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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 !

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

more kittens in india: a very special fruit?

I was charmed all day by the thought of Persian kittens coming to town on the necks of camels, as recorded in the old travelogue of yesterday's post.  Upon seeing what else in the way of exotic kitten memoir I could scout out, I came upon this from a gentleman named John Lang.  I've kept the original spelling for the fun of it.
* * *
One morning, after breakfast, there came to the bungalow of my friend an Affghan, who was a dealer in dried fruits—such as grapes, apples, and pomegranates,— and inquired if the Sahib or mem Sahib was in want of any of these commodities, which he had just brought from Caubul. . . We had him for at least an hour in the verandah before my friend's wife would decide upon what she would take. This matter concluded, the Affghan inquired if the lady would buy a kitten —a Persian kitten; kittens being also a commodity with these travelling Affghans.
"Yes; where are the kittens?" said the lady.
"Here," said the merchant, putting his hand into a huge pocket at the back of his chogah (a sort of gaberdine), and withdrawing, one by one, no less than sixteen of these little animals (all males). For more than the hour which was consumed in negotiating about the fruit, and talking on other subjects, this living bustle had remained perfectly motionless, and had not uttered a single sound; but now, when they saw the light, and were placed upon all-fours, they ran about and mewed—bushy tails on end—after the most vigorous fashion imaginable. There they were! Kittens as black as the blackest ink, kittens white as the whitest snow, kittens as yellow as the yellowest gold, and kittens piebald, brindled, and grey.
"There, mem Sahib; take your choice. Twenty rupees (two pounds) each."
The lady selected one of the white and one of the black kittens, and for the two he was induced to accept thirty-five rupees (three pounds ten shillings).  This may seem a large sum of money to give for a brace of young cats; but it must be remembered that they came from Bokhara, and were of the purest breed that could possibly be procured.

Wanderings in India, and Other Sketches of Life in Hindostan, John Lang (London:  Routledge, Warne, and Routledge, 1859) --pp. 158-9

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