Strong and slippery, built for the midnight grass-party confronted by four cats, he sleeps his time away — the detached first claw on his foreleg which corresponds to the thumb, retracted to its tip; the small tuft of fronds or katydid legs above each eye, still numbering the units in each group; the shadbones regularly set about his mouth, to droop or rise in unison like the porcupine's quills — motionless.
He lets himself be flat tened out by gravity, as it were a piece of seaweed tamed and weakened by exposure to the sun; compelled when extended, to lie stationary.
Sleep is the result of his delusion that one must do as well as one can for oneself; sleep — epitome of what is to him as to the average person, the end of life.
Demonstrate on him how the lady caught the dangerous southern snake, placing a forked stick on either side of its innocuous neck; one need not try to stir him up; his prune shaped head and alligator eyes are not a party to the joke.
Lifted and handled, he may be dangled like an eel or set up on the forearm like a mouse; his eyes bisected by pupils of a pin's width, are flickeringly exhibited, then covered up.
I should say, might have been; when he has been got the better of in a dream — as in a fight with nature or with cats — we all know it.
Profound sleep is not with him, a fixed illusion.
Springing about with froglike ac curacy, emitting jerky cries when taken in the hand, he is himself again; to sit caged by the rungs of a domestic chair would be unprofit able — human.
What is the good of hypocrisy?
It is permissible to choose one's employment, to abandon the wire nail, the roly-poly, when it shows signs of being no longer a pleas ure, to score the adjacent magazine with a double line of strokes.
He can talk, but insolently says nothing.
What of it?
When one is frank, one's very presence is a compliment.
It is clear that he can see the virtue of naturalness, that he is one of those who do not regard the published fact as a surrender.
As for the disposition invariably to affront, an animal with claws wants to have to use them; that eel-like extension of trunk into tail is not an accident.
To leap, to lengthen out, divide the air — to purloin, to pursue. to tell the hen: fly over the fence, go in the wrong way — in your perturba tion — this is life; to do less would be nothing but dishonesty.