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.

September 2, 2016

September 2, 1840

Emilia Francis Strong Pattison (September 2, 1840 to October 23, 1904),was her name during her first marriage. As a widow she married Sir Charles Dilkey, a British liberal politician. She was a writer and historian and worked to alleviate the social ills of Victorian society. She became Lady Dilkey after her marriage. They shared radical political sentiments, and, among other things, a love of cats.

We paraphrase and quote Kali Israel's book Names and Stories: Emilia Dilke and Victorian Culture (1999), below.

Pyrford was one of several Dilke homes, but smaller, with no formal gardens. At this private retreat where they "allowed nature to have her way" Charles observed local owls and beetles. They also had a "cattery" where they bred "Persians tailless cats." These they then gave to their "unwary friends," after naming the kittens French, silly, names, like "Babette... Papillon... Pierrot... and Pierrette... Mistigrise and Beelzebub"...

This biography of Emilia Dilkey also mentions that she and her husband used endearments when writing each other. Emilia to Charles, was "L.P." which referred to one of their cats' names, and Charles to Emilia, was "B.P." for the name of one of his cats.

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