There were once two very beautiful cats named Tomasso and Lilia. It would
be very hard indeed to say which was more beautiful than the other,
Tomasso the husband, or Lilia his wife.
They were about the same size, although, perhaps, Tomasso was a little the
stouter of the two. There could be no question that at times the
expression of his face was decidedly more fierce than that of his gentle
The fur of each of them was as white as the driven snow, and as soft, and
fine, and glossy as the most perfect silk gloss.
Add to these natural charms the fact that they always kept themselves
beautifully clean, and always wore round their necks cravats made of the
richest satin ribbon, and I am sure you will agree with me in thinking
that they were cats of very high degree.
Their neighbors considered them extremely proud and haughty. They never
were known to play with any of the cats in their street. To be with each
other was all they asked. Sometimes these neighbors took a great deal of
pains to get a glimpse of Tomasso and Lilia as, paw in paw, they danced a
Even the most grumpy grimalkin declared it was a beautiful sight. There
was no doubt the young couple was very graceful and their manners were
perfect. Then he said that cats brought up as Tomasso and his wife had
always lived, OUGHT to be amiable and beautiful. He understood that a jar
of Orange County cream was ordered for them every day. Then he muttered
something which sounded very much as if he thought Tomasso would be not
over courageous in a moment of danger. "Alone, white tail is all very
fine," said he, "but mark my word, at a sudden fright it would turn into a
white feather. I should pity his wife if she had no one but him to protect
Now it happened that that very afternoon Tomasso's courage was put to the
test. As he and Lilia were taking a quiet walk, suddenly a huge dog rushed
out at them. In an instant Tomasso placed himself across Lilia's trembling
body. She had fallen to the ground in terror. The great dog made a jump at
Tomasso, but was met with such a snarl, and then such a blow from a set of
sharp claws that he ran away howling.
That night the news of Tomasso's bravery spread through the whole
neighborhood. But he was very quiet and modest. His proud wife was much
disturbed at a bad scratch Tomasso had received in the struggle. They both
examined it carefully with the aid of a hand-glass.
"I hope it will not leave a scar," said Lilia, "but if it does it will
only be a proof of the noble courage of my brave Tomasso."