A cat named Maigret

When I found him on the street (still clean, well-fed) I had been reading Simenon, Inspector Maigret had taken quite a hold with his heavy silence, his good nature and ``ses gros yeux.'' The cat too was heavy and looked at me with ``ses gros yeux'' as though he knew more than he would ever tell. I named him after the profound inspector. Those eyes, round and luminous but always a shade reproachful, followed me everywhere for years to come. At first mistrustful he was quick with the paw. Long, curved claws, always visible made me cautious. But like his namesake he was by nature warm. Eventually he folded up his weapons. Jumping up beside me he would settle his huge chest over my outstretched hand -- then purr, looking at me with a steady and flattering toleration. I have his picture now on the bulletin board: three-quarters facial portrait. ``Ses gros yeux'' look back at me consideringly, still a bit reproachful. It's hard to know a cat; there's so much mystery. Yet looking at those eyes, I feel Maigret knew me. Doris Kerns Quinn

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