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.

May 3, 2017

May 3, 1896

Margaret Raine (1831 to 1912) married Alfred William Hunt, (November 15, 1830 to May 3, 1896), an English painter. Her father was a famous antiquarian and his father was a painter. It is hardly surprising then that Margaret Raine Hunt also was an artist, a novelist.

We excerpt from her That other person, (1886) a passage where she outlines a vision of marital harmony. The metaphor below is of a couple who remind the author of a horse and a cat.

.... the poor old man
...[had] such a proud face, and yet [one] so full of gentleness and resignation. The lamplight shone on his wan temples, where the skin was so thin and transparent that the course of the veins could be clearly traced. Daylesford sighed and turned to look at Mrs. Treherne. She was sitting in a semi-dark corner knitting and nodding, and then waking with a start to wonder if her dear husband wanted anything. Not that she ventured to ask the question. He scarcely ever did want anything but the dimly felt pleasure of her company. He reminded Daylesford of a hunter which can eat no food, rest in no stable, win no race, if it be parted from the cat which, having been born and bred in its stable, has won its love. Mrs. Treherne was the faithful and affectionate cat whose companionship was indispensable.

This lovely evocation does not mean Margaret did not run races:  her translation of Grimm's Fairy Tales [stet] was introduced by Andrew Lang.  Therein we read:

The cat crept behind the town walls to the church, and devoured half the pot of fat. “Nothing ever seems so good as what one keeps to oneself,” said she, and was quite satisfied with her day's work. 

It's a nuanced picture.

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