According to Jerome’s friend Jephson, alongside Nonconformists cats are the only creatures in this world with a functioning conscience. ‘You might almost think they had a soul.’
“ONLY this morning I was watching that tortoise-shell of yours on the houseboat. She was creeping along the roof, behind the flower-boxes, stalking a young thrush that had perched upon a coil of rope. Murder gleamed from her eye, assassination lurked in every twitching muscle of her body.
“As she crouched to spring, Fate, for once favouring the weak, directed her attention to myself, and she became, for the first time, aware of my presence. It acted upon her as a heavenly vision upon a Biblical criminal. In an instant she was a changed being. The wicked beast, going about seeking whom it might devour,* had vanished.
“In its place sat a long-tailed, furry angel, gazing up into the sky with an expression that was one-third innocence and two-thirds admiration of the beauties of nature. What was she doing there, did I want to know? Why, could I not see, playing with a bit of earth. Surely I was not so evil-minded as to imagine she wanted to kill that dear little bird — God bless it.”
* A reference to 1 Peter 5:8.