I went to Mark Twain's house two? two years ago with my in-laws when they came to visit. I still have a postcard from that visit on my desk... it's a picture of a painting of a cat in a ruff. He watches me, sometimes benevolent, sometimes mysterious, sometimes aloof. The docent told me at the house (where I saw the original painting) that Mark Twain used to make up silly stories for his daughters after dinner in their sitting room, using as characters the winsome paintings that decorated the room. Every story was different, I was told, and every story began and ended with a cat in a ruff.
I wonder at the stories. I know that I'm going to put the postcard of the cat in a ruff either in a frame or in my hardbound copy of my doctoral thesis. He knows the stories he could tell. I wish he would whisper them to me. Sometimes, I swear he does.