Amanuensis Monday: Alphonse & Gaston Tabb (by Alice F. Peters)

     Apparently my cousin Alice enjoyed writing.  Her short story was placed in the Washington Post.  When I look at early 1900’s posts the newspaper had more of a community feel than it does today.  I feel fortunate to have found this story entry in the newspaper. I am sure Alice would have never thought that one of her descendants would ever come across her story ninety-six years later and post on the world wide web.
by Alice F. Peters, age 14
Washington Post, D.C
December 12, 1915



     “Get out, my dear Alphonse.” “After you my dear Gaston.” “Get out of that barrel, you silly cats. I’ve never seen cats use so much formality in wanting to see the world.” So this is the way she (Mamma Tabb) greets us and we were trying to make a good beginning. Well, after this harsh command, we flew out the barrel. Mamma Tabb tells us if we want to be intelligent, we must do as all intelligent cats do and not say “flew,” because cats can’t fly. We walked around the woodshed, our birthplace, trying to find something of importance there. As we didn’t find anything and as we were weak and tired we rested.
     We were beginning to think that this was a funny world. We hadn’t seen anyone since we were born. About three days after this the mistress of the house came in the chicken yard and after walking around, strolled into the woodshed. She looked surprisingly at us, smiled and went on. Evidently she didn’t tell anyone about us, for it was about a week afterward before any of the children came to see us. As cat life goes on, so our life went on, and nothing much happening we grew a little and now we were about six weeks old. Cats certainly do live lazy lives. There is nothing to do but to eat and sleep. Mamma Tabb has life right easy. She can catch mice. Yesterday a mouse walked right over us and smiled.
     “Let’s try to climb a little, my dear Alphonse.” “All right, my dear Gaston.” “Sit down and rest. There is no use in trying to be too smart.” Mrs. Tabb always has an all right answer on hand.
All the children seem to like us except one of the girls. I think they call her Alice. We always think so because every time we come around her she either gets us out of the way or she gets out. What a hard time we have. We are only two months old and still kittens. Mamma Tabb tells us we won’t be “cats: until we are at least three months old. Well, I truly hope I’ll soon be a cat. Kittens are certainly imposed on.
     “Let’s only tell of our early life, my dear Alphonse.” “Just as you say, my dear Gaston.”
Well, it has been decided that we only give a part of our early life, since cats get into so much mischief when they grow up. The next time we write we will tell more of ourselves.
     But before concluding, we must tell you of a great event which will soon come off. Next week on the back fence of Sunshine Tabbeta, a grand midnight serenade will be given by all the cats of the neighborhood. A prize will be given to the kitten or cat howling the loudest and sounding the most like a human baby. The prize will of course be a large mouse.

(Owned by Alice F. Peters, age 14

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