofty summits; but the labour and expense of constructing fences of this height would be so great as to forbid their erections by persons with small incomes. Mere palliatives, such as bootjacks and lumps
of coal, never accomplished any lasting benefits; they may discourage an occasional cat, but his place will instantly be filled. With all their habitual caution, cats are bold, and will often rush in where an average angel would fear to tread. To deal effectually with them is a task which calls for the highest form of inventive genius, combined with patience and a reckless indifference to Mr. Bergh's opinions.
The young man in West Thirty-fifth Street who lately introduced cat-fishing as a manly and beneficent sport, can scarcely be said to have devised an absolute specific for cats, but he has unquestionably contributed to lessen the number of cats in his immediate vicinity. Early last fall a vast area of cats, accompanied with marked depression of the spirits of the inhabitants of West Thirty-fifth Street, overspread that unfortunate region. After a thorough trial of most of the popular remedies, a young man residing on the block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and who may be called—not necessarily for publication, but as a guarantee of good faith—by the name of Thompson, hit upon the idea of angling for cats. To the end of a strong blue-fish line he affixed a salmon hook, baited with delicate morsels of meat. At first this hook, deftly dropped from the back window, was permitted to lie on top of the back fence. The first cat that passed over the fence would investigate the bait, and finding it apparently free from fraud, would begin to eat it. A slight pull at the line would usually fix the hook in the cat's mouth, and the angler would haul in his prey and knock it on the head. It frequently happened, however, that the cat would not be successfully “struck," and would escape and warn his associates to beware of concealed hooks. Moreover, the angler had his bait gorged, upon one occasion, by a tramp, who had climbed the fence with a view to gaining access to the kitchen; and though the game was successfully landed in the second-storey back room, and, after being goffed with a sword-bayonet, he had so much difficulty in subsequently disposing of the body that he dreaded a repetition of the incident. He therefore altered his methods of angling, and adopted a modified style of fly-fishing.
This latter sport was carried on with the aid of a long bamboo fishing-pole. The hook was baited as before, but instead of being permitted to lie on the top of the fence, was suffered to dangle in the air, about two feet above it. As soon as a cat perceived the bait, he assumed with the intense self-conceit characteristic of his race, that it was a supernatural recognition of his extraordinary merits, and could be fearlessly appropriated. In order to seize it he was, of course, compelled to leap upwards, and it was very seldom that he failed to hook himself. By this plan, not only was the necessity of “striking” the cat obviated, but the danger that the bait would be seized by tramps was greatly lessened, while the excitement and interest of the sport were increased.
The young man became greatly fascinated with his new occupation, and having effected an arrangement with a popular French restaurant, was enabled to dispose of his game easily and profitably. On moonlight nights, when the late fall cats were in season, he often caught a string of from three to four dozen during a single night,-many of these weighing ten or fifteen pounds each. So few cats escaped after having once leaped at the bait, that no general suspicion of the deadly nature of apparently aerial meat was disseminated among the feline population of the neighbourhood. Before the winter was over cats had become so scarce that the sportsman was seriously contemplating the necessity of artificially stocking the back fences of Thirty-fifth Street, when an unfortunate accident brought his beneficent occupation to a sudden end. An old gentleman, residing in a house in Thirty-sixth Street, the backyard of which adjoined the fence where the young man practised his sport, noticed one evening that something attached to a string was dangling over his back fence. As he had a pretty daughter, he immediately suspected that it was a surreptitious note, and stole softly out to seize and confiscate it. Mounting on a barrel he clutched the supposed note, and was instantly hooked. The tackle was strong, and he would perhaps have been landed had
not the hook torn out when he was about forty feet from the ground. After he had recovered from his injuries caused by the fall, and the weakness consequent upon the amputation of his legs, he showed so much annoyance at the so-called outrage which had been inflicted upon him, that the young man, who was a person of most delicate feelings, promised to give up cat-fishing. Of course, had the old gentleman been thoroughly gaffed, he would not have fallen, and perhaps the young man felt that his failure to properly gaff him was an inexcusable error, which really called for his graceful retirement from cat-fishing
This example ought to bear fruit. At a very small expense for tackle, any resident of this city who occupies a back room can secure excellent sport, and at the same time can render a great service to humanity by reducing the number of cats. The sport ought speedily to become a very popular one, and there can be but little doubt that in time cat-fishing will rival trout-fishing in the estimation of American sportsmen.
W. L. Alden.
CAPTAIN STICK AND TONY.
gentleman and conscientiously just man. too, very methodical in his habits, one of which was to keep an account in writing of the conduct of his servants, from day to day. It was a sort of account-current, and he settled by it every Saturday afternoon. No one dreaded these hebdomadal balancings more than Tony, the boy of all-work, for the captain was generally obliged to write a receipt, for a considerable amount, across his shoulders.
One settling afternoon, the captain, accompanied by Tony, was seen “toddling” down to the old stable, with his little account book in one hand and a small rope in the other. After they had reached the “Bar of Justice," and Tony had been properly “strung up,” the captain proceeded to state his accounts as follows :