Clarence, aged eight, was a member of the Band of Mercy, of his Sunday School, which was a miniature society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The badge was a small star, and Clarence wore this with as much pride as ever a policeman had in his shield. He displayed eagerness in the work, and grew somewhat unpopular with the other boys and girls by reason of his many rebukes for their harsh treatment of animals. But one morning his mother, on looking out of the window, observed to her horror that the erstwhile virtuous Clarence had the family cat by the tail, and was swinging it to and fro with every evidence of glee. In fact, it had been the wailing of the outraged beast that had caused the mother to look out.
“Why, Clarence!” she cried, aghast. “What are you doing to that poor cat? And you a member of the Band of Mercy!”
Little Clarence released the cat, but he showed no shame as he explained:
“I was—but I lost my star.”
* * *
The teacher put a question to the class:
“What does a cat have that no other animal has?”
A number cried in unison:
But an objector raised the point that bears and skunks have fur. One pupil raised an eager hand:
“I know, teacher—whiskers!”
But another objector laughed scornfully.
“Haw-haw! My papa has whiskers!”
The suggester of whiskers defended her idea by declaring: “My papa ain’t got whiskers.”
“‘Cause he can’t!” the objector sneered. “Haw-haw! Your pa ain’t no good. My pa says——”
The teacher rapped for order, and repeated her question. A little girl raised her hand, and at the teacher’s nod spoke timidly.
* * *
The little girl returned from church deeply musing on the sermon, in which the preacher had declared that animals, lacking souls, could not go to heaven. As the result of her meditation, she presented a problem to the family at the dinner table, when she asked earnestly:
“If cats don’t go to heaven, where do the angels get the strings for their harps?”