After a wait he saw a lean cat emerge from the cote with one of his finest pigeons in its mouth. He fired, and the cat fell dead. In the early transports of his joy at having destroyed the thief he forgot that there was yet a task for him to perform, but soon recollected that the body must be disposed of. First he thought of digging a hole in the back yard and interring the cat therein, but then he trembled when he thought what the neighbors might think he was burying. At last a bright idea struck him.
“I’ll wrap the cat in papers and throw it off the ferryboat when I cross in the morning,” he promised himself.
So, with the bundle neatly tied, he took the train on the following morning. He got off the train and boarded the boat, and there he was greeted by a group of friends from whom he could not escape. He reflected that he might have to make embarrassing explanations if he threw the bundle overboard while he was with them, and he deferred the act until the boat landed, thinking he could easily cast it away in an ash barrel on the way to the office.
He passed several ash barrels on his way, but somehow or other some one always seemed to be gazing in his direction when he approached one, and once or twice he saw a watchful policeman. He recollected how unpleasant discoveries had been made in ash barrels, and he didn’t want to be arrested on suspicion. So he went all the way to the office and carefully locked the body in a closet, reflecting he could throw it overboard on his way home.
Going across the river that night he met some more sociable acquaintances, and the cat boarded the train with him as a result. He laid the package down beside him and tried to become absorbed in his paper, but that everlasting cat haunted him. When he reached his station he picked up a package and went home. Reaching there, he handed the bundle to the cook and, as indifferently as he could, told her to bury the cat in the back yard.
“Yes, Sir,” said the woman.
There were a few minutes of relief for the East Orangeite, but soon the cook reappeared.
“I guess there’s some mistake, Sir. This isn’t a cat in the paper. It’s a nice leg of mutton.”
The man had evidently picked up the wrong bundle on leaving the train, and he only hopes the other fellow who reached home with the dead cat doesn’t learn his identity.