I finished Colette’s Barks and Purrs at lunch last week. Let me just say what a delight this little book is. I tried to find out more about it since so many commented they had not heard of it, but haven’t had much luck. It was published in English in 1913 and the author is shown as Colette Willy so I assume this is from early in her career. It is only 65 pages in print so you can breeze through it on a lunch hour or two lunch half hours like I did.
Its genre is listed at drama, but I wouldn’t call it that. It does have a sort of play-like format, but I’d call it more a series of episodes or scenes in the lives of Toby-Dog and Kiki-the-Demure. The “two paws” are going out to the country for the summer and there is a scene on the train with Toby leashed and worried about Kiki who has been sulking in his cat basket, refusing to say a word. There is another scene during a big thunderstorm. And in another She is late coming in for dinner because she is out picking plums and Toby and Kiki are hungry and bored and slowly getting on each other’s nerves until Toby breaks out barking at Kiki and Kiki is so upset he jumps over to a table from where he is perched but misses and pulls the tablecloth, a lamp and other items to the floor in a crash. When the two paws show up, Kiki immediately blames Toby:
Purr-rr-rr!…There you are!…It’s very late…Toby attacked me; it’s he who’s broken everything. I believe I went mad from hunger…You smell good, of grass and the twilight. You sat down on some wild thyme.
Hiii…hiii…there you are at last! I’m so unhappy when you’re away. You banished me…you didn’t love me…The lamp fell down by itself…Come! I’m awfully hungry, but I’ll gladly go without dinner, if you’ll promise to take me with you always wherever you go.
No doubt a familiar scene to anyone who has cats or dogs or both.
There is really nothing of significance to this book. It is only a froth; a light and charming entertainment. I highly recommend it if you have pets.