We managed to track down the alley cat (and by that I mean he's a surly little bas***d) to interrogate him for more information the minor characters.
However, information wasn't easily revealed. The problem is that - being a cat - he actually doesn't really understand how us humans relay information. He is frustratingly preoccupied with smells and sounds and doesn't give a hoot for names. And so it was hard for him to understand what Miss Havisham was asking (which perhaps isn't entirely his fault).
Nonetheless, he promised me that he would do his best. He then looked meaningfully at me until I gave him some cream. (Little hustler). Anyway. Here's what we got:
This minor character smells of roses. And paint. And fear. The cat says he argues and complains a lot.
The cat says that this girl is quite young. He also says she is stupid, but then he says that about most humans. She weeps a lot and her hair smells of apple blossom. He thinks she has been left by someone, but since he also leaves all the females he’s ever known he can’t see what she’s making such a fuss about. Cats don’t go in for pictures much, but when Miss Havisham bribed him with my salmon steak, he said if he had to portray her it would be with a face as white as jasmine.
The cat hates this minor character so much he won’t speak of him. Except to say rather smugly that he made him whine, which apparently only a man who kicked him used to be able to do.
The cat doesn’t like this woman. She smells of disinfectant, but also of sickness. She is not a sympathetic person, he thinks – unlikely to give a hard-working cat any milk. This was clearly a hint and Miss H handed over some milk. Almost monstrous, he said as he cleaned his whiskers (at least Miss H said that’s what he said)
The cat likes this woman. Others he thinks are rather prejudiced against her, but he can’t think why – there are lots of parties in her house which means he gets to eat scraps in the kitchen – although he doesn’t like the soldiers who turn up there.
The cat isn’t interested in this young man. Everything in that particular book exhausts the cat. He’s not much of a one for talking (I would never have guessed) and he says the whole scene makes him feverish. There’s lots of weeping and rushing about. The young man’s father, he says, may be an ensign, but he has never worked out what happens because a) he’s not interested and b) everyone digresses so much.
I hope that these help!
Only one day to go!