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New York Folklore Quarterly, Vol. XX, No. 4, December 1964

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Vol. XX, No. 4, December, 1964

Helen Ireland Hays

TWO little girls quivered with delight as the final curtain marked the end of a matinee back in 1910. Sweet Kitty Bellairs was, I believe, the title of the play. Kitty had won the hearts of her hero, her audience and especially those two little girls. My sister and I held a slightly different attitude from our elders. We intended to come back the next day for Kitty’s wedding. We were unable to do so, but we cherished her in our minds and hearts all through our tender years.

When father bought a new mare, of course, we named her Kitty Bellairs. Kitty was a bright bay with dark mane and tail. She had spirit but gentleness as well. I remember that when I drove, Kitty walked. No persuasive cluckings or firm “Giddap!” from me hastened her step. The instant father took the reins, however, Kitty broke into a quick trot. Her trot was so fast we always heard that she allowed no horse to pass her unless father suggested, “Now, now, Kitty, they may be going for the doctor.” Then, and only then, Kitty gave way.

The communication between man and beast that caused Kitty to heed father’s guidance may have been greater than we understood....

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