Marmaduke Mainwaring Percival Pratt,
Handsome and debonair, polished and fat,
Had all the habits, the polish, the air
Of a cat that is owned by a millionaire.
Now Marmaduke Mainwaring invited his friends
To a party he gave where the stone stair descends
To the area behind the exalted purlieus,
Called by the gentry - "Queen Hecuba's Mews".
The party was held and the cats came, of course.
There were grey cats and black cats and cats with white paws;
There were tabbies and gingers and cats of all sorts,
From mansions and stables and kitchens and courts,
Marmaduke Mainwaring Percival Pratt
Politely gave greeting to every cat:
But the star of the evening was Flora de Lors,
In a lovely grey fur, trimmed with jet at the paws.
What a feast had been set! What a purring was there!
What a flash of pink tongues! What a rippling of fur!
As the cream and the cod's heads, pickled mice and the rest,
Were gazed on with glee and sampled with zest!
When dinner was ended the guests were amused
With games and with dancing and violet cachoux.
Then someone suggested that stories be told,
And everyone mewed save one cat who'd a cold.
So Marduke Mainwaring offered a jar
Of red herrings garnished with best caviare,
For the story that met with the greatest applause
Of feline mewed pleasure or stomping of paws.
And all the guests sit inside of their tails,
Whilst each cat the other with stories regales.
Some stories were good ones, some others not bad
(There was one about Marmaduke snubbing a cad!)
Most told them in prose, but some spoke in rhyme;
One sang his to music, the others beat time
With their tails and their paws; but sweet Flora de Lors
Looked unhappy and downcast - though none guessed the cause.
At last came a cool cat whose story of cans
Of delicious red salmon, won hundreds of fans.
It was over! Deep silence enshrouded the air.
The cats all glanced sideways, but no one would stir
As with head hung in shame, lovely Flora de Lors
Crept out from their midst - she was Manx, and of course
Her loveliness now could her nothing avail,
"So sad", they all whispered, "she's minus a tale!"
- A. Nother