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Topsy’s hiding place

TOPSY’S HIDING PLACE

All around the kitchen they went, playing hide and seek. Topsy hid
under the stove, Alice hid in the cupboard; Topsy hid behind the wood
box, Alice hid under the table; Topsy hid in the corner back of the
coal hod, Alice hid in the folds of mamma’s big apron hanging behind
the kitchen door; but they never failed to find each other and always
had a great frolic after each one’s hiding place was discovered.

At last the play was over and Topsy went fast asleep, lying on her back
in the doll’s cradle. She looked very funny, with her paws sticking
straight up in the air.

Soon Alice wanted to put dolly to bed; so Topsy found another nice
resting place, stretched out in mamma’s workbasket, with her front paws
lying on the pincushion; but when mamma came for thimble and thread
kitty was forced to move again.

“Meow! meow!” she said. “I will get out of every one’s way, and go
where I can sleep as long as I please without being disturbed!” So
Topsy sprang upon the table, then upon a tall folded screen near by,
and, with a big jump, landed at last on the very tiptop of the china
closet. No one saw her. She crept far back against the wall and was
soon fast asleep, lying in a nice warm corner, just under the ceiling.

After a time Alice grew tired of playing with her doll and looked about
for kitty, but kitty was nowhere to be seen. The little girl went to
the door and called, “Kitty! kitty! kitty!” but no kitty came. She
called again, but no shrill meow answered her. She called again and
again, but still no Topsy was to be heard or seen.

“Oh, mamma, where can kitty be?” said Alice, with tears in her eyes.
“I am afraid she is lost. I haven’t seen her for ever so long.”

“Have you looked in all the hiding places? Perhaps she has gone fast
asleep somewhere and doesn’t hear you call,” said mamma.

So Alice began to search for her pet, but though she looked everywhere
no kitty did she find. She called and called again, but all in vain;
no Topsy answered her.

“Never mind, little daughter,” said mamma, “kitty has probably gone off
hunting and will surprise you by and by with a big fat mouse.”

So Alice was comforted; and though she felt very lonely with no furry
ball snuggled in her lap and no bright-eyed playmate scampering at her
heels, she tried to be happy playing with her dolly and looking at her
new picture book.

At last the long day was over and night came. It brought no Topsy, but
it did bring papa from his work. When Alice saw him coming, she ran
out to meet him and, throwing herself into his arms, poured out all her
trouble: “Oh, papa, Topsy is lost! We can’t find her anywhere! She
has been gone all day long! I have looked and looked, and called and
called, but she doesn’t come!”

Papa comforted his little daughter as papas know how to do. “Cheer up!
little girl. We will find her after supper,” he said.

When the pleasant evening meal was over and all the family sat around
the cozy fire, papa said: “I think I know how to make Topsy come, if
she is in the house.”

“Oh, how?” cried Alice.

Papa said nothing but he puckered up his lips and began to whistle in
loud, shrill tones. At the first note something stirred on top of the
china closet. Then there was a short, protesting meow. Papa kept on
whistling. Kitty stood up and began to stretch. As the shrill music
continued, Topsy walked to the edge of the cupboard and looked down.

“Oh, there she is! there she is!” cried Alice. “Oh, my own dear kitty!
But what a funny place to hide in!”

Louder and shriller grew papa’s whistling. Kitty jumped upon the
screen and then leaped to the table. Still papa whistled on. Topsy
sprang to the floor and, jumping into papa’s lap, began to rub her face
against his breast. “Meow! meow!” she said. Still the shrill noise
did not atop. Pussy put her front paws high up on papa’s chest and
rubbed her face against his chin, at the same time nipping it gently
with her teeth and calling, “Meow! meow!” which meant, “Stop! stop!
Please, master, I am here. What do you want? Oh, do stop that
dreadful noise!”

So papa stopped whistling and Alice and Topsy had a fine frolic before
bedtime.

This was the first and only time that Topsy was ever lost; but to this
day, she will sometimes steal away and sleep for hours on her lofty
perch, heedless of coaxing or scolding, and only dislodged at night by
papa’s shrill whistle.