Black, White and Gray

Amy Catherine Walton
Black, White and Gray, by Amy

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Title: Black, White and Gray A Story of Three Homes
Author: Amy Walton
Illustrator: Robert Barnes
Release Date: October 20, 2007 [EBook #23130]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Black, White and Grey; a Story of Three Homes, by Amy Walton.

"It's as black as ink," said Dennis, lifting one of the kittens out of its
warm bed in the hay; "there's not a single white hair upon it."
"Madam's never had a quite black one before, has she?" said his sister
Maisie, who knelt beside him, before the cat and her family.
It was a snug and cosy home Madam had chosen for her children, in a
dark corner of the hayloft, where she had hollowed out a sort of nest in
the side of a truss of hay. Here she might well have fancied herself
quite secure from discovery, for it was so dim and shadowy in the loft
that it needed sharp eyes to see anything but hay and straw.
She had forgotten, however, that it was one of Dennis and Maisie's
favourite play-rooms when it was too wet to be out-of-doors, and it
turned out that in the midst of their games to-day, they had caught sight
of her white coat in her dusky retreat. Though she would rather not
have been found, Madam took the discovery calmly, and made no
difficulty, even when Dennis softly put in his hand and drew out the
black kitten. She knew the children well, and was quite sure they would
do no harm, so she lay lazily blinking her green eyes, and even purred
gently with pleasure to hear her kitten admired.
It was such a very nice kitten. Not only because of its dense blackness,
but its coat was as glossy and thick as that of a little mole, and its shape
unusually stumpy and attractive.
"Isn't it a beauty?" said Dennis, in a delighted whisper; "we must keep
"We haven't looked at the others yet," said Maisie cautiously; "don't
let's settle so soon."
The black kitten was accordingly given back to Madam, who at once
licked it all over from top to toe, and the others brought out one by one.
There was a perfectly white one, much smaller than the first, and the
other was a commonplace striped grey.

"I don't care about either," said Dennis; "they're just like lots and lots of
other kittens, and they grow up like lots and lots of other cats. Now the
black's uncommon."
"I can't bear settling which is to be drowned," sighed Maisie. "I suppose
we may really only keep one."
"You're a ninny," said Dennis shortly.
In reality he did not like to doom the kittens any better than his sister,
but he would have thought it womanly to show his feelings.
"I call it unfair," continued Maisie, stroking the white and grey kittens
with her little brown hand, "to drown them just because they're not
pretty. It's not as if they were bad."
"But you know we mustn't keep them all," said Dennis impatiently; "so
what's the good of going on like that? We must choose, and the black's
the best, isn't it?"
"Well, then," said Maisie reluctantly, "I think we ought to cast lots, so
as to give them each a chance."
This appealed to Dennis's sense of justice, and was besides the usual
way of settling differences between his sister and himself. He pulled
out three pieces of hay of different lengths, and holding them tightly
shut in his hand, with the ends sticking out in an even row, said shortly,
"You choose."
"Which is which?" asked Maisie, her face getting pink with excitement.
"The longest's the black, the middling's the white, and the shortest's the
grey," said Dennis, with the calmness of fate.
Maisie gazed at the little yellow ends of hay sticking out between her
brother's stout red fingers, almost with terror. The old cat, with one paw
thrown languidly over the black kitten, watched the proceedings

"I'll have this one!" exclaimed Maisie desperately, tugging at the
middle piece.
"Hurrah!" cried Dennis, as he opened his hand, and he threw up his cap
exultingly; for it was the black kitten that was to live.
"I'm just as sorry as I was before about
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