The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

August 18, 2009

Aug. 18 1850

Honore de Balzac, one of the few literary rivals to Shakespeare, died on August 18, 1850. Pere Goriot is one of his books and from it we take the following excerpt, which tells a story:

Madame Vauquer came into the dining-room just as her cat had knocked off a plate which covered a bowl of milk, and was lapping the contents.

" Mistigris !" she cried. The cat scampered off, but soon returned and rubbed up against her legs. " Yes, yes, you old hypocrite! you can coax when you 've been stealing. Sylvie ! Sylvie!"

"Yes, what is it, Madame?"

" Just see how much the cat has stolen! "
" That animal of a Christophe ! it's his fault. I told him to watch the cat, and set the table. Where has he gone to, wonder ? Never mind, Madame, 'll keep that milk for Pere Goriot. I 'll put some water to it, and he 'll never know. He takes no notice of what he puts in his mouth."

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