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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 !

Thursday, October 18, 2012

mr. walpole gets condolences on his cat

In which Thomas Gray writes a letter of kitty condolence to his good friend Horace Walpole, though he admits he doesn't know exactly which cat it is that has ceased to be.

Cambridge, March 1,1747. As one ought to be particularly careful to avoid blunders in a compliment of condolence, it would be a sensible satisfaction to me (before I testify my sorrow, and the sincere part I take in your misfortune) to know for certain, who it is I lament. I knew Zara and Selima (Selima, was it? or Fatima?) or rather I knew them both together; for I cannot justly say which was which. Then as to your handsome cat, the name you distinguish her by, I am no less at a loss, as well knowing one's handsome cat is always the cat one likes best; or, if one be alive and the other dead, it is usually the latter that is the handsomest. Besides, if the point were never so clear, I hope you do not think me so ill-bred or so imprudent as to forfeit all my interest in the survivor: Oh no! I would rather seem to mistake, and imagine to be sure it most be the tabby one that had met with this sad accident. Till this affair is a little better determined, you will excuse me if I do not begin to cry. . .

From Elegant epistles: a copious selection of instructive, moral, and entertaining letters, vol. 5, V. Knox, ed. (London: John Sharpe, n.d.), p. 175.

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