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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/602

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

through it, jumped to the nearest chair, from that to the sofa, the table, somebody's lap or shoulder, the mantel, the top of his cage, or the piano, and so made the circuit of the two parlors, without touching the carpet. After thus going the grand rounds, he generally jumped to the floor, and ran all about under the furniture. His sharp nose nearly touched the carpet, and his back (owing to the four inches difference in length between his fore and hind limbs) sloped up at an angle of forty-five degrees to the tail, which stood straight up like a banner over his back, the tip sometimes curling forward like a dog's, sometimes backward like a hook. During the whole performance he constantly uttered a contented single grunt like "woof!"

If any movement in the room startled him, he broke into a grotesque gallop, bringing his feet up closely beside his hands at every leap. This gallop, which was rapid and light, always ended in a sudden spring to somebody's lap, or a scramble to the top of a tall easel, where he looked around to see what had frightened him. But if not disturbed, when his tour of inspection was over he usually went to the open fire, placed himself, sometimes on the toe of a lady's slipper if it were conveniently near, sometimes on a little three-by-five-inch cushion on the arm of an easy-chair. Here he sat up like a cat with tail hanging out before him, or fell eagerly to dressing his peculiar woolly fur, which stood out all over his body, washing his face by licking the outside edge of his hand and rubbing it back and forth over his face, and wiping his mouth on a chair as a bird wipes its bill, first one side and then the other. Especially did he labor over his eighteen-inch-long tail, scraping up the fur till it stood out round and gave that member great apparent size. The tool with which he accomplished so much was his curious row of lower front teeth, which ended in points of almost needle sharpness, and projected at an angle that prevented their being used to bite, but made an effective scraper for the skin, or a comb for his own gray wool.

Warmed and dressed, the playful fellow began his evening's amusement. If the master's quiet game of cribbage was going on, he often began by marking his prey from his seat on the chair-arm, and without warning springing to the middle of the table, scattering cards like chaff, upsetting cribbage-board and sending the pegs flying, slapping cards out of the hands of the players, and biting needle-like holes in them.

To make a great commotion of any sort was his delight. Sitting peacefully on my lap, or lying flat upon his stomach, every limb stretched out, apparently the most innocent and harmless of pets, he would often quietly rise to his feet and, before I suspected him, snatch my book out of my hand or spring over it into my face. If I started at this rough salute, as I was tolerably sure to