"Unfortunate it's come to this. It seemed at first to be nothing more than a cold." "If only Doctor Amaki had given her medicine." "That doctor's clearly at fault. He dismissed our Miké too lightly." "Let's not speak ill of others, now. A cat's days too are numbered."
Mikeko, it seemed, had also been seen by Doctor Amaki.
"In the end, I think, it was that stray from the teacher's place in the front lane, enticing her out too often." "Agreed. That scoundrel was Miké's downfall."
I was inclined to defend myself, but the situation demanded restraint, so I swallowed hard and listened on.
"This world doesn't bend to our wishes. A beauty like Miké is gone too soon, while that ugly stray lives on and thrives, doing what he does ..." "Right you are. One could beat the bushes with bell and drum and never find another gal like Miké."
She used the word gal rather than cat. This maidservant knows no distinction between cats and humans. Come to think of it, that face of hers all but marks her one of us.
"If instead of Miké it could have been ..." "It would have been fitting had that stray from the teacher's place died."
Not fitting for me. Having never experienced death, I can't say what it's like or how I would take it. However, the other day I crawled into the coals jar to keep warm, and the maidservant, not realizing I was in there, trapped me with the lid. I cringe even now to recall the distress. According to Shiro, death entails similar distress, just lasting a little bit longer. There's nothing I wouldn't do for Mikeko, but if death demands such distress, then I'd rather not die for another.