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.

January 3, 2012

January 3, 1856

Rudolph Chambers Lehmann (January 3, 1856 to January 22, 1929) was better known as "R.C." Lehmann, a noted writer for Punch magazine. He was a major contributor to the British humor periodical for 30 years, and some of his many books, were collections of his columns, just as writers do today. An example of this is the book, The Adventures of Picklock Holes (1901,) which collected his parodies of Sherlock Holmes. Lehmann was the first to see the parodic potential of Doyle's ratiocinative hero. His Cambridge bio lists Lehmann as a master of parody. 

I don't know how much press attention a little 70 page book published in 1913 got. The book was A spark divine: a book for animal-lovers, and I don't pick up any hint of parody in what then and now might be considered sentimental essays. It is actually a pleasant quick read,  and here is a humorous sample:

With what a dignity and grace and discretion does a cat make her offer. She tells you plainly it is there for the taking, but she would scorn to force it upon you, for she has her reserve and is proud of her independence. "If you like me," she seems to say, "and are willing to respect me, count me your faithful cat. I shall make few claims on you. An armchair, a cushion, a saucer of milk, a plate of fish will satisfy my wants.

In the book Lehmann recounts a few dog and horse stories, also. He ends with these words, 

And from their beasts ...
[men] have learnt how to be good to one another, bearing themselves humbly and loyally in the sight of Him who ordained life in its various forms, allotting to one a furry coat, to another wings, to a third the gift of speech, and to all a heart where love can make its home.

Okay, the first world war was about to start, perhaps he was giving a bit of a punch in the ribs, but to human ribs, not animal ribs.

No comments: