MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 113
' In other words, an orphan — a foundling, sir.'
'Poor little beast!'
' I felt sure that would interest you, sir.'
' And where did you find it, Madame Lamarque? '
'In the cellar—I heard a little cry — miaow, miaow, miaow ! and I said to myself, " That must be a cat! " '
' No ! did you actually say that ?'
' Yes, and I went down myself, sir, and found the poor little thing behind the sticks. Then I recollected how you had once said, '' We ought to have a cat in the house.'"
'Did I say so? I think you are making a mistake, Madame Lamarque.'
' Indeed, sir, you did say so. Then I said to myself, " Providence has sent us the cat which my master wishes for." And now there is one question I must ask you, sir. What shall we call the cat ?'
' We will call it Mysouff, if you have no objection. And please be careful, Madame Lamarque, that it does not eat my quails and turtle-doves, or any of my little foreign birds.'
' If M. Dumas is afraid of that,' said Michel, coming in, ' there is a method of preventing cats from eating birds.'
'And what is the method, my good friend?'
' You have a bird in a cage. Very well. You cover three sides of the cage, you make a gridiron red-hot, you put it against the uncovered side of the cage, you let out the cat, and you leave the room. The cat, when it makes its spring, jumps against the hot gridiron. The hotter the gridiron is the better the cat is afterwards.'
' Thank you, Michel. And what of the troubadour and his monkey ?'
' To be sure; I was coming to tell you about that. It is all right, sir; you are to have Potich for forty francs, only you must give the boy two white mice and a guinea-pig in return.'