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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, October 26, 2012

1710: mrs. ursula's pets out of control

Hell breaks loose.  From a paper on "Pets" presented at the Mechanics' Institution in 1859:
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Let no lady carry the love of Pets to the disagreeable length which distinguished a certain Mrs. Ursula, mentioned in the Tatler about 1710. A quiet gentleman pays her a visit, and finds her, in his own expressive words, "environed by four of the most mischievous animals that can infest a family — an old shock dog with one eye, a monkey chained to one side of the chimney, a great gray squirrel to the other, and a parrot waddling about the room with his toes turned in. The lady was seized with a fit of coughing; this awoke Shock, and in a trice the whole room was in an uproar. 
"The dog barked, the squirrel squealed, the monkey chattered, the parrot screamed, and Mrs. Ursula, in her attempts to stem the Babel, was more clamorous than all the rest. At length quiet was restored, a chair was drawn for me, where I was no sooner seated but the parrot fixed his horny beak, as sharp as a pair of shears, in one of my heels, just above my shoe. 
"I sprang from my chair with unusual agility, and so being within the monkey's reach, he snatches off my new bob-wig, and throws it upon two apples that were roasting by a sullen sea-coal fire. I was nimble enough to save it from any further damage than singeing the foretop. The lady apologised, but in the middle of her harangue I felt something scratching near my knee, and, feeling what it should be, found the squirrel had got into my coat pocket. As I endeavoured to remove him from his burrow, he made his teeth meet through the fleshy part of my forefinger." The unfortunate man ends his story by saying that as he was abruptly taking his leave, and hobbling down stairs in heedless haste, he set his foot full in a pail of water, and down they both came to the bottom of the stairs, and there we will leave him.
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Egerton Leigh, "Pets - A Paper" ("Dedicated to all who do not spell pets - Pests"), (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1859), pp, 26-7.

1 comment:

Winnie said...

That was a visit and a half.

I blame the squirrel.

It's ALWAYS the squirrel's fault.

Love and licks, Winnie