Phillipe came up the passage with his courage wound up tight. Nona Verdi heard it in his footsteps, and in the set of his shoulders as he came level with her window. It was all she could do to keep from laughing to see it drain away when he found three contented cats sunning themselves on the sill.
“I, I heard that the Count had bought one.”
“Was that quite what you heard?”
It wasn’t. He stuttered out the fuller version, how the Count had offered to purchase one of the famous mousers, and had been told they were not for sale. How his offer of more gold had been met with laughter, and with Nona Verdi’s explanation that the cats were not hers to sell. He had laughed himself, and scooped one of the cats onto his saddlebow … and here they all were.
Phillipe added, with concern
“They may say that you’re a witch.”
“Is that what you would say?”
He gave it a moment’s thought, and saw the cream of it. Said, laughing
“If they had asked me, I would have said that cats are cats, and cats are not anyone’s to give or to sell, but only to cherish.”
“That’s a good answer. A good enough answer to buy an hour with my granddaughter.”
Disconcerted, he entered, and whilst he was still off balance she added
“And if you treat her as your master treats cats you will find out if I’m a witch.”
Two for the price of one tonight, though both are strictly too long for the Visdare prompt that inspired them. Well, I’m rusty – I need the practice.