Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
You see them in Marseilles, lounging near the fish-stalls in the morning, bathed in the low-tide odors of the Mediterranean catch. You see them in Mykonos, posing on whitewashed staircases at noon. You see them in Alexandria, hunched on a window-sill, looking at the tourists. In Paris, beside a flowerbox on the third floor, or sneaking down a back alley on some private assignation. In London, on a leash, or sipping water from a catch-basin. In Barcelona, scurrying across a deserted square at dawn. In Brussels, licking cream from a dish at the back door to a famous restaurant. You see them in New Orleans, in the French Quarter, peering out behind a rusted iron grill. Looking scrawny and forlorn in Bangkok, orphaned. Or pampered and fat in Amsterdam. But always alone, standing some way apart from the tabbies, marked out by their difference, independent, isolate, imperturbable. You see them in Pasadena, homebound and spoiled, by an old rich lady in furs. You see them on cottage roofs in the Cotswolds, hunting mice among the thatch. In Berlin, in the rain, huddled under a shrub. You see them in Rome, furtive and wily, suspicious of you. Walking along the river one day in Boston, one crosses your path, not looking back. They belong to no one, these black cats, they are incognito and ubiquitous, and though they may camp under your roof, and purr with a pleasure that is neither here nor there, they are wild, only pretending to be civilized. Born in captivity, or perhaps in a barn, in wet hay. Nurtured, or abandoned, they would fend for themselves, or find a mate. Or a caretaker. Loyal to no one. Selfish, unpredictable. Bland, passionate, lazy, enterprising. Lost; found. Curious; mysterious. Watching from the edge of a wood. Calculating the odds. Preening. Posing. Dreaming. From the dark side of the moon. Sleek. Elusive. Sly. Companionable. Clairvoyant. They are the black cats.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
by Beatrix Potter
Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names
They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a
very big fir-tree.
'Now my dears,' said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, 'you may go into
he fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden:
your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs.
McGregor.' 'Now run along, and don't get into mischief. I am going out.'
Then old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella, and went through
the wood to the baker's. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five
Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, who were good little bunnies, went
down the lane to gather blackberries:
But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor's
garden, and squeezed under the gate!
First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate
And then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.
But round the end of a cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr.
Mr. McGregor was on his hands and knees planting out young cabbages,
but he jumped up and ran after Peter, waving a rake and calling out,
Peter was most dreadfully frightened; he rushed all over the garden,
for he had forgotten the way back to the gate.
He lost one of his shoes among the cabbages, and the other shoe
amongst the potatoes.
After losing them, he ran on four legs and went faster, so that I
think he might have got away altogether if he had not unfortunately
run into a gooseberry net, and got caught by the large buttons on his
jacket. It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.
Peter gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were
overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great
excitement, and implored him to exert himself.
Mr. McGregor came up with a sieve, which he intended to pop upon the
top of Peter; but Peter wriggled out just in time, leaving his jacket
And rushed into the tool-shed, and jumped into a can. It would have
been a beautiful thing to hide in, if it had not had so much water in it.
Mr. McGregor was quite sure that Peter was somewhere in the
tool-shed, perhaps hidden underneath a flower-pot. He began to turn
them over carefully, looking under each.
Presently Peter sneezed--'Kertyschoo!' Mr. McGregor was after him in
And tried to put his foot upon Peter, who jumped out of a window,
upsetting three plants. The window was too small for Mr. McGregor, and
he was tired of running after Peter. He went back to his work.
Peter sat down to rest; he was out of breath and trembling with
fright, and he had not the least idea which way to go. Also he was
very damp with sitting in that can.
After a time he began to wander about, going lippity--lippity--not
very fast, and looking all round.
He found a door in a wall; but it was locked, and there was no room
for a fat little rabbit to squeeze underneath.
An old mouse was running in and out over the stone doorstep, carrying
peas and beans to her family in the wood. Peter asked her the way to
the gate, but she had such a large pea in her mouth that she could not
answer. She only shook her head at him. Peter began to cry.
Then he tried to find his way straight across the garden, but he
became more and more puzzled. Presently, he came to a pond where Mr.
McGregor filled his water-cans. A white cat was staring at some
gold-fish, she sat very, very still, but now and then the tip of her
tail twitched as if it were alive. Peter thought it best to go away
without speaking to her; he had heard about cats from his cousin,
little Benjamin Bunny.
He went back towards the tool-shed, but suddenly, quite close to him,
he heard the noise of a hoe--scr-r-ritch, scratch, scratch, scritch.
Peter scuttered underneath the bushes. But presently, as nothing
happened, he came out, and climbed upon a wheelbarrow and peeped over.
The first thing he saw was Mr. McGregor hoeing onions. His back was
turned towards Peter, and beyond him was the gate!
Peter got down very quietly off the wheelbarrow; and started running
as fast as he could go, along a straight walk behind some
Mr. McGregor caught sight of him at the corner, but Peter did not
care. He slipped underneath the gate, and was safe at last in the wood
outside the garden.
Mr. McGregor hung up the little jacket and the shoes for a scare-crow
to frighten the blackbirds.
Peter never stopped running or looked behind him till he got home to
the big fir-tree.
He was so tired that he flopped down upon the nice soft sand on the
floor of the rabbit-hole and shut his eyes. His mother was busy
cooking; she wondered what he had done with his clothes. It was the
second little jacket and pair of shoes that Peter had lost in a
I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening.
His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a
dose of it to Peter!
'One table-spoonful to be taken at bed-time.'
But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and
blackberries for supper.