The Kitchen Cat, and other Tales

Amy Catherine Walton
Kitchen Cat, and other Tales, by
Amy Walton

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Title: The Kitchen Cat, and other Tales
Author: Amy Walton
Illustrator: Warwick Goble
Release Date: October 20, 2007 [EBook #23112]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

The Kitchen Cat, and other stories
by Amy Walton.

The whole house in London was dull and gloomy, its lofty rooms and
staircases were filled with a sort of misty twilight all day, and the sun
very seldom looked in at its windows. Ruth Lorimer thought, however,
that the very dullest room of all was the nursery, in which she had to
pass so much of her time. It was so high up that the people and carts
and horses in the street below looked like toys. She could not even see
these properly, because there were iron bars to prevent her from
stretching her head out too far, so that all she could do was to look
straight across to the row of tall houses opposite, or up at the sky
between the chimney-pots. How she longed for something different to
look at!
The houses always looked the same, and though the sky changed
sometimes, it was often of a dirty grey colour, and then Ruth gave a
little sigh and looked back from the window-seat where she was
kneeling, into the nursery, for something to amuse her. It was full of all
sorts of toys-- dolls, and dolls' houses elegantly furnished, pictures and
books and many pretty things; but in spite of all these she often found
nothing to please her, for what she wanted more than anything else was
a companion of her own age, and she had no brothers or sisters.
The dolls, however much she pretended, were never glad, or sorry, or
happy, or miserable--they could not answer her when she talked to
them, and their beautiful bright eyes had a hard unfeeling look which
became very tiring, for it never changed.
There was certainly Nurse Smith. She was alive and real enough; there
was no necessity to "pretend" anything about her. She was always there,
sitting upright and flat-backed beside her work-basket, frowning a little,
not because she was cross, but because she was rather near-sighted. She
had come when Ruth was quite a baby, after Mrs Lorimer's death, and
Aunt Clarkson often spoke of her as "a treasure." However that might
be, she was not an amusing companion; though she did her best to

answer all Ruth's questions, and was always careful of her comfort, and
particular about her being neatly dressed.
Perhaps it was not her fault that she did not understand games, and was
quite unable to act the part of any other character than her own. If she
did make the attempt, she failed so miserably that Ruth had to tell her
what to say, which made it so flat and uninteresting that she found it
better to play alone. But she often became weary of this; and there were
times when she was tired of her toys, and tired of Nurse Smith, and did
not know what in the world to do with herself.
Each day passed much in the same way. Ruth's governess came to
teach her for an hour every morning, and then after her early dinner
there was a walk with Nurse, generally in one direction. And after tea it
was time to go and see her father--quite a long journey, through the
silent house, down the long stairs to the dining-room where he sat alone
at his dessert.
Ruth could not remember her mother, and she saw so little of her father
that he seemed almost a stranger to her. He was so wonderfully busy,
and the world he lived in was such a great way off from hers in the
In the morning he hurried away just as she was at her breakfast, and all
she knew of him was the resounding slam of the hall door, which came
echoing up the staircase. Very often in the evening he came hastily into
the nursery to say good-bye on his way out to some dinner-party, and at
night she woke up to hear his step on the stairs as he came back late.
But when he dined at home Ruth always went downstairs to dessert.
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